InsureTalk 24 kicked off in grand style on 28 July, 2022, with a record number of attendees! Coming hot on the heels of the 2022 African Insurance Exchange, members of the South African insurance industry have shown that they’re hungry for knowledge – and a bit of fun!

The latest edition of the popular webinar franchise was headline sponsored by Ami Underwriting Managers, with Global Choices, Cover magazine and the IISA coming on board as event partners. Our host was the inimitable Christelle Colman, co-founder and CEO of Ami (who has already built the Ami brand into a considerable force, even though the company hasn’t started trading yet!)

The conference theme was “Insurance: accelerating from grudge purchase to noble purpose”, with top-class speakers from the insurance industry and beyond.

“Noble purpose is a customer-driven methodology for accelerating revenue growth, increasing competitive differentiation and igniting emotional connection with a brand,” Christelle explained.

Research shows that companies with a purpose other than making money outperform their competitors by a factor of 350% and attract top talent, said Christelle.

The first speaker was Dr Natasha Winkler-Titus, founder of SigniFYER and faculty member at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, whose topic was “Responsible leadership of noble purpose leads to meaningful work.”

Human beings, she said, are hard-wired for meaning. We want our lives to count for something. People should not see work as “an endless grind”, meaningless and devoid of purpose.

“People are more enthused about building a great cathedral than simply laying bricks,” she said.

Following Natasha was Constantia Insurance CEO, Peter Todd, who delivered a talk on the concept of noble purpose.

“There’s no question that when it comes to partying, I think we top most industries. We have a great ability to connect, whether we’re competitors or not. There’s a unique thread that connects us.”

But there’s also a serious part of our industry. Some of the numbers and events we’ve seen in the past few years have been unprecedented, impacting both the life and non-life industries.

“When these disasters happen, it’s our industry that steps in,” he said. “Yes, we are great at socialising, we’re great at connecting, but ultimately it’s a very serious industry that underlies all of this….

“Around the globe in 2021, it’s estimated that natural catastrophes caused losses in the region of $280bn. About $120bn of that was insured. Everything filters up into the reinsurance markets as we spread the risk globally. So the premiums we pay in this country ultimately contribute to funding the losses that happen in other parts of the world.

“And maybe that’s why we as an industry are so united. It’s that common thread that runs through our industry. In some way, we are all connected to this insurance ecosystem that allows the world to continue to operate and recover from disastrous events.”

The rest of his talk touched on cybercrime, enabling suppliers, transformation, access to previously underserved markets, climate change, community enablement, and the fact that, ultimately, we are a noble industry.

Following Peter in the hot seat was Tyrone Moodley, chief operating officer of Constantia Insurance. His talk, titled “Hard tech, soft touch”, focused on the softer side of tech.

“As a millennial I think it’s important to stand up and talk about the softer touch [of tech] – the softer touch of people, the intermediaries in our business, and the role that people play in giving advice.”

He spoke on the rapid rise of tech and connectivity, the benefits of tech in the insurance industry, some of the challenges presented by technology and Constantia’s approach to tech.

In case you were concerned… “The creativity of the human being will ensure we are not replaced by technology,” he said.

Another interesting quote: “90% of the world’s data was generated between 2019 and now. If you were to download all that information on a 44-meg line, it would take you 181 years.”

Next up we saw the wrap-up video of the 2022 AIE conference:

The entertainment slot was filled by local artist Zuko Sol.

Cover magazine’s Tony van Niekerk spoke on “Black tax and the value of insurance”.

“We always talk about generational wealth transfer in our industry. But we forget that there is also something called the generational poverty chain. Black tax is one of the links in that generational poverty chain that prevents people from reaching what they are supposed to reach.”

In a heartfelt and emotional talk, he used his own life story to demonstrate the chain and spoke about how insurance can help to break the cycle. He called on the industry to “make sure that there is a break in that generational poverty chain” and to “stand tall, be proud of what you do, be proud of our industry, because we really do make a difference.”

Carel Nolte, co-founder of Ami, CMO of EasyEquities and head of CN&CO, was next up. His topic was “Insurance is dead”…

… “long live insurance!” he said. The topic was based on a traditional proclamation made following the ascension of a new monarch in various countries.

“This seemingly contradictory phrase simultaneously announces the death of a king or queen and assures the public of continuity by saluting the new monarch,” he said, quoting Wikipedia.

“For me the insurance that is dead is the ‘old’ insurance: an insurance not focused primarily on the many clients that it should serve; an industry with a small number of unimaginative policies.

“But the insurance that lives, the insurance that gives this continuity is innovative and diverse – and we are truly starting to represent our demographic in terms of race, gender, sexuality and other criteria – that insurance is very much alive and very much represented by the over 1 900 people on today’s InsureTalk.

“This industry remains the bedrock of our economy, of society. This industry, worldwide, is indeed one of noble purpose. And… we’re just getting started!”

He proceeded to share a few influences that have helped shape his career in insurance and keep his energy and creativity levels high. These centred on companies, music, art, books, news and leaders. But essentially it all comes back to you.

“You’re not as fat as you think. Your gender, your race, your sexuality does not define you. You are not too young. You don’t have to hide your tattoos. You aren’t too old or too ugly. You’re not too anything… Don’t let anyone else tell you anything about your own life.”

Our final speaker was Ari Seirlis, former CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa.

Ari became a quadriplegic in 1985 as a result of a diving accident, and subsequently committed himself to disability rights and the disability sector. He is presently the advisor to the president on disability. His talk was entitled “Finding my feet. Finding my way. Finding my why.”

He shared his life journey, from school, university and the army to his diving accident and its aftermath, his attitude to his disability and the life he built after the accident.

“I never looked back,” he said. “I only looked forward. I followed the green lights, not the red ones.”

Here are some of the tips and truths he shared with the group and how these relate to insurance:

“Please have empathy and understanding of the disruption that we have in our lives,” he said. “Find a new way of communicating. Find a new way of retaining. Find a new way of understanding your clients with disabilities. It will give us confidence – we are vulnerable in our special way. Be wired to care. And if you aren’t, you must evolve, repurpose. Be sensitive… and embrace diversity.”

The conference was closed by Ami’s Kurt Solomon, who announced an exciting competition for brokers, with the prize being a trip for two to stay in a villa in France. For more info on the competition, WhatsApp “hi” to 087 700 9695 or visit www.amisure.co.za.

You can view the recording of InsureTalk24 below. Remember to contact Llewellyn (llewellyn@cnandco.com) before you start watching if you’d like to receive your 2.5 CPD hours afterwards.

InsureTalk25 takes place on 25 August from 10am to 1pm. To book, click here.