Risk, running and boxing at InsureTalk20

The 20th iteration of the popular InsureTalk webinar took place on Thursday, 24 March 2022, attracting more than 1000 insurance professional delegates. The headline partner was EasyEquities and the theme for the conference was risk.

Register for InsureTalk 2022 here – shorturl.at/yIXZ4

We were delighted once again to have Nonnie Mhlungu as our host for the event.

First up was Carel Nolte, who spoke about risk – risk in his life, his career, his journey to EasyEquities (which is 1/3 owned by Sanlam, so essentially part of the insurance industry). He’s passionate about insurance and investment. “Insurance remains the bedrock of society. Without insurance I don’t think anything is possible,” he said.

Today’s speakers share a philosophy that not taking risk is the biggest risk of all. Carel encouraged guests to take risks to improve the world, believe in yourself, don’t be cynical, go with your gut, believe that diversity is better. He spoke about his new venture with Christelle Colman, Ami Insurance, and the risks involved there. And always remember to have fun!

Michael Davies unpacked the 2022 Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) risk report.

South Africa Risks 2022 was released in February 2022. It highlights top risks to the achievement of the NDP and ERRP. It focuses on various risk scenarios and highlights the top risks faced in South Africa, providing a call to action – which skills and competencies do we need to deploy urgently to address these risks.

Steven Boykey Sidley, author of Beyond Bitcoin, spoke on decentralised finance and the end of banks. He referred to “the juggernaut that is coming to the insurance industry powered by Blockchain.”

The development of the Blockchain and virtual currency took around 30 years, coming to a head in 2019 with the publication of a paper by Satoshi Nakamoto. The first Bitcoin trade was made to buy pizza! Now each Bitcoin is worth tens of thousands of dollars – and DeFi is coming for the banks, the exchanges and the insurance industry!

The IISA’s Thokozile Mahlangu updated delegates on the institute survey, which is currently being run, and invited those who are not members to join! She also touched on the upcoming 2022 AIE.

Thokozile was followed by Tony van Niekerk of Cover magazine, who continued with the risk theme. He shared some of the biggest risks facing South Africa, including unemployment, school drop-outs and unemployability.

He shared a video that highlighted how we can all help to make people more employable and increase the unemployment rate. It tells the story of one man planting one tree per day for 37 years, ending up with a forest the size of Central Park. He encouraged delegates to help educate underprivileged children through organisations such as Sparrow Schools for as little at R100 per month, to help improve education stats in South Africa.

Alan Harris and Ricky “Sugar” Shabalala of cResults provided the entertainment segment of the proceedings. Alan spoke about the punch tracking technology employed in his fitness programme. “Fitness is the cheapest form of medicine,” he said. “Try something new. You’re never too old – age is just a number. Never give up. Surround yourself with good people. Approach your business like you approach your sport.”

Ricky, who is a two-time SA champion fighter, spoke about the risks involved in teaching people how to engage in combat. (BTW, Ricky trains two to three times a day, with cool-downs and meetings in between, demonstrating the levels of commitment required to achieve great levels of success.)

Ricky then gave a lesson on basic boxing punches, encouraging delegates to join in and get their juices flowing.

“Risk management is everyone’s business. You can’t manage a business if you don’t take any risks. You need to take risks to innovate.” These were the opening words of Nicola Comninos of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. “For me it’s all about your risk appetite,” she continued. “You have to be risk aware because you’re dealing with so much change.”

She spoke about two approaches to change and risk – VUCA and TUNA:

“It’s not just about looking at what can go wrong. It’s about noticing and taking advantage of new business opportunities.”

Nicola closed by referencing the complexities of the digital manager role:

Bruno De Moura Fernandes of Coface discussed the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the global economy. The key takeaways from Bruno’s talk are captured in the slides below:

Next up was Toni McCann, professional trail runner, coach and nutritionist, who spoke on “Finding Your People”.

“In taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, that’s where creativity and innovation come from,” she said. “There can be no victory without people in your corner. It takes more than just being an individual. You need people around you to support and encourage you, but also to give you a kick in the butt when you need it.”

Toni spoke about building a career as a sportsperson – the competition, the risk, the sacrifice and the ultimate success.

The next edition of InsureTalk (can you believe it’s been two years?!) will be held on 14 April 2022. You can book for the rest of the year’s InsureTalk events by clicking here.

Watch the full recording of InsureTalk20 below: