Nine leadership questions for GENRIC Insurance Company CEO – MC du Toit

Nine leadership questions for MC du Toit, CEO, GENRIC Insurance Company

1. For how long have you led GENRIC Insurance?

I was a founding member of GENRIC Insurance Company back in 2005 and a non-executive Director from 2005 to 2012.  In 2012, I became an Executive Director and took on the role of CEO.

2. Over the years, what have been your worst challenges, highlights and or learnings?

GENRIC was founded with just R5 million capital and has not had a capital injection since. The entire equity of the business was built up with retained earnings – in other words, profit! It has taken razor-sharp management and underwriting to ensure that we write the correct business and hence our focus on niche, specialised insurance solutions.

With the hardening of the reinsurance markets since 2017/18, we have worked hard to transform our lines of business to those with less reliance on reinsurance as well as achieve healthy underwriting margins. GENRIC has made significant strategic changes to improve operational efficiencies, technological capabilities and underwriting margins which are bearing fruit.

The fruits of our efforts are evidenced in the recent announcement of the 100% acquisition of GENRIC by Old Mutual Insure.

3. What would you say are the top qualities for effective leadership?

Building a competent, motivated and engaged team with entrepreneurial flair that really wants to take your business to new heights and that believes everything is possible!

4. What would you say are GENRIC Insurance’s top priority areas for the next year?

Leverage the opportunities that exist in our distribution channels to grow our business even faster.  We are focused on the Health and Accident insurance segment to meet the rapidly changing needs of South Africans.

5. As one of the leading insurers in SA, how do you attract and retain talent?

GENRIC is well known for its entrepreneurial culture and we encourage and nurture this quality in our people and partners.  This is a dynamic, fast and ever-changing environment, and as a result we tend to attract the go-getters and people who appreciate the dynamism and opportunity to innovate in their own roles.

Our culture is very much around driving positive change and innovation and that yesterday’s successes don’t guarantee today.

6. Technology now plays a bigger part in how business is conducted today. Do you see this as the case for GENRIC Insurance?

Absolutely! Technology is key in every facet and process in our business. In terms of Insurtech, GENRIC has been at the forefront of how Insurtech is applied to bring the indispensable role players closer together – insurers, brokers and insureds – in more efficient and cohesive models and processes that better serve insurance consumers.

7. What would you point out as key areas of concern for the insurance industry (local and globally) in the next three to five years?

We must adapt at speed to consumer expectations, needs and the rapid requirements in technology. Regulatory compliance remains a challenge and the cost of it has become significant. Climate change is having a significant impact on the insurance industry as a whole, including reinsurers. Insurers and reinsurers are being impacted by adverse catastrophe claims which are resulting in deteriorating underwriting results.

The state of the South African economy, breakdown in the delivery of basic services and poor governance remains a major concern for all. The standout of the last three years has been the interdependency between the global economy and various additional key risks at home.

8. If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Believe in your dreams and go for it, anything is possible!

9. What is the one book you would recommend to your audience, and why?

“The Innovator’s Dilemma: When new technology causes great firms to fail” by Clayton Christensen. It gives great insights into the challenges faced by established businesses when disruptive technologies emerge.

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