What's Happening?

2020 – What next year holds for the intermediary



“Discontinuous change : Non-incremental, sudden change  that threatens existing or traditional authority or power structure, because it drastically alters the way things are currently done or have been done for years.”


“Discontinuous change represents a threshold which is crossed, where rather than just more of the same happens, something different occurs. There is a jump to a new level or an opening to a new set of possibilities.” 

If we have not yet recognised that our sector, our industry, our country and in fact the world is and has been in the process of discontinuous change for well on a decade, but more so in the past five years, then we need to open our eyes, ears and senses. In fact if one just measures the changes over the past two years, it is clear that it is not only speeding up, but jumping two or more flights of stairs at a time!

Noticed how e-commerce is growing by leaps and bounds? How the face of banking, inspired by Capitec amongst others, has changed forever? How cell phone companies are moving into financial services? How social media brings the news to us instantly? How our own regulations have started to change the approach of financial services? How once strong political parties are floundering? Look out for more legislation set to change the landscape: National Health Insurance, Road Accident Benefit Scheme, The Consumer Protection Act coming into its own… Do 100- and 200-year flood lines need to be redrawn?

I could go on and on, but here is the thing: Sometimes a single change may not bring about an immediate change, but it facilitates ideas. A few months on something else happens or comes along and together the two or more things bring about the so called discontinuous change we see in just about every aspect of our daily lives. 

While these changes throw our lives, our very beings, into turmoil, being a part of the human race they are virtually impossible to escape or to ignore! So what to do as an intermediary?

What is becoming more difficult is that clients are demanding a higher and better quality of advice; they want it quicker and when and where they want it. It must cost less and the outcomes must be better. Achieving this will be difficult, if nigh impossible, doing things the same way we have been doing them all these years. We need to integrate technology into our service without making it impersonal. We need to integrate the advice to more than just car and household insurance, more than just a life policy or a disability policy. We need to bring current and future desired lifestyle into the equation. One thing we will find out is that tough times drive innovation. And in South Africa we should expect innovation to abound in the next few years. Predictive and preventative risk management, whether personal or for a business, will become more valuable as a tool to manage one’s risks rather than just affecting an insurance product. 

A new motor product (or two) must be just around the corner. And look out for “pay when you can/want” as a concept in the near future. People will pay more for convenience, but want to pay less when the risk is lower than normal. Electric vehicles, self-driving, connected vehicles and the GPS tracking and the supporting services such as replacement car hire, roadside assistance and heightened security risks will serve to encourage a new age motor product where one pays only for what one uses. 

2020 – the future takes longer than we think and happens quicker than we believe!

This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of FIA Insight magazine. Contact questions@fia.org.za for more info.