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TIA | The Insurance Apprentice

Meet the Contestant

Tristan Marot


Norton Rose Fulbright

Did you choose a career in insurance or did you fall into the industry like so many others? Briefly share your story.

Suffice it to say I didn’t dress up as an insurer on careers’ day at school.  I didn’t even study insurance at law school. 

I did however join Norton Rose Fulbright, a law firm known to house some of the most formidable insurance lawyers of our time, as a candidate attorney in 2020. I had the privilege of serving several rotations within the Insurance Team and was ultimately offered a position within Donald Dinnie’s team. Donald, a remarkable boss and mentor, plays a pivotal role in my professional development.  Himself a respected part of the insurance community, Donald gives our team unparalleled exposure to key players in the industry and insists that we develop our own relationships with these individuals.

I didn’t fall into the industry by chance – I fell into by luck, and I count myself lucky to be in Donald’s team and, as a result, at the forefront of the ever-evolving insurance landscape.  I am privileged to have a broad view of the industry, advising various stakeholders on a wide range of issues – from public unrest to public liability. This position not only enriches my understanding of the sector but also places me at the forefront of its evolving landscape. I am constantly learning and growing and look forward to shaping the future of the insurance industry.    

Why did you choose to enter The Insurance Apprentice?

No past participant I have spoken to has regretted taking part in The Insurance Apprentice and my decision to enter was largely because of those who spoke highly of their experiences. Past participants have highlighted not only the accelerated growth they undertook through their involvement, but also the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of the industry – directly from leading figures within the community.

The competitive aspect of the show appeals to me as well. I am competitive. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that I saw The Insurance Apprentice as a chance to challenge myself and, with some luck, to emerge as a winner. The combination of learning, networking, and the competitive environment convinced me that participating in The Insurance Apprentice would be a valuable step in my professional development, offering insights and experiences that are rare to come by elsewhere.

In your mind, what qualities should an ambassador of The Insurance Apprentice have?

The insurance industry faces challenges like never before – 1 in 100-year climate events seem to be on the news every day, AI threatens not only to increase insurance fraud but open insureds up to cybercrime like never before, and South Africa’s energy crisis seems to worsen year by year.  These are new challenges that require innovative and, perhaps unorthodox, solutions. 

The South African insurance industry doesn’t need more of the same – it needs young thinkers with the necessary know-how to meet today’s challenges with expertise and enthusiasm.  This is the ideal ambassador for The Insurance Apprentice.

It goes without saying that this ambassador must have a comprehensive understanding of the insurance sector, particularly the interplay among various industry role players.

Innovation can be confusing and uncomfortable, and so the ambassador should be capable of clearly and confidently presenting ideas, representing the program and industry on public platforms.  This involves translating complex insurance topics into understandable language for diverse audiences.

Finally, strong analytical and rational thinking abilities are essential.  The Insurance Apprentice is tough, and so an ideal ambassador must be able to assess situations, ask impactful questions, understand differing perspectives, and formulate logical conclusions – all in front of a camera crew. 

Who has been the biggest influencer on your career and why?

In an industry like ours, it is difficult to say. Becoming a well-rounded practitioner in the insurance industry, or any field for that matter, is rarely the result of the influence of one person.

Donald Dinnie does, however, stand out as pivotal driving force in my career as his mentorship is the cornerstone in my professional development, offering me invaluable lessons and insights into both legal practice and the insurance industry.

Others whose influence I appreciate include Patrick Bracher, Michael Chronis, and Gregory Nott, all directors at Norton Rose Fulbright, as well as Celeste Aitken (a former colleague), who have all generously shared their wisdom and taken time to guide and engage in meaningful conversations with me.

The broader team of support staff at Norton Rose Fulbright have also played a crucial role. They have not only enhanced my technical legal skills but have also been instrumental in honing my soft skills, including navigating corporate environments effectively.

Outside of Norton Rose Fulbright, mentors like Tinyiko Risibi-Termark, Chief Operating Officer for Santam Re and International, and Advocate Mmule Mpakanyane have profoundly influenced my career. Their deep knowledge of the legal and insurance industries and their willingness to leverage their expansive networks for my benefit have opened numerous doors and provided me with a broader perspective of the industry.

We are all the sum of our experiences and encounters, so I thank those that have shaped me, and my career, and commit to embracing the lessons you’ve taught me, opening doors and sharing knowledge with those I meet along my journey.

In a tweet of 140 characters explain why insurance ROCKS!!!

Insurance is the unsung hero of stability and growth, protecting us from life’s uncertainties and fuelling economic resilience and growth!

What would be your dream Apprentice task and why?

Ideally, I’d be asked to do something similar to TIA 2023’s SHA Cyber Breach Response Task.  This is where I feel most at home, relying on my experience in NRF’s Cyber Breach Response Team, my legal knowhow, and my passion for technology.

I’d also love to do something involving AI and its applications in the insurance industry.  With my strong background in technology and law, I am particularly interested in how AI can innovate and transform the insurance landscape. This type of challenge would be a perfect match for my skill set and interests, highlighting the fusion of technology and insurance.

What song would you choose for your Insurance Apprentice victory dance?

Elton John – I’m Still Standing

A message to all the TIA sponsors?

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the sponsors of The Insurance Apprentice for your invaluable support and commitment to nurturing talent in the insurance industry. Your contribution goes beyond financial backing; it represents an investment in the future of our field. By providing a platform for learning, competition, and growth, you are not only shaping the careers of aspiring professionals like myself, but also driving innovation and excellence in the insurance sector. Thank you for believing in the potential of this program and its participants. Your support is instrumental in making these opportunities possible and in fostering a community of skilled and knowledgeable insurance professionals.

How important is winning for you?

I’d love to win The Insurance Apprentice, but I didn’t apply just for the chance at nabbing an incredible title. While the prospect of winning is undeniably quite appealing, I see the opportunities it presents as more important.

Participating in this competition is an opportunity to deepen my understanding of the insurance industry, to challenge myself, and to connect with like-minded professionals and industry leaders. It also offers an unparalleled branding opportunity. Winning would be a remarkable achievement and a validation of my skills and dedication. However, the knowledge gained, relationships built, and personal growth experienced during this journey are, in many ways, just as rewarding as the victory itself.

Advice to yourself about what you should remember and focus on as you are going into the competition.

Be kind to yourself. Be more forgiving of yourself.

Breathe. Stay composed. 

Trust your knowledge and your skills.   

This competition is about personal growth as much as it is about professional development.

Relish every moment.  Embrace the journey – it is about learning after all. The real victory lies in the journey itself – the insights gained, the feedback from industry stalwarts, and the relationships built.

Don’t take things too personally.  Remain open to the invaluable insights and feedback from seasoned industry professionals, take their advice to heart.

Collaborate with your peers. It’s about striking a balance between competitive spirit and collaborative growth.

Straighten your plait – you’re on camera.