Jon-Jon Smit, Executive Head Sales and Marketing at CIB looks back at the amazing history of CIB. From broker to administrator to one of the largest underwriting managers in the country.
COVER: CIB is now a UMA and when I met you and CIB, about 15 or 16 years ago, you were not yet operating as a UMA. Traditionally, UMAs are specialists in one area. CIB broke that mold by doing business across broad lines, a couple of specialist lines as well as general lines. So, are you basically a fully-fledged insurer now?
Jon-Jon: CIB is a registered underwriting manager and operate under the license of Guardrisk. Everything you can buy from the traditional short-term insurance market, you are able to get from CIB with specific focus on Commercial, High Net Worth Personal Lines and Niche business. Our annual premium income is bigger than a number of fully fledged insurers in the marketplace, but the underwriting manager model simply makes more sense to us now.
In saying this, CIB are one of the largest underwriting managers in South Africa. Our business model allows us to deal with a large variety of broker channels and networks, from your traditional independent brokers to your bigger national and corporate brokers. We have a wide array of brokers within our network and are able to offer binder and outsource facilities across our product range with our country-wide footprint and branches in all the major regions within South Africa.
COVER: CIB is not a company with 10,000 employees, but you do business across a broad spectrum, how do you manage to handle that diversity of products, especially when it comes to skills.
Jon-Jon: The short-term insurance market is experiencing a major skill shortage and has for quite some time, especially in the more technical and niche areas. At CIB, we are constantly looking to enhance skills across the business, as we understand that our people are our business, and they play a key role in our success story. When launching a new product line or division, we set the standard in terms of the specialist skill we require and need to be successful in that area. CIB are also constantly developing our existing people to ensure that we have the necessary skill and expertise to remain relevant in the changing insurance landscape.
COVER: You currently have an exciting marketing drive, #whyCIB, which is quite interesting. Now, based on that, why would you say #whyCIB? What differentiates you from especially other specialists UMAs, but also general insurers?
Jon-Jon: The easiest way to answer this is to ask our clients and brokers #whyCIB. We set a very high benchmark in terms of product, pricing and service. We look to make the experience for the broker and client an absolute WOW factor and build an experience for the customer within all the touch points across the business. We aim to make the brokers feel that it is very hard to not do business with CIB. Our claims’ paying ability is second to none, we have one of the lowest claim rejection ratios in the industry. Our suppliers adhere to very strict protocols in terms of our code of conduct and our service ethos. One of our key objectives is to make the broker look good in front of his clients’ and adding value to our broker network. Our risk management team is also one of our key differentiators, whether it be pre or post loss, and is a very important part of the value chain. CIB philosophy is to underwrite thoroughly upfront and provide peace of mind to customers and brokers at claims stage.
The #whyCIB campaign was launched internally to staff and then to market at the beginning of September. I am really pleased with the response and feedback we have received from existing and new broker partners and customers. The campaign is pretty much based on information about why brokers should be dealing with CIB and, ultimately, the facts don’t lie. We do a lot exceptional well and wanted to tell the insurance market about it. The traction that we are getting is exceptional and our marketing evolution will evolve with the campaign to bring a fresh new look for the next 12-18 months.
COVER: Experience has shown that, when companies grow past a certain stage, things change. It is not that easy to keep up with some of the things that you mentioned now, in terms of #whyCIB. How do you plan to manage that growth in relation to the quality of the service that you get?
Jon-Jon: You are spot on Tony. I think that is always the concern when companies experience exceptional growth over a relatively short period of time, and how you maintain and manage those high standards and service ethos. CIB has been practicing this for the past 27 years and we only just getting started. We have built a great foundation, a business that is very scalable, and ready for a massive step up in terms of our growth. Our processes are constantly evolving, efficiencies are key with new ways of engagement, which ultimately leads to a certain culture within the business and CIB maintaining their exceptional service levels.
CIB offers a very personalised bespoke broker solution. Something that has been key to our success story. There is always a major focus on this internally, to ensure this remains at the forefront of what we are trying to achieve as a business.