Thokozile Mahlangu manages not to roll her eyes when I recount frustrating conversations with insurance company call centres. "I wouldn’t say call centres are the voice of the insurance industry," she says, which is a line she may find herself repeating many times as the new CEO of the Insurance Institute of SA. Call centres are the frontline that the public deals with, but the claims department is the real voice of the industry, she says. "They make or break the company. It’s their job to live up to the claims that were made to the customer when they bought an insurance policy, and good service has become top of mind for the industry. It is a noble profession," she insists. Despite insurance companies’ bad reputations, the small number of complaints that reach the ombudsman show that simmering ill will is out of kilter with the real levels of satisfaction, Mahlangu points out. The Insurance Institute of SA is the industry’s professional body, and Mahlangu has an ambitious plan to r...

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