Blog articles

Friday, 11 October 2013

Thinking is something that we all do, it’s as natural as breathing, yet I have never seen one job description where the ability to think is a key activity! There are, of course, jobs that require such reflection and we embrace those thought leaders amongst us; we even celebrate them. Yet when the opportunity to do some thinking presents itself to most of us, then thinking is something that either gets squeezed in to or squeezed out of our schedules. To test this theory ask yourself; have you ever had someone who presented you with a problem and your response in needing to “think about it” is a way of putting them off? Thinking takes time...

Friday, 27 September 2013

The beginning of the month saw the annual Rendez-Vous De Septembre reinsurance gathering, traditionally the first major event of the reinsurance conference season that will see regular meetings of the reinsurance market between now and 1 January 2014, in locations as far apart as Baden-Baden, Beijing and Seattle.

Each year since 1957, senior management from brokers, insurers and reinsurers around the world have gathered in the Principality of Monaco, considered by many as neutral territory in the commercial clashes of the reinsurance market, as it has no indigenous insurance or reinsurance industry. This year discussions were...

Friday, 13 September 2013

I have been carrying around with me over the past few days some spare copies of a new ICMIF report Women in Leadership Positions which has just come off the press at ICMIF’s head office. The report is something of a first for ICMIF – and indeed for the insurance industry as a whole, I think - and I’m finding that it is already attracting considerable interest.

The report is based on a survey carried out earlier this year to which women CEOs of ICMIF member firms were invited to contribute. Some research into governance arrangements we did back in 2012 told us that women are taking a much more significant role in the senior...

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Mutuality is a largely unknown concept in South Africa, even amongst English-speakers.  In fact, the local Afrikaans language (and people who have Afrikaans as home language are an important target market for PPS) does not even have an understandable way of explaining what a “mutual insurer” is.

My sense is that my organisation, PPS, grew to where it is today because of its superior life insurance, disability cover, critical illness and sickness benefit product range, with several unique elements that appeal to graduate professionals.  “Mutuals”, “friendly societies” and “cooperatives” are largely seen as either undifferentiated...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The last few months have been strong for me in terms of member engagement, either in terms of meeting the leaders of our member organizations face-to-face or by connecting with them through CEO telephone interviews. During this time I have spoken directly with over 80 ICMIF member organisations. One of the key threads that came through all the meetings was the importance for these leaders of setting and giving strategic direction to the business. There is a general market view that CEOs and senior managers spend too little time on strategic issues, with some commentators quoting as low as 1% of time being spent in this crucial area. I can...

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The last few months have been very intensive in terms of meeting with ICMIF member organisations. It has been both useful and very rewarding as I feel like I know much more about the key issues and challenges on the minds of those leading our member organisations; this, in turn, helps us at ICMIF provide our members with a more bespoke service from the Federation.

Part of my activity engaging with our members has taken the form of interviews with chief executives with over 45 completed since April 2013 (more on this and how we will use the information captured in the interviews will come in my blog next month). The other side has...

Friday, 05 July 2013

As cooperative (and indeed mutual) insurers we exist first-and-foremost to meet the needs of our members. The foundation of the cooperative business model is the seven cooperative principles, engrained in which is the concept of member engagement. Three of the cooperative principles are voluntary membership, economic participation and the underlying goal of further strengthening the cooperative movement and communities and you might think that the members of our organisations would be ready and willing to adopt these principles and act upon them. This would mean that a member engagement program need only provide them with the opportunity...

Friday, 21 June 2013

I am currently in Seoul, South Korea, attending the International Insurance Society Conference, an annual gathering of global insurance leaders that seeks to examine and predict future trends in the insurance industry. I love attending this event every couple of years because it reaffirms my belief that the mutual model should be the only one allowed to operate in the insurance market.

Let me explain my thinking. We have just listened to a session on trust in the insurance industry. The panel was made up of representatives from Allianz, RGA and also Tan Suee Chieh from ICMIF member organisation, NTUC Income, Singapore. I know many...

Thursday, 06 June 2013

The last seven weeks have been frenetic at ICMIF with six of our unique member-only events being held and in addition my team has produced over ten key reports and newsletters. It has been an exciting and empowering time for all the team at ICMIF, particularly when we hear all the great stories and successes being achieved across the world by our members, all of which leave us feeling inspired and full of energy. Both at ICMIF and globally, the enthusiasm for mutuality is very high.

On the subject of energy, I recently announced at the ICMIF Executive Committee that I would commit to running a “half marathon” race in October in aid...

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Like many of you I suppose, the first thing I do each morning is grab a cup of tea or coffee and read my emails…and if I may say so, some with more priority than others. On the morning of 15 May, the first email to really catch my eye was the announcement by the OECD of a brand new and very exciting report entitled ‘International regulatory co-operation – addressing the global challenge’. Equally promising was the explanatory paragraph: ‘The world is becoming increasingly global. This raises important challenges for regulatory processes which still largely emanate from domestic jurisdictions. In order to eliminate unnecessary regulatory...

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