So much more than just a
The Insurance Apprentice is a reality styled series competition where contestants are filmed over a one-week period. The ultimate aim of The Insurance Apprentice is about harnessing skills, attracting more people to the insurance industry, and educating the wider world about the fact that insurance is about more than call centres and funeral policies. This series premiered in 2015 and has successfully shot and produced eight seasons to date.
It all started with the need to make a difference in an industry we love… and a way to expand our already successful FAnews business.
Why do we do it?
We have a million reasons, but the most important reasons are:
- Who does not like a decent reality show? Yes… exactly that. But you’ll have to see it for yourself!
- We make this industry a better place by growing young (under 35’s) people to be the leaders of tomorrow; the leaders we so desperately need.
- We change perceptions… showing everyone outside of our industry that insurance is not only about call centres and funeral policies; it’s an industry filled with a massive variety of skills and opportunities.
- We educate people working in- and outside of our industry… not only do we give the contestants technical tasks, but they are also challenged to think about the environment, about social responsibility, general business principles and more. Learning happens for those taking part, and most certainly also for those watching the episodes.
If you love this, have any ideas to make it better or you want to be part of this in any way, please contact us.
Enjoy the episodes; you will be hooked…
FAnews, a digital and print publication operating in the insurance and financial services industry is the foundation of our business… a business that was started by co-owner Rianet Whitehead’s late father. To keep the legacy going and to share the owners’ (Rianet Whitehead and Michelle Schreuder-Rankin) passion for the industry and the absolute need to change the perception of the industry, an idea of combining education and entertainment came about… an idea that was embraced by many who share the passion of creating a better industry.
Meet the Judge
CEO - Liability Matters – an underwriting agency that specializes in liability.
Simon is an insurance veteran (although he hates it when we make him feel old) but he has been in the insurance industry for over 30 years. He’s been involved with TIA since its first season in 2015, initially as a guest judge. In fact for a good laugh check him out here disguised as a construction worker.
Simon took over as head judge in season three and let’s just say things have never been the same. Whilst he maintains he’s a nice guy in real life, at TIA the contestants call him Judge Dread. This quick-witted, take-no-prisoners character was allegedly modelled on every tough boss Simon has had in his career.
We’re still not convinced it’s all an act. Simon is an Associate of the IISA and holds a Diploma in Insurance, an HCII, and a PGDip in Digital Business from MIT Sloan and Columbia Business School in the USA.
Meet the Judge
There is an adage in the insurance industry that you often hear at any professional gathering: “I fell into the industry.” While this certainly holds true for me, I always make the distinction that I chose to stay in it.
My career spans over a decade of experience across all aspects of the insurance value chain- administration, technical underwriting, claims, sales and entrepreneurship.
My track record demonstrates a dedication and passion for impact-driven solutions that deliver value and positive societal impact beyond the realm of insurance.
As a former winner of TIA I know first hand the incredible opportunity the contest poses, and advocate for every young professional to challenge themselves by taking the leap and entering this life-changing competition. As the fiery, resident co-judge, I know what it takes to win and lend my expertise and experience in finding the ultimate Insurance Apprentice.
My personal hope is that we will no longer have people accidentally “falling” into the industry, but brilliant, intentional apprentices that will add value, drive innovation, make a difference and CHOOSE Insurance.
Q: I have employees who will do great in this competition, but I do not want to lose them after the competition as I know they will be headhunted. How do I prevent that from happening?
A: There is no need for you to be concerned about this, rather be proud of the talent that you have within your organisation. Looking at most of the past contestants, only a few left their respective companies; and most were promoted as you, the employer, now also get a glimpse of what they are capable of. Should an individual choose to leave the company, this is solely based on their own decision making. “Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so that they don’t want to.”
Q: What is The Insurance Apprentice all about?
A: The Insurance Apprentice is all about skills development, and at the same time showing the exciting and fun side of the industry. We grow leaders, we change perceptions and we make this industry an industry people would want to come and work in.
Q: Why should I enter? What’s in it for me?
A: The exposure provided by The Insurance Apprentice enhances a person’s credibility as an insurance professional. It gives people the opportunity to challenge themselves, to grow on a personal and professional level and showcase what they are all about so that they can grow within their own companies. Whether you’re the WINNER, in the TOP 6, or 10, there’s prizes, cash and plenty to be won!
Q: What is the criteria to enter?
A: If you are 35 or younger by time of filming end of January and you have been in the short term insurance industry (any part of it) for more than four years – be it at a brokerage, insurer, underwriting manager, loss adjuster, administrator, marketing, legal or any other part, you are eligible to enter.
Q: What happens after entries close?
A: A select number of panelists carefully analyze the applicants and applications and identify and select the contestants who will take part in the elimination rounds. After the elimination rounds in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, the Top 20 contestants from the three regions will then go through to an elimination round where the top 20 will fight it out for their spot in the Top 10.
Q: If I make it into the Top 10, what happens next?
A: If you make it into the Top 10 you will have to take a week off from your company. Filming takes places over the course of a week, usually mid to end January. You will be notified well in advance.
Q: What can I expect during filming week?
A: It will be a week of learning, stress, meeting great people and mentors and experiencing something you have never experienced before. A lot of learning happens, with a mild bit of fun in-between.
Q: Can I enter The Insurance Apprentice on my own or does my company have to get involved in anyway?
A: Your company does not have to be involved but the contestants’ company names are placed under their names during the airing of the episode and it will most certainly not be ideal if your company does not approve this. We will need to understand the reason for this, but you will be allowed.
Q: What if I entered the competition the previous year, but only made it to the elimination round?
A: The rules are as follows: if you have been in the Top 10 you cannot take part again. We have amended the rules for the two years we had to do TIA in the virtual world, whereas only the Top three could not enter again, but the other seven could enter.
Q: How can I stay up to date and know what’s happening with The Insurance Apprentice?
A: To keep up to date with The Insurance Apprentice, like The Insurance Apprentice on Facebook, sign up on the YouTube/TheInsApp channel and follow The Insurance Apprentice on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. We also send out a newsletter, so make sure you sign up.
Q: How much time will I have to take off work?
A: One day for the regional elimination round (October). If you make it through to the Top 20 round, you will have to take off another day (November). If you make it through to the Top 10, it will be one week out of the office in January.
Q: How can companies support their employees if they are going on this amazing journey?
A: Another great way to encourage and support possible contestants is to involve previous contestants to share their journey. Forget about the companies these past contestants represent because at the end of the day its about the support you give your employee. Let them engage and let them know that you are 100% backing them throughout the journey.
Q: It looks incredibly stressful to go through the experience. Are Judge Dread and Cruella Deville really that scary?
A: Do remember that we have to pack a whole day of filming into 30 minutes, and the camera crew does have the ability to capture the moments critical for ‘good TV’. Is it not as scary as it looks, and you grow immensely during this week. If you believe you are strong enough, you are! The learnings and mentoring is much bigger than the perceived scariness.
Q: I would love to chat to some of the previous contestants about the experience before I enter. Is it possible?
A: Absolutely yes! The previous contestants are super keen to engage, so please send us a mail and we’ll organise it for you.
Q: I am turning 36 in February. Can I enter?
A: Yes you can. The rule states that you have to be 35 or younger by time of filming.