The Insurance Apprentice winner in the hot seat one last time

The final episode of the Insurance Apprentice Season 2 recently aired on Youtube to wide acclaim from industry insiders. GIFS, one of the sponsors of the show, sat down with the finalists to talk insurance and what the industry can offer young South Africans. First in the hot seat, this year’s winner Amogelang Kgaladi.

GIFS: With all the uncertainty around the world at the moment, how do you see the younger generation in insurance playing a role in the future success of the industry?

Amo: I think the dynamism, agility, and the innovative nature of young individuals will be important for the industry. The external environment that impacts the insurance industry is changing at such a rapid pace that those failing to adapt will be left behind. We are seeing it already with platforms like Root that are adopting the platform business model similar to the likes of Spotify, Apple, and Android, and companies like Pineapple, which were all started by young individuals. We need this innovativeness to permeate across the industry.

GIFS: What are the skills required to be successful in insurance at present?

Amo: You will need a fine balance between technical ability, critical and strategic thinking, and not only to thrive in the insurance industry but to succeed in your career in general.

The rapid change we are observing means you can no longer be at the extremes of the spectrum. I recently read an article in BCG saying that people should refocus on tasks that add the most value, including strategically monitoring model inputs and outputs, and engaging in holistic decision-making that considers second-order implications.

This speaks to one’s ability to understand the technical and analytical elements enough to then discern the information and provide strategic insights to the organisation. This especially important given the 4th Industrial Revolution, where even if Artificial Intelligence becomes part of our daily lives, we are still able to provide human contextualisation so often needed.

GIFS: Advice to other youngsters that want to start a career in insurance?

Amo: Young individuals entering the insurance industry should seek out individuals that have walked a similar journey to them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and seek guidance from these professionals. A career is not an individual sprint, there will be many individuals who provide opportunities for you and provide guidance. I don’t think you can walk it alone. Young graduates should be inquisitive and take initiative in their new roles but should also not be scared to ask questions or fail – it is in failing that we learn our most valuable lessons.

GIFS: What has been the one key take-away from your experience in the Insurance Apprentice?

Amo: Any young insurance professional who seeks to stretch and challenge themselves should look to apply for entry. The platform allows you to engage with professionals from various backgrounds and removes the one-dimensionality that we sometimes have, given our fixation to our line of work.

The show also provides an opportunity to learn about various other elements of the industry and assists with the development of skills, such as emotional intelligence, creative thinking, problem-solving, and working under pressure.

Anyone who wants to enter the competition, be the best and most genuine version of yourself; you must be able to distill large amounts of information in a short space of time while delivering outputs in a concise and impactful manner. Most importantly, have fun! This may be the only chance of being in a reality show.

GIFS: Any words to the judges?

Amo: When you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life you can never get back… We are eternally grateful to the judges for their contribution in making the show the success it has become. They are contributing to the development of future leaders and they can take much pride in that.

GIFS: The role of mentorship in carving a successful career?

Amo: There is no need to reinvent the wheel thus having a mentor that has walked your journey provides such valuable insights and guidance and helps one avoid what are sometimes the glaring mistakes. I do however think that to derive immense value from mentorship one should have an outline of what their expectations are from the mentorship and what they need to do to derive value and also provide value to the relationship.

GIFS: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Amo: As an executive of an insurance company. One who can provide products that provide a safety net to the financially vulnerable, who suffer the greatest harm when any peril occurs. The recovery from that loss takes the financially vulnerable so much longer to recover, yet, the penetration levels remain stubbornly low in that segment. It is up to us to identify how we better need to position insurance for that segment so it makes sense in that context.

GIFS: Highlight from the Insurance Apprentice season?

Amo: The ability to interact and learn from an amazing group of individuals, each one is unique in their own right. The diversity in thought and approach will be something I take with me for a long time because we need to realise that there is no one approach to solving problems, and putting our heads together will hopefully deliver a much better solution to the challenges in society, and the industry as a whole.

GIFS: Challenges in insurance? The role of the new generation in overcoming these challenges?

Amo: I alluded to it earlier, that being able to provide contextualised insurance products to the financially vulnerable, and the other being able to meet the risk of disruption, especially from some of the big platforms, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, among others.

We are seeing how they are making a play at other industries in the financial sectors, including payment services and banking due to their massive numbers. It’s only a matter of time before they utilise those numbers to further enter the insurance industry. We, therefore, need to as an industry constantly be at the fore of driving innovation and providing contextual solutions to clients to build long-lasting relationships.

GIFS: Insurance as a career choice? Still happy?

Amo: It is through my journey in the insurance industry that I can respond as the Insurance Apprentice winner today, a highlight that I will always cherish. I think also during these COVID-19 times, having been able to see how much value our life insurance company has added to the lives of individuals, especially given the retrenchments observed across the country, has given me hope. I can only imagine what it has done to the lives of the beneficiaries.