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WITH Adrian Burmeister

-President, Insurance Institute Northern Gauteng

“In our industry one does not stop learning, and by assisting with or facilitating the development of peers, we are furthering the industry by expanding the knowledge of our members”. 

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

A: Like many of our industry colleagues, I landed in insurance by default, and it was not an industry I purposely looked to enter when leaving school. I got my start with a brokerage and concentrated from the start on commercial and engineering insurance, two fields which till today fascinate me by how different every risk and day can be. I then moved to an Underwriting manager which gave me the opportunity to upskill myself with product development in the Value-Add segment. After several years I re-joined the broker market before moving on to the insurer environment and have moved recently from the commercial side to specialise in the Engineering world.

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: I don’t think any of these are mutually exclusive, in our industry one does not stop learning, and by assisting with or facilitating the development of peers, we are furthering the industry by expanding the knowledge of our members, and I have learned and developed throughout my time servicing the IING.

Q: To which kinds of people should the insurance industry be offering career opportunities?

A: The industry should be offering careers to individuals who are driven, hard working and prepared for a continuous learning journey, from all walks of life, however additional focus needs to be placed on developing individuals from previously disadvantaged communities.

Q: How do you see your institute helping to make this happen?  

A: We are busy with one of the leading industry educators to set up a graduate program for potential candidates in Northern Gauteng and are hoping to kick off a graduate programme next year. We are hoping that these candidates will then find placement in companies in our region which will increase the talent pool in our local market.

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: Belonging to an institute is more than just a membership number on a piece of paper. The IING’s primary goal is to provide an exciting and successful networking environment for insurers, intermediaries, and suppliers in our region, we provide professional education content that will assist our members to provide optimal financial advice and care to their clients. By continual interaction with relevant industry bodies and fellow institutes, we can keep our members informed about any industry changes and provide the necessary training around them.

And yes, we do have some fun from time to time with a round of golf, a bit of bowls, or even a quiz night to name but a few.  

Q: What innovative product or service have you seen in the insurance industry that inspires you?

A: Not so much a product, but the digital transformation of insurance over the last 3 years has truly been disruptive and inspiring. Being able to selectively add and remove items from your insurance on an App at will was unthinkable a few years back. This type of disruption is revolutionising insurance as we know it. I do believe that as the millennials and Gen-Zs enter the market pool, these platforms are going to evolve even further as they provide more insight into products that appeal to their generation, and possibly future generations. We have only scraped the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital potential for insurance at this stage, and I am excited to see where this journey is going to take us over the next 5 years and beyond.

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: I am super proud of the IING and the team we have on the committee, without them we would not be able to offer the value to the members that we currently do. If I had to introduce one thing during my tenure, it will be to get the Graduate Program off the ground. The foundations were laid by a predecessor of mine, and I think we are in the right space now to bring it to fruition.

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

A: Zuriel Naiker, His nature and work ethic are exemplary. Having known Zuriel for many years and watching him grow in the industry has been a privilege. His up-to-date knowledge of the industry and external factors that may impact it, and the way he presents is an example I try to follow. Yet, with all his success, he has remained as humble as the day I met him.

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