Underwriting career pathway developed by COMMRISK for Learnership graduates

14 October 2013 Sandra Dunn, INSETA
Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of INSETA

Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of INSETA

An Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) pilot learnership has paid huge dividends for both a learner and an employer. This has resulted in a win-win situation for both Mr Phalatse Rangata and a Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) called COMMRISK Insurance Brokers (COMMRISK).

After completing a 12-month learnership programme for SMMEs in 2012, Mr Rangata is now an intern, and a potential permanent employee with COMMRISK. He commends the learnership, in which he acquired an NQF Level 4 qualification.

Ms Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of INSETA says, "It is our vision to train and empower matriculants, who have not received any tertiary education. INSETA provides a monthly stipend to learnership recipients, who gain valuable work experience and then acquire much needed skills for the insurance sector.”

Mr Dave Hill of COMMRISK adds, "As underwriting skills have become rare and thus costly over the past few decades, our company resolved to start a long-term plan of acquiring and developing our own underwriting staff. COMMRISK realised that INSETA’s SMME learnership programme aligned well with our own and decided to use it.”

COMMRISK identified Mr Rangata as a prospective asset to their business and offered him and his colleague, Ms Refilwe Nyathi, internships as in-house underwriters. The process of becoming an underwriter takes five years. Both Mr Rangata and Ms Refilwe Nyathi, shall be offered permanent employment positions upon the completion of their internships. Mr Rangata has been training as an underwriter for a year and a half, and was assigned a mentor who has trained him on COMMRISK’s products.

Mr Rangata believes he was chosen because of his passion for the job. "I showed the hunger to learn. I had at last found something that could improve my situation. I must have impressed the COMMRISK management during the learnership, thus COMMRISK developed a career path for me to follow.”

The last born of five sons, Mr Rangata hails from Botlokwa, Limpopo and says that because of his position at COMMRISK, his future no longer looks bleak. He is happy that he can pay his own rent and more importantly - has a sense of purpose and direction in life. He says that the internship at COMMRISK has taught him the power of service, and knowledge of how the insurance industry operates. He states confidently, "I am loving the job.”

Mr Rangata was also afforded the opportunity to study the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) Programme in insurance, funded by COMMRISK. The company has been extremely supportive and helped him pass the Regulatory Exam by offering him extra classes.

Mr Rangata adds that his delighted family would not have accepted him moving to Johannesburg and then returning home without a qualification. However, thanks to COMMRISK and INSETA, Mr Rangata’s potential is being utilised and nurtured.

After his five years of training, Mr Rangata hopes to become a broker. As underwriting skills are wanting in the insurance industry, COMMRISK feels that they have made a valuable investment in the company by retaining him. "We now have a competent underwriter who not only fits with our company but also has lots of potential.” Mr Dave Hill, of COMMRISK stated.

Although not all of the learners are retained by the companies when they complete their learnerships, they have a high success rate as most go on to find jobs in other companies and are at least prepared for the market place.

The INSETA (Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority) aims to expand the pool and quality of scarce and valuable skills in the insurance sector in South Africa, thereby enriching and assisting the growth of a diverse workforce.

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