InsureTalk29 focuses on experience, risk and investment

2023’s first InsureTalk session – the 29th in the series – took place on 23 February 2023. Our host, Christelle Colman of Ami Insure, welcomed guests (close to 2 000 of them!), sponsors (Global Choices and EasyEquities) and partners (IISA and FA News).

First up was EasyEquities chief risk officer Nicola Comninos. She gave a talk entitled “A fintech CRO’s risky perspectives”.

“If you don’t take enough risk, you won’t be able to be in business,” she said. “We all have to take a certain amount of risk, and it’s very risky not to take any risk.”

Nicola says that although South Africa is in crisis mode at the moment, there are also opportunities. The trick is to spot those opportunities and take advantage of them. Risks have to be managed by everyone in a business, from the CEO to all staff.

Using EasyEquities as a case study, Nicola unpacked the two sides of the risk coin – the threats versus the opportunities.

“The real job of a risk manager is to focus on the opportunities, rather than the threats,” she said.

Our next speaker was Wimpie van der Merwe of Global Choices. He spoke about “The total experience playbook”, with an emphasis on design thinking and empathy.

“Our thinking has evolved from humanism to individualism – which I like to call customer-centricity,” he said, before unpacking the concept in the context of the insurance industry.

He called for the industry to adopt a digital-first mindset.

“In recent years insurance has sought to digitise their processes and improve their customer experiences,” he said. “It’s a great concept and objective, making it more seamless and tailored to the needs of today’s digital consumer.

“Many large insurers have partnered with insurtechs and technology companies, or spent large amounts of money on digital platforms to digitise their sales and claims management processes. They’ve also introduced virtual payments and upgraded their websites to include artificial intelligence and chatbots.”

But are these companies truly “digital-first”? And do they put customers at the centre of all they do? The rest of Wimpie’s talk explored these and other pertinent questions in the context of “total experience”…

IISA CEO Thokozile Mahlangu spoke about the benefits and advantages of a professional IISA membership.

“IISA is the only professional body that is SAQA-approved to award designations in insurance, both in the life and non-life insurance industries,” she said. “This denotes your level of expertise and experience; it symbolises your competence and certifies that you are a master insurance professional.”

You can find out more about membership in the IISA website.

This year we welcome a new media partner to InsureTalk in the form of Rianet Whitehead from FA News. Rianet’s maiden presentation focused on the magazine’s 25-year history, culminating in its modern print-and-digital approach. She also spoke about The Insurance Apprentice. The latest series just finished filming and will be released next month.

Rianet also spoke about hot topics in the news right now, including insurers’ response to the possibility of grid failure, natural catastrophes, regulatory issues, the CoFI Act, the draft joint standard on cyber security and cyber resilience, cell captive standards, all of which will be covered in the April issue of FA News.

Purple Group’s Almero Oosthuizen gave an overview of the EasyEquities, EasyProperties, EasyCrypto and RISE platforms and unpacked the company’s new life insurance offering.

“We’re building a financial super-app that helps customers to create and protect wealth,” he said.

One of the ways the company is doing that is through the introduction of a linked term life insurance product that protects the individual’s investment. Almero went through some interesting stats on life insurance in the US, which, he says, are likely to reflect the SA market, before explaining how the EasyProtect product works. It’s really innovative and aimed at younger people who are at an early stage in their investment journeys.

Almero was followed by Don Kruger from EasyCrypto, whose topic was “Crypto risk 101: fundamental principles”. He unpacked the ways in which crypto is going to change the way we live and work.

Don defined cryptocurrency (or a crypto asset) as “a decentralised, peer-to-peer cryptographic protocol that harnesses a distributed ledger to record and verify transactions” – or “a type of digital currency that uses complex mathematical algorithms to verify and secure transactions that are maintained by a network of users across the globe.” To a small kid, he would define it as “a type of money that can be used to buy pizza and toys across the world.”

His talk centred on six main points:

  1. Decentralisation – the fundamental appeal of blockchain technology
  2. Bitcoin scarcity and the fiat inflation predicament – a time-series analysis of the US dollar and global inflation rates
  3. Understanding notions of crypto asset value
  4. Proof-of-work versus proof-of-state
  5. Cybersecurity misconceptions
  6. Portfolio diversification in SA investment portfolios

Popular South African actor, author, nutrition enthusiast and entrepreneur, Armand Aucamp, closed the proceedings with a talk entitled “Dare to dream: overcoming fear and embracing risk.” He spoke about his personal journey with risk and “how, by embracing it, it has led me down an absolute whirlwind of a path of trial and tribulation – and ultimately success!”

The next InsureTalk takes place on 23 March 2023. BOOK HERE

Here’s the recording of the full InsureTalk29 session: