A huge population of South Africans are under-insured, uninsured and not represented in the insurance industry. One reason is that our industry is still a long way from being representative of the South African population. Another is that there is a shortage of skills.
It is our responsibility, as market leaders, to help transform the insurance industry, and it is with that in mind that Santam partnered with the FIA to create the FIA / Santam Transformation Initiative, which seeks to address both of these obstacles to transformation.
What the initiative is all about
The FIA and Santam partnered to launch the FIA Transformation Initiative, which is a five-year commitment to accelerate transformation in the South African intermediary space. It is a continuation of Santam’s commitment to enterprise and supplier development and forms part of a bigger Santam initiative called the Santam Intermediary Growth and Development Programme (SIGDP).
The initiative is a multifaceted programme aimed at accelerating the growth of black-owned FSPs by enabling emerging intermediaries to build profitable and sustainable businesses over the long term and providing vital access to the industry. As part of this initiative, Santam subsidises the FSPs’ FIA membership for 12 months. The membership provides access to FIA benefits such as – but not limited to – mentorship and coaching, training sessions, industry-related sessions, compliance guidelines, access to FIA Group Life, Disability, Accident Scheme and Professional Indemnity Scheme. Therefore, joining this initiative gives participants access to skills (via training) and knowledge they would have had to pay for out of their own pockets.
Santam will also provide ongoing development and support to ensure these brokerages continue to grow once they have completed the programme. These benefits are aligned with our aim to empower and equip black owned FSPs to be successful in the industry.
This initiative was developed based on feedback from intermediaries regarding the needs of the industry. This means that it has the support of an industry body with in-depth knowledge of what intermediaries need to succeed in this industry.
Working together for the good of the industry
The main objectives of the initiative are to transform the South African insurance industry, drive economic growth and promote job creation. It aims to achieve this by attracting new intermediaries from underserved communities to the sector, provide them with ongoing development (knowledge, skills, resources) and support to ensure they thrive in this industry.
In an ideal world, success would be a fully inclusive and transformed insurance industry representing South Africa’s demographics. This is a long-term plan and Santam has an ongoing strategy to create a bigger distribution footprint and increase inclusivity to reach those historically excluded from the insurance net, thereby narrowing the risk protection gap. This will transform the sector beyond “doing” good to “being” good – good for the economy, good for society and good for stakeholders.
In order to achieve this, it’s important to have a number of different stakeholders on board. The SIGDP enjoys the support of the FIA and ASISA, as well as internationally recognised higher learning institution, Wits Digital Campus. These stakeholders are actively involved in the programme’s various training and ESD initiatives.
The bigger picture
Santam’s commitment to transformation is premised on our conviction that it is a strategic business imperative. It is a key aspect of how we identify as a firm and is nurtured by our commitment to create a culture of diversity and inclusion across our organisation, supply chains, intermediary network and greater ecosystem.
This has been activated through myriad programmes and initiatives aimed at creating and fostering a culture of inclusion for our people; enterprise and supplier development programmes in which we seek to create a diverse and competitive SMME sector, as well as leveraging our purchasing power to create a diverse supplier base.
We drive programmes to promote financial education and access to financial services for new entrants and, more specifically, for historically disadvantaged groups toward ensuring financial inclusion. Our brand promise, insurance good and proper, sets the tone for our organisation as a good corporate citizen; our transformation journey has set us on a good path, and we believe we are well-placed to do more.