Bukhosi Khumalo, AIISA – Marsh Client Executive | IIG Co-Opted Councillor
“I know you can’t live on hope alone; but without hope, life is not worth living” Harvey Milk”
The year 2020 has been like no other in many ways. For the first time in recent history, the world has been brought to a halt by what started as a seemingly possible-to-contain virus that has adversely affected individuals and businesses alike, with experts still trying to understand a lot about it.
Daily, Covid-19 dominates news, conversations and headlines in various spheres of human interaction, with close to 92 million confirmed cases in 220 countries globally. Many people have lost their jobs, lives, loved ones, good health and livelihoods in the face of the virus with the trend continuing in many parts of the world. Yet in the face of all this, the message is to keep the light of hope burning whilst adapting to change. This attitude, unique to humans, has aided our survival throughout centuries and millennia.
People and organizations have found themselves having to adjust quickly to new ways of working and doing things in order to remain relevant and operational. For some, this took many in-person programmes out the window and activities that had been a tradition for many years and decades had to be paused or done away with altogether – at least for now.
In the midst of all this, there have been a lot of takeaways and lessons from what has been arguably the most devastating era in recent history. A lot of it hinges on hope, adaptability and a good dose of positivity to help us forge a way ahead for the coming generations.
Education must go on
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. What this past year has proven to us is that education goes beyond just fields of study but also about equipping people with the skills that they need to navigate both their professions and daily life in general. Conversations surrounding the balance in professional excellence and physical / mental health
have become very important with people increasingly working from home, or in environments, they are not accustomed to.
The IIG last year did a lot of work in educating its members and offered digital seminars and workshops that allowed members to have a lot of learning surrounding different aspects of their lives through 22 CPD accredited workshops and training seminars, contributing 24.5 CPD hours.
Learning and development Continues
Ultimately, learning and development is still a need within the industry and in the wake of Covid-19, it looked like 2020 was to be a year that was to be written-off. As the IIG, we had to quickly change the format regarding how we offered our opportunities and took everything into digital mode. 27 mentees graduated from the Roots & Wings mentorship programme (largest annual group to date), 31 from the Class of, 25 from the Insurance Leadership Development Programme (ILDP) powered through GIBS
Business School (best marks achieved in 2020 to date), and we are expecting 44 learners on the Academic Programme to graduate later this year, with a further 256 students starting this same programme in a staggered approach over 2021. This is a testament to the devotion of our partners, participants, sponsors, and the industry at large in driving the success of these initiatives, which targeted talent development, industry continuity and sustainability, tangible transformation and effectively,
CPD must go on
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes have been one of the best ways for professionals to keep themselves abreast with industry developments within their profession and remain relevant. With the disruption in some of the methods of delivery, this has called for the use of technology and various innovations in order to have members access the wealth of knowledge they require. The environment today is changing almost as fast as technological advancement with many complexities surrounding topics that seemed obvious and easy in the past. During the lockdown period, the IIG enjoyed scaled attendance of the Insights sessions with some webinars attracting over 600 delegates! The IIG will continue to scale the CPD value proposition and In 2020 finalized development of an in-person event registration application which streamlines the CPD registration and “clock” out functions (once society can attend such events again).
With many services migrating online, why can’t socially connecting with people be as easy? With restrictions on how much people can connect in-person, the use of social networking becomes even more relevant today in order to assist people to stay in touch and exchange knowledge and skills.
Networking has been at the core of what the IIG stands for and allowing professionals to interact. Although some of the major events that allow for networking in person could not be held, social virtual networking definitely continued with various events such as gym workouts, a cook-along led by a professional chef, a hugely successful Ladies Day event with comedians and magic acts to name but a few. It’s probable that society will see more outdoor events in the future, even after Covid-19 vaccinations are distributed and herd immunity is achieved – #YourIIG opted for an outdoor picnic
concert where The Parlotones entertained the crowd and celebrated the 2020 year past.
Hybrid model (virtual and face to face)
Doing things beyond traditional methods is a permanent fixture in any strategy going forward. One of the things that we all agree on across most industries is the need for a mixed strategy between virtual and face-to-face interaction. It not only allows for skills and knowledge transfer/sharing but encourages collaboration across regions and continents, a true benefit of increased globalization. People can now do sessions and meetings in different geographies and this promotes the adoption of the best
methods/practice in how business is done in industries.
In the face of unprecedented times, Leon C. Megginson would say only a few words “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. We as the IIG will continue to adapt and remain relevant, proudly serving the insurance industry.