CN&CO founder Carel Nolte said something the other day that made me think (again). “We don’t have a skills crisis in the insurance industry. We have an attitude crisis.”

The attitude crisis he was referring to relates to the process of hiring new staff.

“There are lots of young, talented people looking for work. We need to hire them despite their lack of skills. We must hire good people – regardless of their tattoos or arts degrees – and then mentor them for growth.”

Carel was participating in an insurance leadership webinar hosted by AIG’s Shazley Taylor and Andrea Broadley.  His fellow guest was Christelle Colman, his co-founder in the soon-to-be-launched UMA, Ami Underwriting Managers. Carel and Christelle shared some sensational pearls of wisdom, demonstrating their love for SA and insurance, and their lateral approach to doing business that will most certainly propel Ami into the stratosphere! Here are a few of them…


  • Don’t get so fixated on your goals that you miss out on opportunities along the way.
  • Transformation is about more than gender and race. It’s about bringing people together with different backgrounds.
  • If you give people the chance, they tend to rise to the occasion.
  • We can learn from anyone at all, not just people in authority. We just have to be open to learning.
  • Remember to keep perspective. Family and health always come first.


  • We’re privileged to work in South Africa, where people have respect for each other.
  • We need to do more to attract good people into insurance, especially at university level.
  • Every person is as important as the next. Your job doesn’t define how much respect you deserve.
  • Create a warm, loving environment and the best people will come – and stay. (Christelle says she’s never had a staff turnover problem in any of the businesses she has run.)
  • We’re still figuring out how to balance technology with the human touch. Each new start-up gets closer, but we still have a long way to go.
  • Find what brings you joy and focus on it. That’s how you become good at what you do.