Sarina de Beer, MD of Ask Afrika

Ask Afrika partnered with the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) to conduct the research survey that culminated in the highly anticipated 2017 FIA Awards ceremony, held on 8 June 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre. The Awards celebrate the financial services brands that provide the best overall product, relationship and service to the country’s financial advisors and insurance brokers.

The 19th FIA Awards is not only a celebration of exceptional insurance brands, but an opportunity to highlight the value that intermediaries bring to the table by ensuring good financial outcomes for consumers. The FIA Awards are highly competitive and the winning companies are recognised for going the extra mile for South Africa’s insurance brokers and financial advisors, as well as truly having the consumers’ interests at heart. Awards are given in 10 categories to reflect the main financial advice disciplines that FIA members are active in including employee benefits, financial planning (life & investment), healthcare (health insurance & medical schemes) and short term insurance.

Lizelle van der Merwe, CEO at the FIA said, “We are thrilled to have worked with Ask Afrika in taking the 19th annual FIA Awards to the next level and look forward to utilising the survey results in raising awareness of the value of the FIA, our members and our private sector supporters to consumers in the coming year.

“Ask Afrika’s deep understanding of brands and consumers fits perfectly with the FIA’s objectives of raising awareness amongst consumers in respect of the value provided by brokers and financial advisors. They have the necessary experience assist the FIA in leveraging the intellectual capital that resides in the FIA Awards, thereby delivering back to our members and making a real impact on service levels and the perception of brokers and advisors within South Africa.”


Sarina de Beer, MD of Ask Afrika, who unpacked the methodology at the awards ceremony, said, “Over the years Ask Afrika has built up its reputation so that we are now recognised as one of the most credible benchmark partners in the local market research industry. We have our data integrity and methodology down to a ‘T’. We partner with our clients in the financial sector, such as FIA, to conduct benchmark surveys and technical research that is not only robust, but provides knowledge and innovative advice which supports businesses to align themselves better with their stakeholders. Our research allows executives to think big about business and to work with data strategically.”

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The FIA’s challenge to Ask Afrika was to reconceptualise and reinvigorate the 2017 FIA Awards data collection and survey process through engagement with both stakeholders and members. Special care was taken to match the old and new Awards methodologies to ensure that the results accurately reflect FIA member brokers’ experience of product suppliers in product quality, service quality, relationship quality and overall satisfaction.

“More than 8000 contracts were rated by FIA members in the data collection process,” said de Beer, “The 2017 survey was conducted in two phases and further improved with the introduction of a more robust follow-up diagnostic questionnaire to gain deeper insight into key issues facing FIA members and the wider intermediated distribution environment. Ask Afrika will share some of the top line trends gained during the survey process toward the end of July.”

Phase 1: Ask Afrika designed the survey, a short online questionnaire that was distributed to all FIA members (using the FIA member database). This methodology was chosen to give all members an equal chance to participate in the survey and to ensure that their views were incorporated in the awards. Data collection took place between 14 March and 4 May 2017 and there was a high response rate from FIA members.

“The research results were independently audited by BDO and a series of statistical tests on the data reinforced the validity and reliability of the results. We will continue to build a relevant and valuable measurement process in partnership with the FIA as we strive to invigorate the awards and do not rule out the possibility for new categories from 2018,” said de Beer.

Phase 2: A more robust diagnostic questionnaire was designed to gain further insight into why FIA members rated a company in a specific way and to identify actionable levers for product suppliers. This survey was launched in the Ask Afrika call centre on 10 May and data collection was completed by 23 May. A random sample was pulled from the database, for this phase of the research. 

“Phase 2 is an independent measure asking about the issues that FIA members expressed as important to their business and was completed in addition to the survey process,” said de Beer.

The FIA’s response to the research

Gareth Stokes, Head: Brand & Communications at the FIA said, “We would like to thank our 2017 FIA Awards survey partner, Ask Afrika, for their hard work and dedication during the 2017 survey process. Ask Afrika delivered exactly what we expected from an independent survey partner. They are a professional outfit that takes care of the details, freeing up staff at the FIA to focus on the big picture issues that affect our intermediary members.”

Research reports available to the financial services sector

Ask Afrika is the largest independent research company in South Africa with over 21 years of experience in the research industry. As thought leaders in service measurement, the Ask Afrika Orange Index as the best-known service benchmark is the most widely referenced customer service benchmark since 2001 with comparisons across 33 industries and 135 companies in 2016 including the financial, medical aid and insurance industries.

Diagnostic research reports with in-depth insights linking to the Ask Afrika Orange Index are available to the financial services industry, with an end-user or intermediary perspective. For more information or to order a research report please contact: Sarina de Beer, Ask Afrika MD or Dr Amelia Richards  or call 012 428 7499.