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Ongoing support of the intermediary

14 August 2019 Myra Knoesen
Lizelle van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA)

Lizelle van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA)

At the beginning of August, the industry gathered at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton for one of the yearly social highlights in the financial services calendar, the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Intermediary Experience Awards.

The night celebrated the successes of the past 12 months and honored the product suppliers who meet the service expectations of intermediaries in the FIA Intermediary Experience Awards survey.

Key focus areas

The FIA once again partnered with Ask Afrika, an independent research company to conduct the FIA Intermediary Experience Awards survey. FAnews spoke to Sarina de Beer, Managing Director at Ask Afrika, about the process and the key focus areas of the survey this year.

“The FIA Awards survey provides a platform for all FIA members to share their feedback on how industry suppliers can better help them service the end client, to enable mutually beneficial progress in the industry,” said de Beer. 

“The survey methodology stayed similar to previous years, but some slight amendments to the instrument are made, to ensure it stays relevant. However, the award allocation is not affected by these changes. Feedback sessions with product suppliers and intermediaries are held every year. Using the feedback from the intermediaries and product suppliers in the industry, Ask Afrika created the ‘FIA Intermediary Experience Awards Pillar’ framework to visually display how FIA members perceive their experiences with regards to the awards pillars. This year the ranking and diagnostic questionnaire was also combined to create a holistic view for product suppliers of what is crucial for them in each service experience dimension,” continued de Beer. 

“A unique survey link is created for each FIA member, based on the FIA database shared before fieldwork, which means that the links are only available to FIA members. An online survey is distributed to all FIA members via an online email invitation. To ensure the award’s survey is progressive and relevant, each year the survey and processes are relooked at from an intermediary and product supplier point of view to ensure relevancy, but most importantly to serve as an enabler for the industry,” added de Beer. 

“Consistently over the last three years, approximately 15% of the total FIA membership have taken part in the survey, a good response rate in business-to-business research,” concluded de Beer. 

Top runners in the industry

After months of speculation, much input from members and a robust survey by AskAfrika, the winners were officially announced recently. FAnews spoke to the winners about what winning these awards means to them.

“Hollard Insure’s FIA Experience Awards success is testament to the ongoing efforts to provide its intermediaries with better service and support. Intermediaries are part of our DNA, and access to executives and senior staff is part of the deal. Our long-standing, broker-facing business model enables us to foster these relationships and we believe these awards indicate very strongly that intermediaries approve of and support our approach. Louder than ever now, can we proclaim our mantra of the past two years: #LongLiveTheBroker,” said Willie Lategan, CEO at Hollard Insure. 

“We have worked hard on our commercial offering and are delighted that it has been recognised as the best of the best by the FIA. We have successfully managed to strike the balance between tradition and innovation, focusing on continually providing world class service and advice to our customers and broker partners. This award is proof that when there is collaboration and teamwork, incredible things can be achieved,” said Alex Terblanche, Head of Business Insurance at Auto & General. 

“It is a singular honour to be included in such esteemed company, the other finalists being the leading and second largest insurers in the industry. Renasa has a well-defined strategy, to put its intermediaries in a position to outcompete their competitors. Renasa remains dedicated to the intermediated channel and will continue to provide the tools to achieve disciplined pricing and claims control,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer of Renasa Insurance Company Limited. 

“We are grateful for the awards and humbled by the trust and confidence it implies in us.

Our focus is to create long term wealth for our clients. To achieve this, we work hard to ensure we can deliver a consistently excellent level of service – to financial advisers and clients. We hope to build trust and confidence with each interaction, to make sure that clients understand our investment philosophy and process and how we tend to perform during different market cycles,” said Tamryn Lamb, Head of Retail Distribution at Allan Gray. 

“We are humbled to have been nominated as finalists in all three short term insurance categories and pleased with the award as joint winner in the corporate category. Throughout our 101 years of offering insurance good and proper, the role of our intermediary partners has remained crucial, and we have seen first-hand how their expert advice has transformed the lives and businesses of clients. They are the ‘glue’ that connects us to our clients in a meaningful way and are at the heart of Santam’s business model,” said Quinten Matthew, Executive Head of Specialist Business at Santam. 

“It is a privilege for Medihelp to have been recognised by the FIA. Medihelp has high regard for the role of advisers in ensuring appropriate and responsible advice and we are committed to continue developing sound products, backed by professional support. Medihelp believes in consistency, delivering sustainable healthcare solutions, fostering a supportive relationship with advisers and living up to our promises. We are acutely aware of our stakeholders’ needs and we believe that it has played a definite role in what we have achieved thus far,” said Heyn van Rooyen, Principal Officer of Medihelp.

"Liberty Group won in two categories at this years' FIA awards ceremony; taking home the Life and Risk and Employee Benefits categories. These awards are a great milestone and positive recognition that Liberty owes to the continuous delivery of exceptional products, solutions and services to our customers and the industry, through our advisory partners. We are continuously at work to ensure that our partners have the right tools and resources that enable and allow them to deliver to their clients. This win is truly for them," said Johan Minnie, Liberty's Executive for Customer & Adviser Experience.

What does it take to win recognition?

“The awards, currently in their 21st year, are an acknowledgement of those product suppliers who invest in the pillars as defined by intermediaries. The pillars are an indication of what our members regard as important in their business relationship with their product suppliers. They include product quality, service quality, the quality of the relationship, the degree to which the supplier treats customers fairly, complaint resolution efficiency, trust, and the extent to which the supplier enables the intermediary’s business. To win an award is not only about paying claims, but also about the service they provide, the quality of their relationship with the intermediary, and the supplier’s willingness to engage and support the intermediary to underwrite the client fairly, correctly and to provide the best value,” said Lizelle van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA).

“The awards help the product providers to understand the service expectations of the intermediary (based on the pillars above), with an end objective in mind, which is to deliver on good outcomes for their mutual customers,” added van der Merwe. 

“The finalists have performed exceptionally well this year. We want to thank the finalists for their ongoing support of the intermediary. As a result of increased regulations, product providers typically focus much of their attention on the consumer rather than on intermediaries. However, providers who continue to service the intermediary with excellence, will benefit from a more educated consumer who understands the value of financial risk, risk management and personal service. Companies which are repeat recipients of these awards are particularly deserving of this year’s accolades. The FIA thanks these companies for their ongoing focus on service excellence and commitment to the intermediary, particularly given the current economic challenges,” concluded van der Merwe. 

Editor’s thoughts:
FAnews wishes to congratulate all the winners on an outstanding achievement. As van der Merwe mentioned, the awards help the product providers to understand the service expectations of the intermediary, with an end objective in mind, which is to deliver on good outcomes for their mutual customers. Do you believe providers who continue to service the intermediary with excellence, will benefit from a more educated consumer? Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts myra@fanews.co.za

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