The 8th annual South African Underwriting Managers Association (SAUMA) Conference took place on Friday, 26 May at The Campus, Bryanston.

The event comprised of industry leaders and a diverse range of speakers from different sectors.
This was yet another successful and informative event hosted by SAUMA. Delegates engaged in conversation, while finding solutions to the issues at hand.

The early morning started off with free coffee at the registration table powered by Global Choices. They were then asked for business cards which were matched with a donation of warm socks to JOSH Johannesburg Society for the Homeless. Delegates were picked up by shuttles to save them the walk up to the conference venue. This joy ride and sock donation was made possible by Fulcrum.

Opening the conference was this year’s chosen star MC, Lehlohonolo Tau of SASRIA, who made sure to keep the audience entertained and engaged.

SAUMA’s chairperson, Tersia Davey kicked off the conference by welcoming all the delegates and and reminding them of SAUMA’s role in the industry as the ‘voice of the UMA’. “We’re here for you. If there’s anything SAUMA can do for you, challenge us,” said Tersia.

She introduced the sponsors and partners of the event, whom played a role in making the event a success. Among these was CN&CO’s client, Lombard Partnerships. It was one of the gold sponsors of the event again this year.

CN&CO provided social media support for the event. We were thrilled by the level of engagement on the day and how different UMA’s took part in the conversation. Tweets came in from all angles to get #SAUMA2017 trending.

It was also great to see more of our clients (ITOO, Fulcrum, Brolink, Oakhurst and Resilea) all in one room, as well as familiar faces in the industry, such as the new CEO designate of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA), Thokozile Mahlangu and CEO of Financial Intemediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA), Lizelle van der Merwe. Two of the industry’s publications, FANews and COVER were also present taking part in the conversation.

Tersia and Farzana Badat, the insurance compliance at Financial Services Board (FSB), kicked off with an insightful discussion and debate on demystifying the myths around short term regulations. Delegates learned the truth about binder fees and how they are still a reality, but are very much up for debate. Farzana went on to challenge the industry leaders to come up with fair and reasonable binder solutions and communicate to the FSB.

General Johan Booysen and veteran TV journalist and author, Jessica Pitchford then took to the stage to discuss his book, “Blood on their hands”. After allegedly being accused of being a corrupt cop, together with Jessica they wrote the book to reveal the truth. Blood on their hands takes a look at Johan’s life and career as a policeman and Kwa-Zulu Natal’s head of the Hawks and on the contrary, his long battle to expose and to fight off corruption in South Africa. Delegated were captivated by his story.

Coincidently on Africa day, Journalists and a humorous duo, Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak followed with a talk on ‘Continental Shift’. This is a book they collaborated on after they travelled across the continent to conduct research on the development of Africa.

The writers shared their experience and revealed the most fascinating investigations from the various countries they visited. They also took lessons from countries such as Brazil, on the decline of its government income. From the results they were able to answer the question: “is Africa rising?” From this experience they advised UMAs to unthink borders when it comes to Africa. “We need to unthink borders in order to fastrack African growth,” said Poplak. “Borders in Africa act as growth inhibitors.”

Wrapping up the conference was the inspiring Lindiwe Mazibuko, a former Parliamentary leader of the opposition. She ended the conference on high-note when she spoke about leadership and cooperation. Lindiwe opened her talk by dismissing the idea of having individual leaders. “You are the public leaders that you have been waiting for,” she said.

She took delegates through her journey as a young and first black female leader in politics. She further shared a list of people that took her under their mentorship and supported her through the journey until she took the decision to step down as the leader of the opposition. “There is value in independent mentorship,” commented Lindiwe.

Not overlooking the current affairs of our country, delegates were interested in finding out what her opinion was on the decline of the South African economy. “Solutions to South Africa’s apparent decline is within each of us,” she answered. She believes that businesses must challenge rather than collaborate with the government.

UMA’s were left intrigued and inspired from Lindiwe’s talk. “Use crisis to drive change and be the change you want to see in the world,” Lindiwe further left UMAs with food for thought.

Congratulations to Christine Sounes, Natasja Blok and the rest of the SAUMA team for organising the event and providing a solid networking opportunity for all involved, coupled with interesting and relevant speakers.

In today’s ever evolving market landscape it is vital that organisation like SAUMA exist to present a unified voice in the face of regulation and change. Thank you SAUMA for a most wonderful and insightful day.