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2015 ACORD Forum Southern Africa

ACORD Forum Southern Africa took place on July 23 at the Fire and Ice! Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. This year marked a new location, new format and record attendance! Following the lead of ACORD Forum Asia, this year’s event combined general sessions as well as more intimate roundtable sessions focusing on specific areas of interest. The roundtables each had a discussion leader who ensured the attendees got what they wanted from the individual sessions. Feedback was shared with the whole group later in the day.

ACORD would like to acknowledge all of the sponsors for this event: MIP Holdings (Headline Sponsor); Mutual and Federal (Partner Sponsor); and Cover, RiskSA and FANews (Media Sponsors). Thank you very much for your support of ACORD Forum Southern Africa!

The Forum this year was also highlighted by ACORD Chairman of the Board John Leonard and Senior VP of Global Operations John Bissell. The two executives opened the Forum by talking about ACORD’s history and growth over time to where we are now, and plans for ACORD’s future not only in this market, but on a global scale. The sessions delivered by Mr. Leonard and Mr. Bissell employed not just the traditional PowerPoint, but also a memorable storytelling technique which captured the audience’s attention and made them more engaged.

Following those presentations, Deon Olckers (STRIDE), Jacque Rossouw (Astute) and Alan Stitzer (ACORD) provided the attendees with status updates as they related to the long and short term markets.

Ms. Kim Ikel and Mr. Pieter Prinsloo (KimCoach) then presented a session on “Marketing the Value of IT.”  This session was also presented to members of the Australian Community earlier this year and drew rave reviews. The presentation will be available on the event website on the speaker page.

These sessions brought the Forum to the first set of roundtable discussions. Attendees broke into groups discussing the Life Insurance Standard, the ACORD Reference Architecture, mapping companies’ data to the ACORD standard, and a table for people who wanted more detailed information about “Marketing the Value of IT.”

The final morning session was given by Farzana Badat, the FSB’s Head of the Insurance Compliance Department.  Ms. Badat provided the Forum attendees with clear, concise direction on what the FSB was expecting to get from the brokers and insurers. As a matter of fact, STRIDE tweeted that Ms. Badat’s session was the best FSB session they’d seen!

Justus Van Pletzen and Barry Taylor from the FIA spoke to the group about the New Regulatory Environment. Mr. Taylor focused on the FIA’s view on many of the points from Ms. Badat’s presentation earlier in the day.

Next up was Jamie Macgregor from Celent. This was a last-minute addition to the agenda; Mr. Macgregor had done a similar presentation in London two weeks earlier, and it just so happened that he was going to be in Johannesburg at the same time as the Forum. The session was entitled “Insurance, Digitization and Bubbles: An Update on the Latest Technology Trends Facing the Insurance Industry.” Mr. Macgregor presented some very interesting facts about technology, where it was headed and ways to embrace the change.

The final general session of the day was given by Marcel Wood, Head of Risk Improvement Services, Hollard. He spoke about risk management, and how to make the life of the consumer easier. Mr. Wood presented some simple things that can be done by the consumer to help lessen policy premiums. Each of the things he mentioned was, in truth, cheap, but the safety resulting from that little investment could save lives and could help prevent losses.

The day ended with some more roundtable discussions. The afternoon sessions covered the ACORD Reference Architecture, the Insurance System Provider Forum, and real-time implementation.

Preliminary feedback from the event was very positive, with most people stating that the roundtable discussions were unique and a very good addition to the event. To see the tweets sent during the show, you can search Twitter for the hashtag #AFSA2015.