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Poll Highlights Concerns For Insurers

The latest global Insurance Banana Skins survey looks at the risks currently facing the insurance industry.

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“The greatest risk facing the insurance industry is the raft of new regulations being introduced simultaneously at international and local levels, according to a 2011 global survey which ranks insurance sector risks” says Victor Muguto, PwC Southern Africa Insurance Leader. He adds that “In South Africa the combined effect of the Solvency Assessment and Management, Twin Peak Prudential and Market Conduct proposals are significant examples”.

The 2011 survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI), in association with PwC, says that new rules governing issues such as solvency and market conduct could swamp the industry with costs and compliance problems.

The survey polled 490 insurance practitioners and industry observers in 40 countries – including 4 South African respondents.

Some high-ranking concerns revealed by the survey include the availability of capital to meet tougher regulatory requirements – particularly in the EU. Respondents from the US, Bermuda, the Far East and South Africa also expressed similar concerns. Other concerns include the uncertain state of the world economy and financial markets. Sluggish world economic growth has a significant impact on the demand for insurance, while resurgent inflation negatively impacts insurance portfolios. A combination of economic recession, low interest rates and sovereign debt fears in the euro zone has also cut investment returns at a time when the industry badly needs them.  These are adding to the pressures on an industry which is already being squeezed by slow growth and intense competition.

Muguto adds that “Insurers’ attention has clearly changed, with much more focus on how to deal with the increasing regulation they face. This could potentially distract key resources and talent away from opportunities to grow their business. However, to gain a competitive advantage, insurers need to move the regulatory burden away from a box-ticking exercise, to something that is embedded in the businesses and used to manage the changing risk profile. All this is set against a challenging backdrop of increased natural catastrophes, low interest rates and uncertain world economy.”

Insurance Banana Skins 2011

(2009 ranking in brackets)

1 Regulation (5)
2 Capital (3)
3 Macro-economic trends (4)
4 Investment performance (1)
5 Natural catastrophes (22)
6 Talent (-)
7 Long tail liabilities (10)
8 Corporate governance (17)
9 Distribution channels (16)
10 Interest rates (11)
11 Political risk (18)
12 Actuarial assumptions (9)
13 Managing costs (14)
14 Management quality (13)
15 Risk management (6)
16 Reputation (15)
17 Back office (24)
18 Retail sales practices (25)
19 Complex instruments (8)
20 Climate change (28)
21 Reinsurance (20)
22 Fraud (23)
23 Terrorism (26)
24 Product development (29)
25 Pollution (34)
26 Managing mergers (31)

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5 Ways SMMEs Can Best Use An Incubation Centre

Here are some tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of these incubation centres.

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Incubation centres play a meaningful role – not only in South Africa but around the world – as they groom SMMEs and give them access to opportunities that will help them survive in a competitive marketplace. These centres help entrepreneurs modernise their businesses with world-class technology, while providing insights that can help turn ideas into products. Incubation centres offer infrastructure and support, knowledge-sharing and a unique environment that helps strengthen their businesses.

Earlier this month, Cisco South Africa launched its R10 million Edge Incubation Centre in Pretoria where 30 SMMEs per year will have the opportunity to make use of the platform and speed up their entry to market. The centre gives SMMEs access to complete business facilities including workspaces, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, boardroom and training facilities, and access to global Cisco experts who can help them develop business ideas in a digital world.

Here are some tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of these incubation centres:

1. Collaboration

Gain insights from global experts using the latest Webex technology and collaborate with other SMMEs. Utilise the meeting spaces to drive commercial sales initiatives with the help of business support facilities.

2. Resources & Equipment

Make use of laboratories and tools like cloud-based facilities, smart interactive whiteboards for content sharing, video conferencing, and meeting rooms. Utilise the high-tech customer demo centre as a practice platform.

Related: The Definitive List Of South African Business Incubators For Start-Ups

3. Support

Take advantage of the enablement programmes as well as the ongoing training and development. Knowledge transfer will always help your business. Utilise the technical support and business insights to grow your business and make it competitive in the digital economy.

4. Connectivity

This is your main tool in a digital marketplace. Make use of the high-speed broadband facilities and develop your digital skills because you will need it.

5. Sales

Don’t forget to utilise the pre-sales support as this may give you the edge in the marketplace. Gain insights and experience and use it to your advantage.

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9 In 10 Workers Want A Festive Gift From Their Employer To Make Them Feel Valued

29% Would like to receive vouchers from their company.

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As the festive season approaches, digital print company instantprint have revealed what managers can be doing to show staff they are appreciated.

Over 9 in 10 workers (94%) want a gift from their employers to make them feel valued, appreciated and happy this Christmas.

The research, which surveyed 1,500 UK office workers, also revealed the most in demand gifts that employees would like to receive from their employers:

  • 29% would like a gift voucher
  • 8% would like an early finish
  • One in five (20%) would like a free bar at the company Christmas party
  • One in ten (10.3%) would like a physical gift
  • 7% would like a charitable donation to be made in their name.

Related: Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

Different sections of the workforce had varying demands. IT professionals would prefer an early finish this festive period, with 35% in the IT department choosing this as their ideal Christmas gift.

Senior management seem to have a more selfless approach to the gifts they would like to receive. One in ten (11%) said they would like a charitable donation to be made in their name, compared to the average demand for this present of just 7%.

There was some difference between men and women too. Women are the ones really pressing for gift vouchers, with 33% saying they are the ideal present, compared to just 23% of men. Male employees seem to prefer a free bar, with 22% choosing this, compared to just 18% of women.

James Kinsella, CEO and Co-founder of instantprint, said about the research:

“Most organisation take part in the festive period, with decorations, Christmas parties and office Secret Santas.

“But this research highlights how important a small show of gratitude can be for your workforce. Something as simple as an early finish, free bar at a party or a Christmas gift voucher can make employees feel valued and appreciated. This in turn can help boost employee morale, loyalty and productivity in the workplace.”

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South African Students To Battle In Universities Business Challenge To Win Up To R50 000

Students will compete in a simulation that encourages business skills.

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Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE), launched in July this year, has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition, that’s designed to develop their entrepreneurship skills. The challenge is now down to just 10 teams from five different universities (approximately 50 students), who will travel to Johannesburg to compete in the two-day final event on the 5 and 6th December 2018.

The ten teams competing in the final includes three teams from the North West University, two from Mangosuthu University of Technology, two from the Vaal University of Technology, two from the University of Limpopo and one from The University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN). These teams will be competing for the chance to win up to R50,000.

Related: Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips

The aim of the UBC, now in its second year in South Africa and 20th year globally, is to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018.

The competition simulates a business environment, with students given a problem to solve. The simulation is designed to foster skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, commercial awareness and team-working. The challenge is designed to empower young people and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in business.

Tope Toogun, development advisor and CEO of Cognity Advisory says, “Students are very prepared in terms of theory when they leave university, but not the practical skills they need to start and run a business. Seeing as SMEs make up 90 percent of formal businesses it’s really important that these students know how to build a business on their own or at the very least, in small teams.”

Toogun explains how the simulation encourages business skills, “The students competing in the challenge learn all about managing people, customer service, working in teams and how to create a start up without even realising they are being exposed to all these skills. These are the skills that will separate the members in the final. Students must work as a team and make instinctive decisions.”

Cognity Advisory is engaging students through social media competitions and newsletter updates. These competitions include spot prizes for students who post an image or video and receive the highest engagement on it.

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