Meet the new GWII committee members

Catherine Naidoo
Executive: Product
Innovation Group

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career in insurance.
I am currently heading up the Product Division at Innovation Group. The job description includes overseeing the Product Development, Underwriting, Pricing, MI/BI and Support Account Management Teams. My career in insurance started 27 years ago, where I found myself moving from a Banking environment to Homeowners insurance. My insurance journey began by learning the simple principles of insurance, from both a claims and underwriting perspective. Finding this journey quite intriguing, my hunger to learn more resulted in hopping from claims to underwriting across all product lines, building a strong understanding of insurance principles across all aspects of the industry. I ventured into product development, which introduced me to product development and pricing methodologies, ensuring that consumers become the center of all products put out into the market, whilst ensuring alignment to regulations. The knowledge I have developed has allowed me to drive sales as a Regional Sales Manager and manage relationships with UMAs as a Product and Portfolio Manager, while maintaining and establishing sound governance and controls within these partnerships. My passion for the future is to invest in the careers of young people entering the insurance market and combining the strong principles the insurance industry is built on, coupled with the InsurTech capabilities we find ourselves in today.
2. What is rewarding about your career?
The saying, “the only thing constant is change” is a saying that I am convinced, was established in the insurance industry. The most rewarding aspect about having a career in insurance is that it is constantly changing and challenging us, ensuring that we stay relevant to meet the diverse needs of the various generations of consumers and becoming future ready for an ever-changing world.
3. How do you maintain work and personal life balance?
Work life balance can only be achieved by respect and focus. I respect myself by setting quality time aside to focus on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. The saying that you cannot pour from an empty jug rings true. Prioritise each area of your life and focus on the things that matter, know your deliverables and deliver on that as a priority, then focus on other average to low priority tasks. Be disciplined about your diary, block out time to focus on these high priority deliverables and stick to doing what you set the time out to do. When you switch off from work, switch off completely and focus on your family, it creates a healthy family life and reduces frustrations and conflict. A healthy personal life means a focused and productive work life.
4. How did you come to join the GWII?
I heard about the women’s golf day that the GWII was hosting, and that intrigued me. At that point in time, I often found myself not being invited to Golf Days because I couldn’t play the game. I suffered from a bit of FOMO 😊. When I read about this event, I realized that this was an organization that stretched beyond the boundaries, which was enough to convince me to join as a member.
5. Why do you believe this is an important forum for women in the insurance sector?
It is very important to have a platform that is focused on women, as our challenges in a work environment are significantly different to that of men… as depicted in the picture below (could not have said it any better). The GWII is more than a platform for women, it is a platform that is inclusive of men, to allow men to understand and support their female colleagues in the industry. This is important!
6. What excites you about the year ahead and the role you will be playing on the committee in 2021?
It excites me to be at the forefront of investing in women in the industry, and to prepare and plan events that would add value in this new and changed world we find ourselves in. My role would be one of a servant leader, by being very much aware of what the women in our industry are struggling with, and how we, as a committee, can help to overcome these challenges together.
7. What advice do you have for the next generation of women who are beginning their careers in our industry?
Be curious and develop a hunger to learn more, because our industry is ever evolving to meet an ever-changing world. A little bit of competition is healthy, but always remain true to who you are. This journey of life and career is what you make of it, and you can never lose, as long as you strive to being better than you were the day before.

 

Nancy Nkubungu
Marketing Manager
Chubb Insurance South Africa


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career in insurance.
I have a master’s degree in Communications Management and an undergraduate degree in Marketing Management, obtained from the University of Pretoria. I have always worked in a marketing role and only joined the insurance industry in 2018, when I joined Chubb. It has truly been a great journey since joining this industry… insurance is not what people make it out to be, once you get to learn more about it. Being in a marketing role has also been an advantage, as I am exposed to the different insurance products, as well as to great individuals within the industry, through the networking events that are hosted by the different organisations.
2. What is rewarding about your career?
I truly love everything that marketing entails, from developing strategies and plans, right through to implementation, as well as the fun that comes with it. Marketing is very versatile, and I also like the fact that I get to do a bit of everything. This prevents me from getting bored easily. I also enjoy meeting and engaging with different people and this career allows me to do so.
3. How do you maintain work and personal life balance?
I work smarter, not harder, and I find that with my role, its simple to balance life and work. When I enjoy what I do, it doesn't feel like a chore. I am always sure that when I am at home, my family gets my attention first. I take time during the weekends to do things for myself and ensure that I regenerate before the work week begins.
4. How did you come to join the GWII?
I have always been a member of the GWII and enjoyed attending the events they hosted. So, when I was approached with the opportunity to be part of the committee, I didn’t think twice.
5. Why do you believe this is an important forum for women in the insurance sector?
This is a good forum as it provides women in the industry the opportunity to come together outside of their work environment, to share their skills and experiences, while also forming and building good relationships.
6. What excites you about the year ahead and the role you will be playing on the committee in 2021?
I am truly excited about the year ahead. This is the first committee I have been part of, since joining the industry, and I look forward to sharing new ideas and being part of a forum that looks out for women within the insurance industry. I also look forward to learning a lot from the other committee members and the GWII.
7. What advice do you have for the next generation of women who are beginning their careers in our industry?
Take each day as it comes, don’t be afraid to ask, learn from your peers in the industry and have fun.

 

Patience Baloyi
Senior Portfolio Manager: National Key Accounts
Constantia Insurance


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career in insurance.
Before joining the insurance sector, I qualified in Banking and worked in banking projects implementation, followed by some short exposure in Energy and telecoms. I joined insurance by chance, in 2007. Like many people, the exposure to insurance resonated with me, and since then, I have held various positions at Centriq, Santam and Old Mutual Insure, prior to joining Constantia.
2. What is rewarding about your career?
It is the ability to network with business partners to create insurance solutions for our mutual clients. The industry and solutions are constantly evolving, and I am fulfilled by our contribution to the economy through support for individuals and keeping SMEs in business.
3. How do you maintain work and personal life balance?
It is not easy, but I try and maintain boundaries to ensure that my family time is not outshined by my work time, and vice versa. Taking care of myself, and my family’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs is critical to maintain the necessary balance between work, school, life and relationships. I don’t always get it right, but I have a solid foundation to bounce back to when the lines become blurred.
4. How did you come to join the GWII?
I am a member of the GWII and appreciate its advocacy for women in insurance. When I was asked by an ex colleague if I’d consider joining the committee, the answer was yes, yes and yes. I would love to contribute.
5. Why do you believe this is an important forum for women in the insurance sector?
Even in the times that we live in, the insurance sector is slow to diversity. For the longest time, it has been male led and not very attractive to females. Transformation is noted, and it is critical for this forum to continue to support, educate and celebrate all women along the ranks, offering much needed support that may be overlooked by the corporates.
6. What excites you about the year ahead and the role you will be playing on the committee in 2021?
Being new to the committee means building new relationships with women in insurance and contributing to the reach of new and existing members. With hopes that we can call it a post-COVID-19 era, it will be exciting to drive change and reach through innovative and fresh ideas, making use of technology… I hope that can reach more and more women, through mentorship and coaching from the veterans in the game.
7. What advice do you have for the next generation of women who are beginning their careers in our industry?
There is room for you, come and make your mark and shine. The industry needs you to grow and evolve with the ever-changing times.