MEDIA RELEASE: Fast-tracking digital change in the STI sector

New programme fast-tracks digital change within the Short-Term Insurance industry

Johannesburg: A ground-breaking education initiative is underway to accelerate digital transformation within South Africa’s Short-Term Insurance (STI) industry. The IST Graduate Programme 2021 is an innovative, agile response to the current digital-first reality.

Powered by the Graduate Institute of Financial Sciences (GIFS), the Insurance Institute of Gauteng (IIG), and SASRIA SOC Ltd., the STI industry immersion programme is the first of its kind in Africa. It introduces young tech experts to the intricacies of the Short-Term Insurance space as well as its unique challenges and requirements so they can quickly and viably harvest technology to implement tech-enabled solutions.

More than 100 IST graduates applied for the 25 available learner positions. The successful candidates began the programme in May, being guided and mentored by some of the STI’s foremost specialists and corporate leaders. They are also being empowered with critical skills and competencies that include EQ skills development, self-mastery, emotional fitness and a winning mind-set, communications bootcamps, establishing a healthy work-life balance and stress-coping techniques.

“The IST Graduate Programme 2021 is designed to accelerate change to bring the Short-Term Insurance industry in line with the extraordinary tech-driven transformations that are currently driving global business,” explains Dr Kershen Pillay, CEO of the Graduate Institute of Financial Sciences (GIFS). “It’s a digital renaissance accelerator programme that includes interactive micro-learning sessions with STI subject matter specialists, guided mentorship sessions with the industry’s Corporate Athletes and a strong focus on developing and refining an EQ skills-set among participants. It’s exactly the future-fit approach that the STI space needs right now.”

Addressing the switch in consumer needs and behaviour in favour of quick, digital, on-demand service and tailored solutions calls for an agile yet structured response from the STI sector. The IST Graduate Programme 2021 combines tech, tools, and specialised teams to co-create thriving, digitally enabled futures.

“Technology has undoubtedly allowed for innovation in many local and global industries in various ways and insurance is no exception” says Tshepiso Chocho, President of the Insurance Institute of Gauteng (IIG) and Executive Manager for People Management at SASRIA SOC Ltd. “A great deal of efficiencies can be brought about within the Short-Term Insurance industry if we harness the full potential of the IT space. We can see technology allowing for innovation in the development of new products, more efficient client servicing through digitalized client experience, operational efficiencies, assisting clients with risk management and improved claims management solutions to name a few. We are now able to underwrite risks better and look into covers not traditionally which increases our relevance as an industry in today’s business environment.”

The programme is infused with immersive guided learning experiences. Some of the most distinctive minds in the Short-Term Insurance space have committed to mentoring participants. “The holistic learning approach in the IST Graduate Programme is welcomed in this era where the demand is greater for generalists rather than specialists,” explains Micky Maharaj, Chief Operating Officer at OUTsurance Shared Services, who is one of three extraordinary Corporate Athletes – pioneers, innovators and trendsetters in the STI space – who are tapping into their experience and expertise to nurture young talent, instill a corporate athlete mindset and support personal and professional development. Maharaj is joined by Christelle Colman, Managing Director at Elite Risk and Simon Colman, Business Head of Digital and Financial lines at SHA Risk Specialists within the specialist business unit at Santam.

Industry experts who lead the programme’s skills transference and specialist insights segment include Vidhu Maharaj, Business Architect at Discovery Insure, Christopher Appanah, Litigation and CVU Manager at Bryte Insurance Company, Gerald van Wyk, Executive Head: Market Development at Santam, Jan Schubart, Director of the Institute of Loss Adjusters, and Frank Harpur, Managing Director of Firedart.

The IST Graduate Programme 2021 began on 28 May 2021 and will end on 14 December 2021. Further information is available at For interviews with Dr Kershen Pillay, CEO of the Graduate Institute of Financial Sciences (GIFS) and/or Tshepiso Choco, President of the Insurance Institute of Gauteng (IIG) and Executive Manager for People Management at SASRIA SOC Ltd, please mail [email protected].

28 July 2021