Insurance, Youth and Education in South Africa
Marisa Grundling recently joined the School of Financial Planning and Insurance as a lecturer in short-term insurance. She shares some of her perceptions about the industry, as well as her journey to, and experience working in the industry.
When asked about her views on the industry, Marisa explains, “The financial and insurance industry is a vast and complex environment, which is very exciting. But a major drawback in the short-term insurance sector is the lack of suitably educated and qualified professionals entering the field. Experienced professionals are retiring and leaving a major gap in the market.
“I and many others, including my idol Thokozile Mahlangu, are among the majority of people who entered the short-term insurance industry ‘by accident’.”
In an interview with Risk SA, Mahlangu said: “We need to elevate the insurance profession to one that is aspired to. Insurance needs to become the ‘go-to’ word, not only for the youth of South Africa, but also for the continent of Africa as a whole.[i]” With the financial industry climbing 4.1% in the last quarter and contributing to the increase in South Africa’s GDP[ii], as well as a 4.7% employment jump in the financial sector year-on-year change[iii], there is no shortage of jobs within this industry. The only things lacking are skills, knowledge and experience.
South Africa is in an unemployment crisis, especially for our youth. Stats SA notes that South Africa has an unemployment rate of 29%.[iv] Unemployment for our youth aged 15-24 years is 55.2%. [v] In their report, Stats SA states that when it comes to graduates, the unemployment rate is 31%. They observe that: “Education is still the key to these young people’s prospects improving in the South African labour market.”
Marisa suggests that the youth of South Africa can build excellent careers in the insurance industry. This, however, does not come easy. She explains: “To gain entry into this industry, you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. This means long hours and grunt work but the rewards at the end are infinite. The insurance industry has so many areas in which a young person can find their niche. There are a range of career paths, from actuaries, underwriters, brokers and risk managers, to claims administrators, assessors, surveyors and business consultants, and many other exciting areas that you can make your own according to your strengths and interests. In addition to the different roles in the industry, there are also different markets, such as personal, commercial, agriculture, construction, marine, aviation, sectional title, cyber and liability, or any combination of these. What is so amazing about the South African insurance industry is that we do not only focus on one aspect; you can be part of many aspects in the industry.”
The Financial Services Conduct Authority has made incredible strides since the implementation in 2004 of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (Act No. 37 of 2002), that ensures the professionalism and qualifications of representatives. The Regulatory Exams also impacted the industry greatly and took it to the next level. Marisa says, “Now is the time to build on what has already been built and expand our knowledge.” She quotes former President Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.”
It is clear that change is needed for our youth and industry. Marisa is excited to join Milpark Education and suggests that we join hands to make these changes, using Milpark’s core values to improve society, embrace innovation, empower excellence and encourage a passion for learning.
We wish Marisa a warm welcome and look forward to having her on board!
© 2019 Milpark Education (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. The content of this article is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute financial, legal, planning, investment or other professional advice, or an opinion of any kind. Visitors to this article are advised to seek specific guidance on financial-planning issues from recognised CFP® professionals, who are members of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa, and who are in good standing. Milpark Education does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information in this article. The article is current, as of the original date of publication, but should not be relied upon as accurate, timely or fit for any particular purpose. Views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of Milpark Education.
05 Nov 2019