Celebrating successful women for all their hard work and effort creates a pathway and steppingstone for aspiring women who seek guidance, motivation, and inspiration.
Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) recently chatted to Karla Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of CLC about her journey and career in the financial services industry, what CLC offers and her advice for other women in the industry.
A Q&A session
- Tell us a little about yourself and your career in insurance. Maybe a bit of a background on where you were born, where you grew up, your academic background… leading to your entry into the industry.
I was born in 1970... I celebrated my 50th birthday last year. I grew up in Port Elizabeth and went to school in Port Elizabeth. Thereafter, I got my first job in the IT industry, following this, I landed up in the financial services industry. I did not study directly after school but did courses during my career. I am now the Chief Executive Officer of CLC.
- Briefly tell us who your company is and what they offer.
CLC was founded 23 years ago. It started from my dining room, in 1998. The team then consisted of me and my husband, but he exited the business a few years ago. We now have a staff complement of over 130 people. We initially provided consulting services on customer loyalty programmes for many diverse market segments. In working closely with these diverse industries, we identified a need to provide assistance services with unparalleled service and the ability to customize products and services to the clients’ requirements. Simply offering the standard value-added product would not create a competitive advantage. In 2006, CLC established its own 24/7 contact centre, now called a Customer Experience Centre, to achieve and maintain excellent service levels and providing greater flexibility to clients. We have developed several successful products and services that we drive through our Customer Experience Centre managed by our own software systems for our clients, this process assists to decrease overheads, whilst increasing efficiencies. The products and services that CLC offers includes assistance services, value added products, managed services and claims administration. The company also handles claims for various big brokers and insurers. We have a UMA with Genric and a cell captive with Guardrisk that we underwrite our products through. Our aim and commitment to our clients is to provide products and services that not only enhance the core insurance product, but also assist to retain clients through an exceptional service experience.
- Why do you believe CLC stands out in the market?
CLC’s solution is unique, coupled with our attention to detail, personal touch and world class systems, we really do have a winning formula. As a one stop solution we tick all the boxes for a UMA, broker or insurer. If we can become that partner to them… we are a one stop provider that would be able to offer all of the solutions to them, which will reduce their compliance requirements as well as improve their efficiencies. Instead of engaging with multiple service providers, they have a one stop solution which saves them time and money.
- What are the plans for CLC in the next few years?
CLC is increasing in a digital space. We are technology driven and have some exciting initiatives in the pipeline. We also plan to introduce more solutions into the market and become the supplier of choice to the financial service industry. Our aim is to become the financial services provider of choice for all VAPS.
- On a more personal note, name one defining moment in your career which changed the world for you and why? Perhaps a brief success story.
I think it was when I was in the IT industry when I was quite young. I was 25 years old, and I went with a team overseas to Taiwan and Hong Kong, to be involved in reengineering the supply chain from the East to reengineer the logistics from there to Africa. To be involved in that at such a young age made me realise I can achieve anything through hard work.
- What motto do you live by?
“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.” This is something I tell my children all the time because I believe that it does not matter how clever you are, or how good you are at something, unless you apply yourself and work hard you will never reach your full potential.
- Tell us something about yourself which not a lot of people know about…
Something that people do not know about me is that I have a twin sister. I have also played provincial squash for most of my life. In fact, I love most sports, golf, mountain biking, tennis, etc.
- What are your plans for the future?
I want to make the most of my life and live it to the fullest, be healthy, achieve balance between work and personal time, spend more time with my family but still make the most of all the opportunities that come my way. CLC and what we do is important to me, it is part of my DNA, so I will continue to grow CLC as much as possible within the next few years.
- What advice do you have for other women in the industry?
Women should support each other, your reputation is everything, so never compromise on that. Always do the right thing.
- In your opinion, what do you wish women could do?
Be kind to themselves and to each other. Women are under a lot of pressure and they put a lot of expectations on themselves. We have children, partners, working careers to maintain and we put an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We need to be kinder to ourselves.
- The world as we know it is shifting from a society based on a predominantly masculine model into a new era, one with women at the forefront as the leaders of the twenty-first century. What does this ‘new era’ look like and what does it mean to be a woman in the 21st century?
Firstly, it creates a lot of opportunities for woman and we should be ready to accept these opportunities with their challenges. I believe that woman have a lot to offer in business. In my experience and with work from home being more acceptable after our Covid experience I think we will have a hybrid model of working from home and the office going forward. The industry has found flexibility and I think women will have more flexibility in terms of work life balance.
- Lastly, why do you believe GWII is an important forum for women in the insurance sector?
The forum is needed for women in the industry. There is a need for support and networking… to continue to share ideas, keep in contact and build relationships.
Chief Executive Officer