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WITH Sherryl Harding

(FIISA, PGDip Management)
-President, Insurance Institute of KwaZulu-Natal

“Self-development is always a top priority for me and something I continually strive for. We should always be learning and growing. With that, comes the responsibility of sharing the knowledge with others, and helping them learn and grow”. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, and how came to your current position in insurance.  

A: My journey is such a blessing to me, and I love sharing this in the hope that it inspires others to make insurance their chosen career.

I started in the industry in 2010 knowing very little about it but soon realised that it was something special and more than just a job. After making the very important decision to pursue a formal qualification in insurance, I took all the opportunities I could to learn and grow. For the first 8 years of my insurance career, I worked at Monitor Administrators, an Underwriting Management Agency, where I had the immense privilege of working in various areas of the business and also had the opportunity to start a new division from scratch. My experience there ranged from Operations Management, Portfolio Management, Technical, Compliance, Product Management and Administration. Having such a diverse portfolio allowed me to explore multiple disciplines and gain considerable experience in both short-term and life insurance products.

Wanting to expand my experience and scope, my journey then took me to Nedbank Insurance, where I joined the Operations Division as a Claims Operations Manager on the Life products.

An incredible 4 years later, I have now moved over to our Client Solutions Division as the Head of Product Management and Governance.

A new and exciting role within the business!

I hold a full qualification in Short Term Insurance, a qualification in Risk Management, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

I am also a proud Fellow of the Insurance Institute of South Africa.

From a personal perspective, I am a 40-something, career-driven, shoe-loving, passionate person whose family and friends are everything, I enjoy music, socialising, and making people happy. 

Q: Being involved with an insurance institute suggests furthering yourself, your peers, and your industry. Which of the three is most important to you?

A: For me, it is a combination of all three.

Self-development is always a top priority for me and something I continually strive for. We should always be learning and growing.

With that, comes the responsibility of sharing the knowledge with others, and helping them learn and grow.

I consider it an immense honour to be able to teach people and inspire others to pursue development opportunities. Even if we only do this with one person, we have already made a difference.

Combined, the development of ourselves and our peers contributes to the development of the industry as a whole.  Driving personal and professional development can only reap positive benefits for the industry.

Q: To which kinds of people should the insurance industry be offering career opportunities? How do you see your institute helping to make this happen?

A: Learners and young professionals who are wanting to make insurance their career, not just a job.

Encouraging learners and members to pursue a formal qualification in insurance and also work towards attaining professional membership with the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA).

As the IIKZN, we recognise and reward the exceptional achievements of learners and members with our Annual Education Awards. These awards are for the top distinction achieved across KZN for a specific insurance-related subject, which forms part of various formal qualifications currently offered in the industry. These achievers are celebrated at a prestigious event where they are awarded a trophy and a sponsored cash prize. Learners are also recognised on a national level in line with the IISA on an annual basis.

Currently, the IIKZN is the only local institute that does these academic award acknowledgments.

Q: If you had to make an elevator pitch to someone on why they should belong to an insurance institute, what would you say to them before the lift doors open and they’re gone forever?

A: Connection on so many levels, this is why you should belong to an insurance institute.

An amazing opportunity to meet people, engage, connect, and ultimately grow.

Q: No doubt you’re very proud of your institute. But is there anything you’d particularly like to improve or introduce during your tenure and make it even better?

A: The year is all about reignition and reconnection for IIKZN, this is our theme for 2022.

We are so excited to reignite our social, education and sports calendars, something we haven’t been able to do for the last 2 years.

The year is all about reconnecting with each other as an industry, socialising, networking, engagements, and togetherness.

Reconnection with returning members, engaging with new members, our valued sponsors, new partners and focussing on collaboration and connection.

Digitisation is a pivotal element for us, getting rid of the “papers”, digital bookings and being more present on social media. Overall, making it easier to engage.

For 2022, we want our members and partners to say “WOW, that was a fireball of a year”

Q: Name one person in the insurance industry who inspires you and tell us why.

A: This is probably the most difficult question to answer as there are so many amazing, inspirational, dynamic, servant people in the industry.

I can give you a list of people who are the epitome of inspiration and exception.

Two remarkable individuals that I look up to and aspire to learn from as much as possible from, would be Lynda Brown (MUA Insurance Acceptances) and Veni Munsamy (Invuya Institute of Learning),

Their unwavering commitment, passion, and dedication to the insurance sector in Kwazulu-Natal is awe-inspiring and I consider myself incredibly blessed to learn from them.

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