In­surance in­dus­try short­falls

Re­port re­veals grad­u­ates have big gaps in skills and knowl­edge of the sec­tor

The Star Early Edition - - THE WORKPLACE REPORT -

THE IN­SURANCE seta (Inseta) has re­leased its sec­ond re­port aris­ing from a study of skills de­vel­op­ment in the in­dus­try.

While the first re­port de­fined the con­text for skills de­vel­op­ment in the sec­tor as a whole, the sec­ond fo­cuses on short-term in­surance.

It cov­ers the chal­lenges faced, per­cep­tions of trans­for­ma­tion, suc­cess in ad­dress­ing skills short­ages, key driv­ers pre­dicted for the next five years and the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ef­fec­tive­ness in up-skilling.

Inseta chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Dunn says the re­port pro­vides valu­able in­for­ma­tion for stake­hold­ers to ad­just their strate­gic pri­or­i­ties with re­gard to skills de­vel­op­ment.

“For Inseta in par­tic­u­lar, we’ve taken note of the fact that with re­gard to ad­dress­ing crit­i­cal skills short­ages, we are not al­ways per­ceived as lead­ing growth ini­tia­tives at a higher level,” Dunn says.

Len Dea­con, the au­thor of Inseta’s re­port, says many re­spon­dents in­di­cated that fund­ing from Inseta would be a help, but that it fo­cused more on en­try-level po­si­tions with lit­tle to no fo­cus on ac­tu­ar­ial lev­els.

The in­surance sec­tor is fac­ing skills short­ages across the board and statis­ti­cians, ac­tu­ar­ies and ex­pe­ri­enced se­nior un­der­writ­ers are in short sup­ply.

The re­spon­dents said the qual­ity of the grad­u­ates from univer­si­ties was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. Stu­dents seemed to be knowl­edge­able, but did not live up to the im­age. When in­ter­viewed, it be­came clear that they lacked ba­sic business and lan­guage skills. Many be­lieved men­tor­ing pro­grammes could com­pel ex­pe­ri­enced and “ma­ture” staff to trans­fer skills.

Dea­con says, how­ever, there are se­ri­ous lim­i­ta­tions for in-house train­ing, es­pe­cially coach­ing and men­tor­ing.

“In­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion has elim­i­nated many of the tra­di­tional large multiline in­sur­ers that gave pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions an ap­pren­tice­ship op­por­tu­nity,” he says. “In the new en­vi­ron­ment, skills de­vel­op­ment is largely the re­spon­si­bil­ity of par­tially trained man­agers with limited ex­pe­ri­ence and with large gaps in knowl­edge. This prob­lem is ex­ac­er­bated by a cul­ture of en­ti­tle­ment among job seek­ers who ex­pect high salaries, lux­ury cars, rapid pro­mo­tion and sta­tus.”

He says re­spon­dents in­di­cated that it was dif­fi­cult to find suit­able can­di­dates for mid­dle and se­nior man­age­ment po­si­tions. In some in­stances it was eas­ier to find a suit­able can­di­date for a se­nior direc­tor­ship po­si­tion than a can­di­date with suit­able qual­i­fi­ca­tions and skills for mid­dle or se­nior man­age­ment.

Peo­ple are of­ten placed in th­ese po­si­tions be­fore they are ready to as­sume the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at­tached to the role.

Dea­con says short-term in­sur­ers deal with a short­age of needed skills and so­cio-po­lit­i­cal pres­sure for trans­for­ma­tion by pro­mot­ing em­ploy­ees more rapidly than their peers in de­vel­oped economies. This re­sults in man­agers who lack the ex­pe­ri­ence and life skills to han­dle their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Many also lack the strate­gic man­age­ment and de­ci­sion­mak­ing skills that are cru­cial to be­ing a good man­ager.

Re­spon­dents ex­pressed a need for an ac­cord to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in which in­dus­try play­ers could work to­gether to

HELP­ING HAND: Inseta chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Dunn hands over a cheque to Nokwanda Mkhize of the SA Ac­tu­ar­ies De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme to fund ac­tu­ar­ial sci­ence stu­dents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.