Newly-appointed president of the Insurance Institute of Northern Gauteng (IING), Natalie Graham, says the South African insurance industry must focus on training, transformation and service if it’s to weather the changes buffeting the sector.

Graham, partner of the broker channel at King Price – or, as she’s known at King Price, the queen of broker business – succeeds Santam’s Anton Coertzen at IING. “My passion is service,” says Graham. “Anton’s tenure was firmly focused on training, and I’d like to combine his legacy with my expertise to create an organisation that’s relevant to our members going forward.”

Commenting on the industry, Graham notes that it’s a time of huge change. “New technology, a tough economy and stringent regulatory requirements are combining to create a highly challenging market right now. The only way we’re going to move forward as an industry is to make sure that we evolve our skills, offerings and service levels to stay relevant to our clients and society at large.”

“IING is about getting like-minded insurance professionals together to go beyond simply putting in the hours needed to earn CPD points,” says Graham. “It’s about finding presenters who make our members think, and providing training on aspects we might not touch on very often – because you don’t know what you don’t know, until you do. And it’s also about sharing new experiences and insights that fundamentally change the way we think about insurance, and building a community within the industry.”

Graham says she’s well-supported by a “vibrant and diverse” IING committee, which includes national brokers, smaller independent brokers, industry suppliers, and various insurers, with a combined total of more than 100 years’ experience in the industry. Some committee members, she notes, have been involved for years, and that’s experience she’s grateful to have on her side. But she’s also excited about the “newbies” who were voted in this year. “Younger people bring fresh perspective and teach us to look at things differently. One person can’t manage everything, but collectively we’re a strong and confident team.”

While most of Graham’s 21 years in the insurance industry have been in the broker space, she believes her experience across a range of disciplines – including claims, service, training, and even a brief stint as a motor accident loss adjuster – will stand her in good stead as she prepares to lead IING into the next two years.

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