Sandton, 31 August 2023: Sandton was abuzz on the evening of 31 August 2023 as over 500 stakeholders in South Africa’s financial services sector descended on the Sandton Convention Centre to attend the 2023 FIA Intermediary Experience Awards (the FIA Awards) gala dinner.
The FIA Awards recognise a select group of financial services brands for their role in empowering financial advisory businesses, and through these businesses making positive contributions to advice, servicing and financial outcomes for financial consumers.
“The FIA Awards represent more than just accolades; they symbolise the culmination of hard work, innovation, and a relentless commitment by financial product suppliers to improving the service delivery to intermediaries within the financial services sector,” said Lizelle van der Merwe, CEO of the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA). The annual event is a calendar highlight for insurance and investment stakeholders who seize on the opportunity to demonstrate their dedication to the financial advisory sector.
Winners are chosen through a rigorous selection process informed by a comprehensive and impartial assessment of thousands of FIA member responses.
“The selection process guarantees that the FIA Awards recipients truly embody the values of integrity, innovation and client-centricity that the FIA holds dear; brands that receive an award are not only being celebrated by their peers, but also earn the trust and respect of the broader advice community,” Van der Merwe said. She added that the FIA Awards served a ‘deeper’ purpose of enhancing the lives of both FIA members and financial consumers.
The intermediary experience survey – as FIA members refer to it – establishes a reliable benchmark for how advisory businesses view their ongoing interactions with financial product suppliers. It evaluates the intermediary experience across eight standards of excellence including overall satisfaction; service and product quality; regulatory and compliance; trust; complaint resolution; and business enablement. A high score on each of these measures helps FIA members to maintain service standards to their clients, the financial consumer.
The 2023 selection process rated more than 5000 contracts across the employee benefits; healthcare; non-life insurance; and life insurance and investment disciplines. Unfortunately, despite this impressive participation, there were too few contracts rated to complete a meaningful assessment of the Underwriting Managers (UMA) category, and a decision was taken not to issue this award this year. Van der Merwe explained that recent changes in the UMA segment resulted in insufficient sampling sizes in the many niche markets.
For the remaining categories, the FIA observed that the overall service results achieved for 2023 were closely aligned with those recorded in the prior year, with an overall industry score of 77.87% compared to 77.93%. The best-performing brand across the eight award categories increased its score by just 1.81% over the prior year, demonstrating the competitive nature of the FIA Awards landscape, and confirming the already high service standards achieved in 2022.
There were some notable improvements in the intermediary experience ratings for brands in the investment lump-sum category this year, but overall service in respect of both personal lines and commercial non-life insurance has been on a gradual year-on-year decline. “The overall service indicator serves as an excellent predictor for non-life insurers on where they need to improve and where they may be at risk of losing business to smaller niche competitors,” Van der Merwe said.
Van der Merwe invited attendees at the FIA Awards presentation to see the event as a catalyst for ongoing transformation. “These Awards celebrate the achievements that push our industry forward, all the while propelling us to raise the bar even higher,” she said. “By participating, we not only acknowledge our collective progress but also reaffirm our commitment to shaping a future where financial consumers reap the benefits of our tireless efforts”.
The winners of the 2023 FIA Intermediary Experience Awards are:
Non-Life Insurer of the Year – Personal Lines: Santam
Non-Life Insurer of the Year – Commercial: Western National
Non-Life Insurer of the Year – Corporate: Hollard
Life & Investment
Long Term Insurer of the Year – Risk: Sanlam
Product Supplier of the Year – Investment Product, Lump Sum: Allan Gray
Product Supplier of the Year – Investment Product, Savings: Allan Gray
Product Supplier of the Year – Employee Benefits: Momentum Corporate
Product Supplier of the Year – Healthcare: Discovery Health
Click here for an industry report on high level insights derived from the survey outcomes.