More than 2 000 insurance professionals attended the latest instalment of InsureTalk – the 26th episode in the series. To put that number into context, our first InsureTalk attracted a mere 80 people.

We also have a new MC! Ami CEO, Christelle Colman, picked up beautifully where Nonnie Mhlungu left off. Christelle thanked the sponsors – headline partner Elite and event partner Infiniti Insurance. She also thanked the speakers, who spend a lot of time preparing for these talks, and pointed out that six of the eight speakers today are women.

The theme for the webinar was “The exponential underwriter and the analytics imperative”, which was also the topic of the first speaker – Tarina Vlok, MD of Elite Risk Acceptances.

Tarina said that much work has been done by the country’s top auditing firms that focuses on the future of insurance underwriting.

“This work focuses mostly on commercial and corporate insurance, with little attention to personal lines underwriting,” she said. “This is understandable, since much of personal lines underwriting and administration has been automated for some time.”

However, she says there are parallels between the commercial and corporate studies that can be applied to personal lines underwriting, and unpacked some of these in her presentation.

She spoke about the work that still needs to be done surrounding data management, and unpacked the components of underwriting in the context of ever-expanding technological innovation.

“Underwriters will have to reinvent themselves to position themselves for new roles in the future,” she said.

Next in the hot seat was a team from event partners Infinti Insurance – CEO Sharon Paterson, and broker division GM Debbie George. They spoke on the importance of partnerships in the insurance environment.

Sharon unpacked what partnership is and why a partnership model is more important than ever before in this fast-changing world. The pair then explored the three core partnerships of their own business model – the partnerships between Infiniti, its reinsurers and its brokers, and the partnerships between brokers and clients.

“If any leg of this three-way partnership is broken or is not functioning optimally, then none of us is likely to succeed and meet our objectives in the long term,” said Sharon.

Rianet Whitehead is the co-owner of FA News and the founder of The Insurance Apprentice. She spoke about the 2023 installation of the popular insurance video franchise – season 9 – and invited eligible candidates to apply for next year’s competition by midnight on 30 September 2022. She outlined the format for the 2023 contest, which has already attracted around 80 applications.

Rianet was followed by Indwe CEO, Peter Olyott, who spoke on “Broking in a post-Covid, post-riots, post-floods, regional war zone and load shedding world”. His talk touched on:

  • Where we are today, where we are going and why
  • The impact of these catastrophes on clients’ business
  • The factors that will define the future state
  • The shape of the risk and insurance advice spectrum going forward
  • The importance of risk management

This was Peter’s opening slide:

IISA CEO Thokozile Mahlangu outlined the details of the institute’s latest educational offering, the Certificate in Digital Insurance, which is available to all members of the financial services sector.

She added that all digital presentations from the 2022 AIE are now available on the resource hub of the IISA membership portal, and that the AIE organising committee has started with preparations for the 2023 conference. The dates are 24 to 26 July. Look out for details on early bird registration in the next week or so.

Tony van Niekerk of Cover magazine shared some details on the Institute of Risk Managers (IRMSA) conference, which he attended a few days before InsureTalk. The way we view risk, he said, has to change and celebrated the fact that risk management has become a profession in itself.

“We now have risk managers in the C-suite in big corporates, which is a fantastic development,” he said. “This makes it very clear that risk has taken on a whole new dynamic in business and has been given the rightful space that it needs.”

He went on to share details of the upcoming InsureTech conference, which takes place on 9 and 10 November, and the Future Fit broker survey.

Tandiwe Cimela, COO of Elite, closed the conference with a talk on the hybrid working model.

“The last two-and-a-half years of working from home have opened up employees to a hybrid working world, where personal and working life intercept,” she said. “This hybrid working model is here to stay.”

A recent survey by Discovery showed that 80% of people have returned to the office, but with flexibility – going into the office on average three times a week. Another study claims that the finance and insurance sectors have the highest potential for remote work.

There’s no right or wrong answer, she said. Rather, it’s up to the leaders in individual companies to determine which model works best for the business.

Here’s the recording of the webinar:

InsureTalk 27 will take place on 27 October 2022 from 10am to 1pm. Each session is worth 2.5 CPD hours. Register here.

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