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The FIA Intermediary Experience Awards – commonly referred to as the FIA Awards – were announced last week at a gala dinner in Sandton. The awards recognise a select group of product provider brands for their role in empowering financial advisory businesses, and through these businesses making positive contributions to improving outcomes for clients. The annual event is a calendar highlight for insurance and investment stakeholders.

Lizelle van der Merwe, CEO of the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA), says the 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.

“These awards have emerged as a touchstone of excellence and a testament to the dedication of our industry as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible,” she says.

And the winners are…

Winners are chosen through a rigorous selection process informed by a comprehensive and impartial assessment of thousands of FIA member responses. “The rigorous process that underpins the selection of winners guarantees that recipients truly embody the values of integrity, innovation and client-centricity that, as an industry, we hold dear,” says Van der Merwe. 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,” she reveals, adding that the FIA Awards serve a deeper purpose of enhancing the lives of both FIA members and financial consumers.

This year’s winners include the following: in the Non-Life: Personal Lines category the winner was Santam. Western National won the Commercial category, while Hollard won the Corporate category.

In the Life and Investment category, Sanlam won the Risk Award and Allan Gray won both the Investment Product: Lump Sum Award and the Investment Product: Savings Award.

In the Product Supplier of the Year category, Momentum Corporate won the Employee Benefits Award, while Discovery Healthcare won the Healthcare Award.


Service ratings

The 2023 selection process rated more than 5 000 contracts across the employee benefits, healthcare, non-life insurance, and life insurance and investment disciplines.

The FIA reports 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 service standards,” she says.

Overall, the awards shed light on the practices, strategies and solutions that have not only achieved success, but have also created positive and lasting impacts on the clients. “By showcasing these exemplary initiatives, we not only inspire others to emulate their success, but also contribute to a collective elevation of industry standards,” she says.

Pointing out that improving outcomes for clients is a paramount goal for the entire industry, she says the awards play a pivotal role in this regard.

“By recognising and disseminating best practices, we facilitate knowledge exchange, encourage healthy competition, and foster an environment of continuous improvement. This, in turn, translates into enhanced products, services and strategies that ultimately benefit our clients, creating a financial services landscape that is safer, more efficient, and more attuned to their needs.”

She said the awards need to be viewed 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.”