One’s first overseas trip is always a special experience. When it’s to go on the IIG International, as it was for Ryno de Kock, it’s unforgettable.
Ryno, who works for Discovery, won his Fulcrum-sponsored spot on the IIG International, an initiative of the Insurance Institute of Gauteng (IIG), at a training session offered by the provincial insurance body.
“This was my first time overseas, so it was genuinely a privilege,” says Ryno. “And it was awesome!”
This year’s group, which included Fulcrum’s Sandra Snowball, visited Hong Kong and Singapore between 12-20 September. There they got to see big-time insurance action, visiting the likes of AON, AIG, AIA Group, Guy Carpenter, Lloyd’s, Allianz, Munich Re, InsurTech Asia, and SwissRe, as well as the Singapore Insurance Institute, Norton Rose Fulbright and S&P Global Ratings.
“It was fantastic to meet all these companies,” enthuses Ryno. “A highlight was the networking in our group, which is a fantastic group of people.”
Ryno found unfamiliar insurance territory, but what made a stronger impression on him was the familiarity of other things, such as employers’ liability and natural disasters. He says, “The thing that stood out is that a lot of the challenges [in Asia] are not foreign to those we have.”
What also impressed him is that South African insurance companies are up to international standards in their systems and technology, and in some cases are ahead of the curve. For example, he said, AIG is testing telematics and driver behaviour, which has been “very successfully” in use here for several years already.
On the other hand, South African insurers don’t yet offer cellphone-based claims, in which policyholders submit videos for processing, but Ryno predicts that “that’s definitely a solution that we’ll still see here”.
What also stood out for Ryno, in Singapore in particular, was the efficiency of the workforces he encountered. “You get the feeling that people are doing work.”
Ryno is pleased to note that South Africa’s regulatory regime is “quite advanced”, while Hong Kong and Singapore are by comparison “at the starting point”.
But it wasn’t all work and the group managed to get in quite a few leisure activities, including sightseeing, shopping and a sailing trip aboard the famous junk-rigged boat Aqua Luna in Hong Kong, as well as the Singapore Grand Prix – where the group was, once again, close to the action.
Ryno and the group packed a lot into their short trip – but he says he appreciates every moment.
“I am eternally grateful to Fulcrum. It was a fantastic trip in every way; it really was a trip and experience of a lifetime,” he says.