A dream’s come true for André Brooks, a young client relationship manager at Price Forbes, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Price Forbes in London, who will in six months’ time be walking through the doors of the world’s oldest insurance firm, Lloyds of London, as the winner of The Insurance Apprentice 2016.
André had only been working at Price Forbes for six months when CEO, Warren Bolttler, suggested he take part in the TV show. Sponsored by FAnews, the series aims to showcase the insurance industry and create a platform for young talent to test their mettle against their counterparts.
“The South African insurance industry’s reputation is built on the skills and expertise of its workforce. Therefore, harnessing existing talent and bringing in new blood is essential,” says Rianet Whitehead of FA News.
“The industry was buzzing about the show. We were very excited to show our commitment by supporting the skills development of young talent and helping them to prepare for a rewarding future in the industry. André showed great potential and we knew he’d be a good candidate to represent our firm,” said Bolttler.
Starring in, and winning, The Insurance Apprentice has certainly left its mark. André says his goal is to be a member of the executive committee at Price Forbes in five years.
“The experience was life-changing. I’d actually ended up in the insurance industry in the final year of a law degree. I just wanted to earn some cash and got my first job through my uncle who was working for a marine insurance company at the time. I soon realised it was an ever-evolving industry and one I wanted to stay a part of, so I shelved my plans to make a career in commercial law. I don’t regret it. I’ve got a long and prosperous insurance career ahead of me.”
For the company which identified his high potential, André’s win is a triumph. Bolttler says the business has grown by recruiting and developing the most talented individuals in the market. “The reality is that the insurance industry is on the cusp of a talent crisis as its workforce continues to “gray.” With nearly 50 percent of the industry’s workforce above the age of 45 it becomes clear that throughout the next 15 years, companies will be confronted with a growing skills gap as these professionals retire.
There is a definite need to attract young professionals into the industry and education is the key to opening up opportunities. I think we are starting to attract some really talented young people into the industry who never would have considered insurance in the past. The trick is to ensure they are sufficiently well-informed about the wide range of opportunities that the industry offers,” he says.
“We actively encourage a culture where employees are given a broad scope of responsibility on which to build the business. Employees at all levels and in all areas are fully supported in the development of their skills, knowledge and experience. We’re extremely proud of André’s win. He was pitted against the best in the industry. They were all open to scrutiny and criticism. His professionalism, integrity and appetite for success determined the result.”
André leaves for London on 29 October. “It’s absolutely surreal. I’m extremely humbled and overwhelmed, and also very proud of what I’ve achieved.”