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SAIA recognises Financial Sector Charter achievers

31 January 2007 South African Insurance Association

The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) held its first ever Financial Sector Charter Awards Dinner on 30 January 2007.  According to Ms Leila Moonda of the SAIA, the aim of this awards ceremony was to recognise some excellent efforts and achievements in the short-term insurance industry's (as part of the broader financial services sector's) quest to create a financial services sector that "reflects the demographics of South Africa and contributes to the establishment of an equitable society by effectively providing accessible financial services to black people and by directing investment into targeted sectors of the economy" (as quoted directly from the Financial Sector Charter).  Ms Moonda added that the theme of the event, Odyssey, is a depiction of the fact that this is a journey that was embarked on by the SAIA and its members together with the rest of the financial services sector, a journey with many challenges, and a journey that initiated growth and understanding amongst those who find themselves on it. 

"The Financial Sector Charter is still one of the most significant change factors of the financial services industry today, and will remain so for many years to come.  The Charter is an important obligation of all role players in the financial services sector.  The fact that we are here today to reward SAIA members for their initiatives in the Charter space shows that SAIA is taking this obligation seriously," said Principal Officer of the Charter Council, Enoch Godongwana, in his keynote speech at the dinner held in Johannesburg.    SAIA represents the short-term insurance industry in South Africa.

Mr Godongwana said that the financial sector was in the fourth year of a 10 year transformation cycle and that the first Charter Council review on progress, that was published at the end of 2006, provided lessons and experiences for the future direction of the financial sector transformation. He added that the sector will build on its successes and learn from any shortcomings.

"SAIA was committed to the Financial Sector Charter process from the very beginning," said Chairperson of the SAIA Board Mr Adam Samie at this event. "The SAIA was a member of the Core Negotiating Group responsible for drafting the Charter and, through Mr. Ronnie Napier was the first Chairperson of the Charter Council Board. In addition, the SAIA jointly with the Banking Association formed the Interim Secretariat of the Charter Council, and continues to be involved at all levels."

Some of the highlights of SAIAs efforts with regards to transforming the sector were showcased in a presentation by SAIA Transformation Manager Ms Leila Moonda. These highlights included SAIAs FSC Consumer Education Initiative that has successfully been running for two years and will continue in the future, the development of a prototype short-term insurance policy aimed at the low income market as specified by Charter access requirements (Mzansi Insurance), as well as the proposed SAIA initiative to launch an industry enterprise development initiative.

The winners of the awards were:

 In the 'Logbook' category for the most complete and best presented report to the Charter Council submitted in the sector, the winner was Hollard Insurance.
 The 'All hands on deck' award for the SAIA committee that went beyond the call of duty was awarded to the SAIA Motor Supply Transformation Task Team.
 In the 'Pioneer' category, Santam walked away with the award as the first company that brought a charter designed product to the market.
 Two special 'Helmsman' awards were awarded to two special individuals who had shown outstanding commitment to the implementation of the Financial Sector Charter.  The two people who received these awards were both from Mutual & Federal, and they were Gary Benton (Group Secretary) and Michael McCann (Regional Manager).

"The South African Insurance Association thanks all its members for their dedication and commitment to the Financial Sector Charter process.  We particularly thank the winners of our first ever recognition awards for their special efforts.  With performances like these, this journey could only be a successful one," said Mr Samie.

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