Meet Lindsay Evard, president of the IICoGH

This week we meet Lindsay Evard, president of the Insurance Institute of the Cape of Good Hope (IICoGH), who tells us about her association, what it is doing and the challenges it faces. (Lindsay's profile follows on those of Vanitha Kalicharan of the IIKZN, Lorraine Lucas of the IIB,  Gerald van Wyk of the IIG, Clare Gelderblom of the DII and Donna Müller of the AWII.)

IICoGH president Lindsay Evard.
IICoGH president Lindsay Evard.

Tell us a little about yourself, and your career so far in the insurance industry.

When my aspirations to be a chef as a school leaver were abandoned, I found myself writing MVA coupons for Commercial Union way back in the day of telexes and typewriters. Having recently having received my long service award for 30 years in the short-term insurance industry, I can say I have “been around the block” a few times. I believe insurance is my destiny, and it has always been very fulfilling personally and professionally, and I am very proud of the industry I represent.

I am a wife and mother with a passion for running (very far ...) and I endeavour to live life by the adage, “Love what you do, and do what you love.”

How did you become involved in your insurance institute? What does it mean to you, to play a part in furthering your profession?

Having observed IICoGH for many years I always felt I would like to be part of the “mechanics” of our representative body, and in 2013 it was time to be closer to the heart of our Industry.

I did not “sign up” as a council member with aspirations to one day fulfil the role of president, but after two years under the leadership and guidance of our president and deputy at the time, I found myself inspired and motivated to alter my personal journey as a council member. I am very honoured and privileged to be wearing the “gong” of honour of the oldest insurance institute in South Africa.

There is a strong belief that the industry needs to entice more young people into choosing insurance as a career. What do you see as your – and your institute's – role in this regard?

Often it seems that our youth is forgotten, when they are tomorrow’s leaders, and we can learn so much from each other. As a council this is something we have been very mindful of over the past two years, and we have huge new focus on our youth. Exciting developments that will extend beyond our industry will be shared soon.

Often professions in the financial sector, such as insurance and banking, seem to offer very little to attract our youth to pursue such careers. But each one of us, young or old, and through bodies such as the IICoGH, are the ambassadors for our industry. We believe we can be examples to many, that our industry is exciting, rewarding and one worth pursuing.

As ambassadors we encourage the youth to be curious and learn as much as possible about the insurance market, the importance of reputation and building one's networks, and to develop oneself through networks, mentors and sponsors.

What opportunities does your institute offer its members for networking, learning and self-improvement? And is there anything that you’d like to add or change?

Over the past two years, in addition to the great networking platform that we are, we have seen a new direction for our body, various changes to portfolios, increased social media presence, continued support for charity initiatives, and engaging with market leaders on what is expected from us as a council and body. But above all has been our focus and shift on education, with emphasis on reaching our entire Western Cape region.

Looking forward, there will be more new and exciting developments for our members here, in addition to our current education seminars that we host throughout the year. Keep tuned on social media and our website to see what’s in store.

A further focus is getting closer to our fellow bodies and peer institutes around South Africa. We work in close association with IISA, ILA, FIA and the AWII to ensure all of our members needs are being met. Maybe one day we will all be one ...?!

An example of this collaboration was at the end of 2016, the IICoGH council had a strategy session that was facilitated by the newly elected IIG president, Gerald van Wyk. He shared valuable insights into the IIG’s transformation journey, many of which we plan to adopt and implement in our local council with the IIG's continued guidance and support.

What challenges does your institute face, and how do you intend to address them during your term?

One of the biggest challenges we face is member involvement with the institute and we believe that through increasing our value proposition, working with fellow bodies and being truly relevant to our members, we can change this.

Our task at hand is for members to see that IICoGH belongs to them, and the opportunity for personal growth, interaction, sharing ideas and knowledge is at their fingertips. We are here to serve and connect members within the industry.

Where do you see insurance going in the next few years – what will disrupt it, what will change, what will stay the same?

Change is constant and needed, there will always be disruptors and we are grateful to them, otherwise life would be very uninteresting. Companies will continue to look to innovate, reduce costs and improve efficiencies, and I believe this can only be better for all.

How we do insurance is going to be very different in the next few years. Climate change, cyber-attacks, self-driving vehicles, the vulnerability of economies and political stability will all fundamentally change insurance as we know it. 

We all love great role models. Name one person in the insurance industry who has truly inspired you, and tell us why.

This is very difficult, to name one. Working for a global organisation [AIG] I am exposed, and have access, to many great leaders, but would have to say (and while I am not a feminist) that I am often inspired by the women leaders in our industry, locally and abroad. What I have learnt from these incredible women is that there is no such thing as balance, but rather managing work and home life is a lot of give-and-take, and building networks around you is vital. Don’t take life too seriously, don’t worry about the things you cannot control and, most of all, love what you do and do what you love!