Chair of the Insurance Young Guns (IYG) Tashniva Angadh speaks to RISKAFRICA about compassion in insurance and the important role of institutions in this sector.

The South African insurance industry needs more compassion, and by quoting Indian entrepreneur Srikanth Bolla, she explains that compassion is not merely about charity but about “showing somebody the way to live and giving them the opportunity to thrive”.

Empowerment in the industry needs to take place by the sharing of our knowledge – the facilitation of our own learning and of others, she stresses. Asked how she keeps going with her workload and extracurricular activities, Angadh, who is also a business development manager for property and energy at Hollard, says there are many South Africans doing more than her in the face of greater adversity.

Many of our generation have been propelled into bright futures due to the influence of the visionaries in our families

“The mere thought of these people gets me through the day,” says Angadh. Uberrima fides, Latin for ‘utmost good faith’, is the legal doctrine that governs insurance contracts.”Insurance is framed by moral duties on the part of the insured and insurer,” she explains, but it also has a conscionable role in enabling a better future for people through tailored products, “however big or small”.

Along with a handful of other under-35s, Angadh played a central role in forming and shaping the Insurance Young Guns (IYG) earlier this year as an answer to the “serious need for a platform that is focused on empowering this segment of the workforce”. The forum accommodates the collaborative nature of young professionals.

IYG is a short-term insurance industry organisation focused not only on assisting young industry professionals (under 35) with growth and networking but also on having a social impact. “[The IYG] council is driven to ensure that young professionals in our industry have access to events that will educate, inspire career ownership, encourage personal and professional empowerment and provide the chance to engage with peers,” she says.

The infectiousness with which members have shared their inspiration and ambition at these events is a revelation, she adds. Parents are the underrated catalysts for success, but Angadh praises hers as the original ‘giants’ on whose shoulders she stood for a glimpse of a future filled with promise.

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“Many of our generation have been propelled into bright futures due to the influence of the visionaries in our families,” she says. In the workplace, the wholesome environment at Hollard helped shape her understanding of the insurance business: the ideals around work versatility, determination and establishing herself as an expert.

“I’ve been privileged to meet incredible individuals who add value [to the industry].” In working with these people and companies she has been afforded a front-row seat to the positive changes insurance can bring. Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the much-touted disruptors in the industry, but technology has been the past, present and future disruptor, and it will do so without discrimination of industry.

However, the big disruptor is actually the changing nature of consumer behaviour, she notes. “We need a thorough understanding of the way the ever-changing world, including societal and political issues, among many [others], is impacting the individual. We then need to understand how people will respond to these changes.”

The endgame for Angadh is to be remembered as a person who has a keen and real interest in people and their stories, and in the same vein, someone who is able to identify potential along the way. “I want to be remembered as someone who embraced any opportunity to be more, to do more and tune my instincts and intuition to positively impact my organisation and the people around me.”