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Insurance industry exams opens the door of opportunity

By Staff Writer

The implementation of the new regulatory examinations for insurance brokers and advisors will open up huge opportunities for young South Africans looking for a career in the financial services sector.

According to Clint Harker, Managing Director of Genesis Capital’s short term insurance subsidiary Gen-Assist Insurance Brokers, there is a general reluctance on the part of many older, established brokers and advisors to write the new regulatory exams, which they are required to pass in order to continuing operating.

“The time is perfect for young people who are open to writing and passing these new regulatory examinations and obtaining the correct qualifications, to enter the industry.”  He says the new qualification requirements should also attract a higher calibre of young entrants to the sector.

Harker believes the days of other financial services firms such as banks and asset managers attracting the most interest from young candidates due to their sexier image and higher salaries, are over.

“It has become an issue of supply and demand. The reality is that the growth in South Africa’s insurance and insurance broking industries is being hampered by a lack of skills and a dire shortage of new entrants. As a young person I would target the insurance industry as a career. Often a successful achiever in the short term industry can out-earn their counterparts in the “sexier” industries.”

However, Harker says it is vital that the insurance and intermediary industries do more to present themselves as attractive, dynamic industries to the younger generation.

“The industry needs to reposition itself as a place in which you develop and reach your full potential. For example if you have a passion for aviation but cannot become a pilot you could join a specialist aviation insurer or broker.

“Or if you could not become an engineer but this was your passion, join a broker or insurer that specialises in engineering risks. Often it is missed that you can pursue a career in fields such as legal, marketing, actuarial science and human resources, within the short term broking industry.

“There are also many examples of people who have started out in secretarial or administrative roles and become skilled technical professions. We have a driver who has now become a claims technician at the age of 45.”

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