New brooms sweep clean – meet our new Head of Department of Short-term Insurance

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New brooms sweep clean – meet our new Head of Department of Short-term Insurance

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We recently sat down with Johan Heymans, who has been appointed as Head of Department: Short-term Insurance in the School of Financial Planning and Insurance.

Johan, first up, tell us a little about yourself?

JH: I grew up in the Free State and studied Agriculture to farm for several years with my father. I met my wife and decided to follow a career in crop insurance, staying involved in farming in that way. Non-life or property insurance flowed naturally out of the crop insurance since both are part of short-term insurance cover. 

So, what made you turn to and study in the field of insurance?

JH: Young children all have dreams to be a soldier, a policeman, a nurse, teacher, astronaut or even a cowboy at some time.  I have never heard of one who wanted to be an insurance broker! 

So, I, and most, if not all brokers, ended up in the field of insurance because life happened. But I was never sorry that I entered the life of a broker because I feel if you do your job correctly, you can be as useful and important as any other professional person, like a doctor, attorney or nurse.

As a “perpetual student”, I also embraced all legislative study requirements with open arms and often overheard colleagues saying, “Let us follow Johan’s example and tackle these studies by the horns”!  Of course, the culmination of my studies was when I was awarded my MBA in 2017 with my thesis written on short-term insurance too. I always encourage fellow short-term brokers to enroll for one of the Milpark full qualifications now and so be ahead of any further regulatory requirements that will definitely come soon. 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

JH: As a caring broker to my clients, I helped them to survive life’s small and not so small insurable hiccups over the last 35 years. And their gratefulness after a successful claim is a reward that made me keep on doing it for so many years!

As a part of the Milpark team, I have already found the pleasure in assisting a student to easily solve what seems to them a big problem. Be it with subject choices, a tough question in an assignment or to understand a difficult insurance concept – the knowledge acquired over the years always helps me solve the problem for them. And a warm, “Thank you Sir!” email makes you feel you are in the right place.

What would you identify as the key factor for successful studies?

JH: As I have experienced myself during all my studies through the years, but especially with my MBA, persistence and hard work are the key.  Never give up if you have started to study towards any qualification – knowledge gained can never be taken away from you.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

JH: I have had so many great mentors during the years, starting with my late father, but I think the one piece of advice that always was so true is that there are three sides to every story or situation. Your side, my side and the right side! 

You have been with Milpark Education for a short time as HOD, but a longer time as student. Are there any aspects that stand out for you?

JH: That is an easy question – firstly the friendly and helpful staff, towards each other and towards the students, and their unique way of learning.  Especially the online platform, which I also used for my MBA, is very student friendly and easy to use.  If I had the choice to study online or attend classes, I will definitely choose online – as long as it is the Milpark system!

So now on to the final words: what defines success for you?

JH: Success for me is to achieve a dream you had since childhood or from somewhere in your life by means of gaining knowledge through education. Our world is so developed and technologically advanced, a childhood dream will stay just a dream if you cannot equip yourself with a good and relevant education.

And on those words of wisdom, we end our conversation, and thank Johan for sharing his story of reaching for his dream, and persevering to get the education to achieve it!

25 Feb 2020