Asiya Swaleh, Fulcrum Collections General Manager: Business Development, never imagined being in the insurance industry growing up. Yet she has been involved with the Insurance Institute of Gauteng since 2019, not only giving back to those still growing within the industry by mentoring on their esteemed Roots & Wings educational programme but also by serving as an IIG council member.
This year, Asiya will be serving on the IIG’s Education Portfolio under the presidency of Simphiwe Mtyali (pictured here with the remainder of the IIG’s 2023 Educational Portfolio team).
We’ve asked Asiya to describe her insurance journey, tell us more about someone in the industry who she admires, and why belonging to an institute adds so much value.
“As a little girl, I had big dreams of being the next Michelangelo or at least his assistant, so when the University of Durban-Westville shut down all of its’ art departments where I was planning to lecture, armed with my Honours and partial Master’s degree in Fine Arts, I found myself on the dark and delightful streets of London where I had hoped to secure work at an art gallery or museum.
Failing dismally, I watched as my dreams washed away down the cobblestoned streets of Hammersmith. This was when I was literally out of the blue offered a position in Account Management at Barclays and my passion for finance was born.
Back in South Africa, continuing along a similar path, I entered into the long-term insurance sector and in my endeavor to seek more knowledge and experience, I thereafter explored the short-term commercial sector. Here I was exposed to a large portfolio of brokers and UMA’s and privileged to have been under the guidance and mentorship of old-school insurance giants. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Being a part of the Insurance industry, I was exposed to the incredible work and amazing role that the IIG plays in our industry, so it was a natural pivot to want to also play a small role and lend personal value to the IIG directly. I joined in 2019 under Carla Jordon’s Presidency and leadership and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity she afforded me.
I became a full Council member in 2021 and I now currently serve as an Ambassador in the Education portfolio. Education has always been close to my heart, and I feel blessed to be able to assist in the successful launches of the various programmes that help so many young people who are just entering the insurance industry.
Through the IIG, I have also been a Mentor on the IIG Roots & Wings programme over the last five years, a programme that will always remain a highlight through all the forever friendships formed and the amazing souls that I encountered on this journey.
If I had to single out one person [within this industry] that I have the utmost respect and admiration for, and am continually inspired by, is Daphne Peter, Head of Alternate Risk Finance at Hollard.
Daphne has been in the industry for over three decades and with that kind of mileage comes a wealth of experience, knowledge, grit, and an unshakeable work ethic. Daphne took me under her wing when I moved to Gauteng 10yrs ago and continues to be an incredible mentor as she is extremely generous with her time, never hesitating in providing advice, assisting with challenges, and then actioning solutions so that the outcome always yields a positive result.
If ever you’ve wondered what makes a phenomenal woman, then know Daphne’s DNA was the blueprint. I am privileged to have access to her experience, immense wisdom, discernment, and respectable network, but I am blessed to be able to call her my friend.
In my opinion, being a part of an Institute specific to your industry is a crucial step in enhancing your existing knowledge through access to exclusive educational programmes, as well as elevating your own career path through exposure to a professional network and real connectivity, inclusive transformation and a proud affiliation to a respectable, innovative, and collaborative body promoting pride in the institution and industry.”