This is the central message of #LongLiveTheBroker, a two-year campaign by Hollard Insure, the short-term insurance arm of the Hollard Insurance Company, which was officially launched yesterday.
#LongLiveTheBroker clearly proclaims Hollard Insure’s enduring commitment to and support for brokers, who are at the core of Hollard’s business model. The company has since its establishment in 1980 believed passionately in partnerships with like-minded individuals, in particular brokers, who are a key link in the insurance value chain because they provide customers with proper, relevant advice and support when submitting a claim.
At the launch, at Montecasino in Johannesburg, Hollard Insure chief executive officer Willie Lategan listed several challenges to the insurance industry.
These include political uncertainty, particularly in the short term; a low-growth economic environment in which Hollard expects medium-term growth of only 1.5%, a “far cry” from the 4% required; greater industry regulation; extreme weather events, which are forcing insurers to adapt their processes, systems and models to remain solvent; and understanding customer needs in the face of direct insurance and technology-driven insurers.
Hollard has since 2014 been transforming itself to meet the challenges of this changing environment, “to ensure that we have a much more comprehensive offering to you, our brokers, and for you to offer your customers”.
In this process, Lategan conceded, Hollard has not always got things absolutely right – but interviews with brokers and broker surveys had shown where the company had fallen short, and “we listened”.
“It wasn’t all negative – we had good feedback,” he added, however. “The Hollard brand is quite liked out there.”
What Hollard will continue doing into the future includes that it will remain a purpose-driven organisation, dedicated to enabling more people to create and secure a better future; it will focus on growth; it will be a catalyst for positive and enduring change; it will treat all its stakeholders with care and dignity; it will innovate and imagine – and learn; and it will remain committed to its win-win-win partnership philosophy for brokers, customers and itself.
“We’re here to do business together,” Lategan said. “We can do better business, in a focused way, together.”
Key focuses going forward, he stated, are the following:
- Hollard will pursue an intermediary-driven distribution strategy
- It is serious about growth, both within South Africa and internationally. Brokers are a significant part of that growth ambition
- It has an enabled leadership team, who have clear deliverables
- It will focus on risk management, which it believes is “essential for sustainability”
- It has bolstered its regional leadership, to support Hollard’s “local-is-lekker” way of doing business: eyeballs and handshakes, and personal relationships
- It is renewing its focus on key areas, such as agri and heavy commercial vehicles
- It is investing significant resources in IT, and brokers should notice improvements in processes and the Hollard broker portal
- It is reducing complexity in policy wordings and pricing structures, making business easier to do
“I think that will allow us to re-establish the relationships that we’ve had with you in the past,” he said.
Nash Omar, Hollard Insure’s managing director for sales and distribution, told the audience that the company’s focus on “local is lekker” – which “does set us apart from our competitors” – has been sharpened through making Hollard’s 18 regional offices and sales offices more efficient, and giving them a full mandate “over each aspect of our business”.
“We know that relationships are extremely important,” he said, and that Hollard needs to be more accessible to its broker partners – and they need to hold Hollard to that promise.
He expanded on Hollard’s progress in its transformation, including creating “South Africa’s finest heavy commercial vehicle capability” following the 2016 acquisition of Regent Insurance; establishing a variety of specialist underwriting managers; embracing new technology; being prepared for regulatory change; and substantially improving its preferential procurement policy.
But, he said, “the most important message today” was that Hollard Insure intends to move beyond its own partnership philosophy – beyond product, beyond sales, and beyond support and service to brokers – so that the company becomes brokers’ favourite insurer.
“To prove this intent, we are today going to launch a campaign that will run for two years,” said Omar. “We are launching this campaign because when all other people say the broker is dead, we say, ‘Long live the broker!’”