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WITH Charlene van Doorn

- Editor and MD of Insurance Gateway

“I believe that technology will continue to disrupt the market”. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, and your career path to becoming a journalist specialising in insurance.

A: I have always been particularly drawn to risk mitigation mechanisms, acquiring as much knowledge as possible, with a particular interest in the dynamics and inner workings of the industry as a whole. I admire the innovation and general statuesque of an industry reshaping itself towards ultimate telegenic excellence.

I completed my diploma in marketing and engaged in further studies at university level. In 2008 I became fully committed to Insurance specific news and information, producing a variety of content.

In 2019 I became the editor and managing director of Insurance Gateway Pty Ltd. With approximately one million hits a month Insurance Gateway is one of South Africa’s leading news and information platforms.

I believe that Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the key benchmarks of an organisation’s overall success and reputation in the marketplace. At Insurance Gateway, strong emphasis is placed on honesty and integrity and the belief that these values, when combined makes for an organisation worthy of recognition.

Q: Give us an insight of your journalistic beat. What do you cover, who is your audience, how can they access your content and why should they consume it?

A: Insurance Gateway was established with a view to help make markets easily accessible, uplifting industry standards and to assist with consumer education. The website covers all non-banking financial services, including Short-Term Insurance, Healthcare, Life, Retirement/Employee Benefits and Investment. The Gateway provides press articles, editorial content and glossaries to inform you, and directory listings to help you locate the resources you need. In addition the Gateway is also the ideal partner to assist Underwriting Managers, Administrators, Insurers and other Insurance specific service providers to promote their brand and to gain the necessary market exposure.

Q: What are the most exciting developments – business, technological, regulatory, products or otherwise – that you see happening in insurance in 2023?

A: Looking back over two years we have witnessed commendable advances within the market, although the pandemic struck shortly after the Insurance market emerged from a recession. Innovations seems to have been at the forefront and Insurtech has been under the spotlight for quite some time now.

I believe that technology will continue to disrupt the market by challenging convention within previously unblemished segments, such as for example optimisation of fraud prevention and the enhancement of efficiencies in respect of managing fraud prevention.

We have yet to witness the full advent of Artificial Intelligence in areas such as fraud prevention and compliance.

Q: Every industry has its movers and shakers, disruptors and game-changers. Who or what do you think are the people or developments to watch in the South African insurance industry?

A: There are several promising advances to look forward to. One example within the PAS space is CRM specialist Sales Force introducing a basic insurance module geared for the South African market.

However as far as organisations making a difference by impacting positively, I am confident that Attooh! has exceeded expectations by introducing a refreshing level of integrity and unparalleled service delivery and more recently with the introduction of 40Four dedicated to short-term Insurance.

Q: What are the positive aspects of the insurance industry in South Africa?

A: There is general consensus that the insurance industry is a major contributor to the soundness and stability of the South African economy.
As previously publicised the sector is well capitalised, resilient, adaptable, and innovative. It’s also no secret that South Africa boasts some of the most complex product structures and is internationally active. In addition, the market is extremely competitive and continuously evolving creating exiting new opportunities.

Q: And what aspects can be improved on?

A: Accessibility continues to an aspect worthy of much attention. Restructuring policies to help consumers better understand their cover and innovations aimed at enhancing efficiencies. Much can also still be done to demystify products and finding better ways to communicate benefits and terms. All of which can be achieved with a focus on financial literacy and education.

Q: What is your favourite insurance story that you have covered so far?

A: How SA’s women can lead by resilience
“For me, resilience is not about how you fall, but how you get up. And the past couple of years has called on every ounce of resilience in me, the company I lead, and the insurance industry.”

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