IISA Chairperson of Editorial Committee Profile

This month we profile Chairperson of the IISA Editorial Membership Committee, Dr Yolande Hagedorn-Hansen

Like most of her contemporaries, she embarked upon my career in Insurance purely by accident, not knowing it was to become the passion of her life...

Having completed a degree in Industrial Psychology in the early 1980's, Dr Yolande Hagedorn-Hansen started in the HR department at the Price Forbes Group and soon realised that the administration of Directors salaries bored her. She joined the graduate trainee programme and her first assignment was in the Construction team, managed by an amazing lady, Rita Swales. They worked, debated, travelled, crawled around structures, balanced on walkways around power stations - sporting their safety boots, hard hats and a fear of heights.

She decided to complete her Associateship and Fellowship exams, then at the Chartered Insurance Institute, London. She passed within 5 years, one year late of her target and took a career break to have her two children, working as an examiner of the IISA.

Next was an appointment at Gold Fields of SA comprising gold, platinum, coal, copper and zinc mines. The unbundling of GFSA led to her own insurance brokerage and – after September 11 and contraction of capacity – Alexander Forbes took over the placement, whereupon Yolande joined them. During this time, she travelled kilometers in underground mines, operated a rock drill in the stopes, told overseas underwriters it was "very safe" whilst pictures were falling off the wall during earth tremors. Today, she prefers to negotiate placements with insurers and has worked with Marsh, Aon and ABSA.

When she had her business, she decided to do her Honours degree at Wits and continued to graduate with her Masters in Risk Management at the tender age of 50. She was approached to write the history for Santam's Centenary Celebrations. It was the hardest time of her life writing statistical entrance exams, reading over 6 000 minutes of meetings and spending time in the archives of Santam. Hard work prevailed and today she is proud to be associated with the Insurance Institute in her capacity and as a member of the Professional Standards Committee.