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MiWay on the rise

Published on: 25 October 2011

Last week saw direct, short-term insurer, MiWay win two prestigious awards – the Ask Africa Orange Index Service Excellence award for short-term insurance as well as the Deloitte’s Best Company to Work for award.

But nothing much has changed back at MiWay – they are simply maintaining their unwavering focus on the one area that has brought the company this far: service excellence.

Awesome service is our focus
With its fourth birthday looming in early 2012, René Otto, CEO of MiWay, says the business has an exciting few months ahead. “Our future-looking strategy focuses on achieving aggressive growth and developing new ways to enhance our service offering even further. But one thing is sure: we won’t change the principles of offering our clients awesome service and good value for money.

“Our focus on providing exceptional service to our customers underpins everything we do – it is the foundation of our business and we believe a true differentiator,” he explains.

This focus on service resulted in MiWay claiming the top spot in Ask Africa’s Orange Index for the short-term Insurance sector, an accolade that took the team by surprise – especially since they happen to be the youngest company to ever win the award.

We don’t focus on winning awards; we focus on doing the right things right – and then even better the next time round. For us, the Ask Africa Orange Index provides an independent assessment of the way our customers see us, their experience of our service levels and their feelings afterwards. We measure these internally, but it is always valuable to get an independent view,” he comments.

Our people, our asset
Otto attributes the success of the business to a particularly important asset – the MiWay team.

The fledgling insurer opened its doors to a booming South Africa in 2008, prepared to take on the giants in the fiercely competitive insurance game. A few months later, the global economy collapsed wrecking havoc.

“Our options were simple: quit, or stay and test our belief that there was a portion of the market that really wanted a transparent, service-driven insurer. We stuck to our guns and discovered that our boom-based hopes were conservative. Our business has grown faster and bigger than our initial expectations and continue to do so. But not without us having to innovate and change the traditional direct, short-term model to stay ahead of the curve,” says Otto.

Otto believes it’s not leadership’s role to put greatness into people, but to illicit it; the greatness is already there.

“All our customer experiences are ultimately dependent on the efficiency of our people and, importantly, the way in which each person approaches his or her role. Even team members that don’t directly interact with customers understand this and how their role contributes to the success of our business. Just because you don’t interact with customers does not mean you do not have an influence in their experience either through the quality of your work or through your influence on those around you. This understanding and can-do attitude has grown throughout the team resulting in a particularly high level of personal ownership,” explains Otto.

As clichéd as it may sound, Otto says the business has developed into a close-knit team.

The results speak for themselves: MiWay’s recent win of the Deloitte’s Best Company to Work For award. In fact, MiWay was announced the winner of both the Financial Services – Insurance Category and the Medium Company Category in this prestigious 2011 survey. This was MiWay’s first year of participating in the survey.

Otto says these awards will serve as motivators to work even harder at building a world-class business. “At the end of the day, it is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”