“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Gianluca.

When I was approached at the end of January to MC the 2020 Insurtech conference in Johannesburg, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. However, when the day arrived, it was a brilliant experience and one I would do over and over again.

Even from my school days, public speaking was something I thoroughly enjoyed. The ability to talk loud, with my hands and exude a bit of my Italian South African character.

Being co-captain of a golf school also gave me good practice. Week in and out sharing announcements, cracking jokes and informing people. It’s what it’s all about. I have never been a reserved or quiet person, and anyone who knows me, energy and having a plan is at the forefront of my approach.

So with this in mind, is where #Insurtech2020 was no different. After all I was addressing a number of familiar faces in an industry I call proudly call my home and where my career’s adventure began.

Over the two days, it was a pleasure introducing a number of speakers from the industry and from the tech world. All with their own identity and a plethora of knowledge. What I appreciated most was the interactions with each person before their respective talks. The power of people… how diverse, interesting and adaptable we all are and can be. 

As a great friend and business partner has always instilled in me, “take what you do seriously, not yourself.” We are all in this game together and the ability to venture into the unknown, step onto a different path, learn, fail, succeed and try again remains one of the best things about life.

If ever you need an energetic Italian who talks with his hands and isn’t scared to speak loudly, give me a call. Weddings, conferences, dinner parties, you name it.

The 2020 Insurtech Conference took place over four days in Johannesburg and Cape Town (two days each). It attracted over 140 delegates and 30 speakers, representing a total of 80 companies.

“As expected, the discussion has matured over the past five years and it is down to business now,” said Cover Publications’ Tony van Niekerk – who organises the conference every year – in a recent newsletter. “The proverbial takkie has hit the tar and people are really starting to leverage technology and building strong relationships around the opportunities presented by Insurtech.”

For me, though, it was all about the geek factor. I love tech and all the creative applications it can be used for – especially in the insurance industry. For example, I find it amazing that you can use your phone to take a photo of your bike, and then get the bike insured immediately for however long you want. It’s incredible!

Overall the quality of presentations was top drawer stuff – engaging, interesting and futuristic. I look forward to next year’s instalment!