Santam was one of the first insurers in South Africa to launch an initiative to boost the number of black and female intermediaries back in 2008. Eleven years later it has made great strides in influencing transformation in the industry and addressing the gaps that exist with regard to white, black and female intermediaries. To date, a total of 216 black broker graduates have come through the Santam Learnership Programme and more than half have either joined existing brokerages or have started their own brokerages. Santam sees this programme as making a long-term, sustainable contribution to the short-term insurance industry.
Besides increasing the number of black and female intermediaries, the main objective of the initiative is to develop and provide support to intermediaries and to grow their businesses into sustainable and profitable organisations. The objective of the black broker growth initiative is to assist black brokers to increase their gross written premiums and thereby receive a bigger share of Santam’s commission spend.
The initiative focuses on equipping unemployed black individuals with the skills to qualify as intermediaries, as well as assisting candidates with obtaining employment in the short-term industry. The programme also offers coaching and mentoring to intermediaries who already have a few years’ experience to help them set up their own brokerages.
An increase in the number of black brokers is not only essential in terms of moral and legal requirements but also an important way of growing the emerging market for short-term insurance products. This increase means the lower-income segment of the population can be better serviced and provided with broader access to formal financial services such as credit, housing finance, savings and insurance. Santam has identified the following opportunities that could be driven by current black-owned brokerages:
- Assisting black intermediaries to form partnerships with Santam in order to increase their incomes
- Providing total back-office support to black intermediaries
- Supplying coaching and mentoring to intermediaries
- Offering enterprise development support
- Assisting intermediaries with formulating growth strategies
- Providing data analytics solutions
- Offering technical risk consulting
- Providing access to specialist business skills
In the process, there may be some challenges, for example intermediaries who are not FAIS and regulation compliant or intermediaries who have inadequate product knowledge.
Through the process of designing this programme, Santam has developed a matrix of skill sets required from prospective intermediaries. They must:
- Be sales skills oriented
- Show entrepreneurial skills
- Be business oriented
- Show networking ability
- Be in favour of creating a results-driven culture
- Have strong communication skills
- Have knowledge of the short-term insurance industry
- Have good marketing skills
Santam is confident that it has put together a seamless process that identifies all the links in the chain. If you want to find out more about the programme, speak to your relationship manager or contact Santam. For more articles focused on intermediaries and insurance business trends, visit the Santam blog.