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The FIA International Insurance Leaders Forum: moving towards professionalism

16 April 2008 FIA

The Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) recently hosted the Council of International Insurance Brokers Association (CIIBA) conference at Sun City. As a means of “giving back” to its members, the FIA went on to use this opportunity to additionally motivate intermediaries to continue “moving towards professionalism” through its International Insurance Leaders Forum. Attended by 200 well-placed members of the local and international insurance and financial industries, the forum provided members with the perfect platform to network, familiarise themselves with global issues and voice their views on recent developments in the industry.

Justus van Pletzen, CEO: FIA, says that as a member of the World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (WFII) and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), FIA is ideally placed to make an active contribution to the development of professionalism within the insurance industry. “The fact that intermediaries are represented internationally is a significant one. It means that we can become more proactive not only in terms of regulation, but also when it comes to acting on behalf of the consumer. This type of leadership forum is thus critical for our members.”

While professionalism will always be an industry priority, Van Pletzen reiterates that the effort towards this must be collective and consistent, “Professionalism can mean a variety of things. This is why we invited a number of experts to address our members – dealing with both what constitutes professionalism, and providing concrete advice as to how to become more professional.”

Professionalism stands in stark contrast to previous perceptions of the insurance industry, with brokers and intermediaries often being regarded as nothing more than glorified salesmen. “That view has changed – thanks to the consistent value we’re seeing intermediaries add in terms of educating and advising their clients. In order to raise the bar even further however, we have to maintain a strict focus on our speed of delivery, accuracy and efficiency. Professionalism thus has everything to do with how you get the job done.”

With positive feedback received from delegates and presenters, the full effects of the conference and its focus on professionalism are already being felt by numerous other beneficiaries – consumers. By prioritising professionalism within the insurance industry, the FIA has proved its commitment to both its members and the clients they serve, and looks set to continue making an impact both locally and internationally.

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