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Celebrating 30 years of excellence

18 February 2015 Myra Rego
Dave Honeyman and Simon Colman at the SHA 30th birthday celebration.

Dave Honeyman and Simon Colman at the SHA 30th birthday celebration.

Gary Corke - CEO of SHA Specialist Underwriters

Gary Corke - CEO of SHA Specialist Underwriters

Thirty years ago, Tony Stalker and Angus Hutchison started what would eventually become Africa's largest and oldest specialist Underwriting Managing Agency (UMA), offering the widest range of products and underwriting capacity of up to one billion Rand on selected risks

In celebrating 30 years of excellence, FAnews caught up with Stalker Hutchison Admiral (SHA) members Simon Colman, Underwriting Executive, and Dave Honeyman, Executive Head, to discuss what made and continues to make the company what it is today.

SHA through the years 

Stalker Hutchison & Associates was founded in 1985 by Angus Hutchison and Tony Stalker as a local Broad Form Liability alternative to the Lloyd’s of London market

By the year 2000, the group had collectively reached a premium income of R200 million. The SHA family had grown to 70 staff and the Santam partnership was born. In 2005 the group rebranded as SHA. Staff members grew and the premium income reached R700 million. In 2008, a merger with the Admiral Underwriting Group gave birth to the current entity Stalker Hutchison Admiral (Pty) Ltd (SHA), wholly-owned subsidiary of Santam.

Gary Corke is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SHA. The year 2013 brought the dawn of a new SHA and a relaunch of the company values. In 2015 SHA is as vibrant and as focused as ever.

SHA is a people centric organisation striving to grow profitably with new and existing products and markets, whilst embracing the history, culture and entrepreneurial flair that brought the company to where it is today. 

“We strive for continued success through excellence, expertise and vision. At SHA the values we believe in are strongly ingrained in our working culture. We believe in acting with integrity, professionalism, fairness, inspiration and loyalty in everything we do, to benefit our shareholders, colleagues and clients,” said Colman.

“We specialise in tailor-making insurance solutions to fit every client’s individual needs. Our product offerings vary and are adapted specifically for larger corporates, or smaller companies who may have specialised needs not catered for by other insurers,” said Honeyman. 

Work hard play hard 

What makes SHA truly unique is the workplace culture that encourages innovation and a healthy disregard for the impossible. “What it is really, is the people known as the ‘SHAndukians’ at SHA that make the company what it is today. SHA believes that happy healthy employees are the best employees,” says Colman. 

When FAnews visited the SHA office it was clear that the office is designed to encourage interactions between the 135 staff members within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as well as play. All work, no play is definitely not a part of SHA’s culture. With a canteen fully decked out in vibrant furnishings, staff have access to a pool table in which compulsory competitions amongst all staff members take place. 

Filled with memorabilia of the team’s charitable initiatives and fun social events, the room acts as an ice breaker amongst staff in which each and every member gets to take part in an exciting activity. 

There are wonderful ‘SHAndukians’ at SHA; superb minds, great intellects, brilliant visionaries, committed leaders and hardworking, loyal staff. 

Corporate social responsibility

The team at SHA also have intellectual and creative passion to profoundly impact and influence the environment and those affected by it, by supporting various charities and initiatives identified by the staff. SHA’s CSI team, a.k.a the SH-A TEAM strive to make a real, sustainable difference where it is needed and are in the field on a monthly basis helping wherever they can.

Looking back on some of the initiatives, SHA participated in the 702 Walk the Talk and took part in the SHAvathon and raised R12 750 for Cancer awareness.

On 18 July 2014 a busload of excited, energetic SHA staff members left the Illovo Office in the SHA-Mobile to embark on yet another adventure that would impact their lives forever at the Matshediso School for the disabled, to beautify the school and build a jungle gym for the pupils.

SHA also supports educational initiatives and is one of the sponsors for the industry’s very first Insurance Apprentice in which six young industry representatives are given a chance to test their skills and knowledge. One of the six participants in The Insurance Apprentice, Mopedi Melato (also a SHAndukian) made SHA very proud during the competition.

Looking ahead

According to Colman and Honeyman, brokers are a serious focus of the business. “The next best thing to grow the business is to go all out to different brokers. The challenge however, is to educate them to sell our products to clients. We are currently working on an online risk mitigation system that will make it easier for brokers to transmit information to easily assist clients,” said Colman.

“Communication with our brokers is critical, and that is why we have a defined strategy to ensure that we see as many brokers as we can in as many towns as we can,” concluded Honeyman.

The talent the organisation has at its disposal thirty years later is incredible and with the above said, the years ahead look promising for SHA.

SHA’s 30th Birthday Staff Commemorative Album 1985 to 2010 - The Early Years- can be viewed here
and photos of the function held yesterday can be viewed here.

Editor’s Thoughts:
Looking back at SHA through the years, it is evident that the company’s vision, expertise and excellence have contributed majorly to where it is today. The culture at the office, and the vibrant nature and characteristics of the ‘SHAndukians’ make SHA stand out that much more amongst its competitiors. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts myra@fanews.co.za

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