Most people expect to see white males dominating the corner offices in the insurance industry. Imagine the excitement, then, when introduced to an insurance company owned, led and defined by black women.
Way Financial Services (WAYFS), a cell captive underwritten by Guardrisk Life, is a 100% black female-owned, level 1 B-BBEE contributor. Far from being a token transformation gesture, this business was born to be disruptive, competitive and a serious player in the industry
According to Herman Schoeman, CEO, Guardrisk, a cell captive arrangement “provides cell owners with a ring-fenced facility where they own their own insurance products which includes underwriting, actuarial, and legal, compliance and financial reporting services without the inherent costs and lengthy processes of setting up an insurance company”.
By the time a Guardrisk cell captive incepts, the client is set up to distribute their products to their desired target markets and to grow their business. The WAYFS cell incepted on 15 July 2019.
The formation of WAYFS is a success story for gender equality and transformation. A marketing guru, two specialist doctors and four lawyers combined to create a formidable team of ambitious black women who intend taking the industry head on.
WAYFS intends driving inclusion for the lower income market as well as small and medium businesses, including funeral parlors, burial societies and employee group schemes.
“People love us when we present,” says director, Rethabile Matekane. It is not surprising, as one would be hard-pressed to find a 100% black female-owned business, says Matekane.
“The cell captive model is transformation if you think about it – it removes barriers. WAYFS came into the market at just the right time. People want to get away from the white male-dominated environment and so we walk in and they say, ‘you are exactly what we have been looking for’,” says Matekane.
WAYFS is very energetic and infused with positivity, says Matekane. The positivity comes from their realisation that they have the potential to trigger real upliftment among ordinary people. Real transformation, she says, will come from the private sector.
The team is honoured to be recognised for breaking ground as a black female-owned and run business, says Matekane, who hopes their story inspires many young black women to chase their dreams no matter how big the obstacles may seem.
However, it doesn’t end there for WAYFS. The team intends becoming a formidable contender. “Guardrisk has empowered us. When we first met, they were able to provide high-level insight. Today we have resources, they believe in us and they back us.
“We are small enough to change to suit our clients’ needs. We are young. We are on the pulse of social media. We are relevant. We are not bound to tradition, and we adapt easily. We will retain this as we grow larger so that we remain relevant and agile. We will become a serious player.”
Part of the journey to becoming an established player will involve consumer education, says Matekane. “Our model is business to business – we use a brokerage model. But, ultimately, we need the end user to see us, and recognise and understand our brand. We are the company that promises to insure your future, to make sure your legacy lives,” says Matekane, who had an impressive career as a marketer in the insurance industry before fulfilling her dream of heading up an insurance company.
“We would like to make our corporate social investment meaningful. This is something that is very important to us: business with a purpose and conscience.”