Andrew Geyer, President IING 2011-2012

What was your largest contribution to the industry and the IING during your presidential term?

The primary contribution I believe was achieved by reinstating and building on the brand and reputation of the IING. It facilitated financial viability through support from our stakeholders.

The stakeholders appreciated and recognised the work put into achieving financial discipline through the use and provision of audited financial statements and budgets so that we account to all of our constituents.

What do you see as the three most common trends in the insurance industry today?

Financial Services Legislative and Regulatory reforms are impacting the South African Insurance market. Insurers and Brokers are making huge investments to build capacity to deal and comply with regulations, such as RDR, TCF, SAM (Solvency Assessment and Management) and Binders.

The most problematic aspect is that, due to the complexity of the legislative and regulatory reform, the process is taking place over an extended period. During this time, the eventual outcomes may differ markedly from the proposals first initiated.

It creates an industry hiatus, exacerbated by various external influences such as the state of the economy, the political climate, and technological advancements.

Client Centricity is also a definite focus due to the changing demands and needs of our clients who demand better products, better advice, speedier service and more value for money in a way which suits them at a particular moment they chose to interact with their insurer or broker.

The pace of change in technology creates a double-edged sword for those who use it extensively in the delivery of product and service to clients. The danger of large-scale redundancy of systems before they are even finally deployed increases exponentially with the size and diversity of organisations. Those who can deploy flexible technology solutions supporting an agile business structure are more likely to be able to adapt the client experience as client demands and needs change. It includes quicker development and launching of new products and solutions to clients.

What is your advice for newcomers to the industry?

The industry is changing so quickly; there are few other sectors which will be as exciting and challenging to work in as the Insurance sector. Work hard today but always be thinking about and planning for tomorrow.

The Insurance sector is undergoing fundamental change before our very eyes. Client needs are evolving in markedly different ways, and therefore the relevance of historical business models is fast losing its relevance as a basis on which to think about the structures and nature of our future business models and products and services.

In your opinion, what is going to be the biggest game-changer in the industry that will create an insurance revolution?

The obvious answer may be technology – but in reality, changing technology opens or facilitates opportunities to do things differently in a manner which aligns with the changing requirements and needs of our clients.

Companies need to have a far more in-depth understanding of who their clients are, and about their needs and values.The added complexity of the South African insurance market is the diversity of its clients both regarding their financial means but also the generational and societal norms and values which are developing in different ways from the historical approach to understanding one’s clients.

Finally, the biggest threat regarding technology is the sheer pace of it: companies and their products and services can come under threat overnight. So, in essence, the most significant game changer is likely to centre around concepts such as mass customisation, brand authenticity, and speed to market facilitated by the most efficient deployment of relevant technology.

If there was one thing you could have done differently during your term as President, what would it be and why?

With the support of the right team of diverse, passionate and driven team members – probably nothing regarding my approach. Naturally, as the insurance sector needs and requirements evolve, and quickly, the IING needs to find and build on “its right to exist.“

As clients come under pressure, this pressure translates to our members and so it becomes imperative for the IING to have a believable cause in which its stakeholders can align to and continue to support.