For the fourth year in a row, ACORD was a gold level sponsor at the Insurance Conference in Sun City, South Africa. The conference is jointly sponsored by the IISA (Insurance Institute of South Africa), FIA (Financial Intermediaries Association) and SAIA (South African Insurance Association). The conference has grown every year to date; this year, 1200 attendees from 28 countries came together to be at Africa’s premiere insurance event.
Alan Stitzer, ACORD’s Director of Global Development, stated, “I’ve been coming to this conference for four years now, and it’s amazing what the conference organizers have done over the years. The event keeps getting better and better, and ACORD is pleased to continue to be a part of it.”
ACORD has played an integral part in the insurance industry in this region. We have had an active presence there for the past 7 years in the short term (P&C) market, and closer to 15 years in the life insurance market. ACORD has excellent relationships with the broker and insurance company organizations as well as the government. Mr. Stitzer stated, “I am really impressed with the total and unwavering commitment of this market to ACORD standards. The FSB (Financial Services Board) has stated on numerous occasions that companies that use the Short Term Standard are in compliance with their binder regulations.”
ACORD and its members (both local and global) have taken this market from one with no insurance data to a market that has embraced the standards, the process and the discipline of using them. With the African continent being the next big thing, ACORD having a presence in South Africa positions ACORD and our standards to grow with the continent.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Risky Business.” Each of the speakers, including Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale, Dr. Andreas Shell (Allianz Global) and Rachelle Best (AIG), focused their sessions on the changing African economy.
The messages from these sessions were very similar: Africa is an evolving continent and the businesses must adapt with the changes. Another very important point brought up by Paul Nkhoma (Hollard Zambia) was that Africa is NOT one nation; it is a series of different countries that have to be treated, analyzed and rated as separate entities. It was a common theme that the country to be concentrated on most in the coming years is Ghana.
Along those same lines of treating each nation on its own merit, many of the speakers stressed the word “partner” when doing business. Times are changing and not all business relationships can be strictly that. Customers are expecting more, and those that can deliver that “more” will be the ones to survive.
There were also numerous sessions on the value of the broker in the South Africa market. With new regulations coming through from the FSB involving Retail Distribution Review (RDR), the brokers are making their case for caution in changing the fee structures in South Africa.
All in all, it was a very successful conference for ACORD once more. John Bissell, ACORD’s Senior VP of Global Operations, stated, “This was an excellent forum which openly discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the short term insurance market in the region.”