07 Sep Same book, new chapter
After a successful career in Santam, Chief Operating Officer Len Faul opens a new chapter at Snyman & Van Der Vyver.
Len, tell us about your early days.
I grew up in Graaff Reinet. After matriculating in 1992, I completed a B Proc Law degree at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
And your time at Santam?
I spent a number of years under the yellow umbrella and was head of the Santam Legal Department in Cape Town for 12 years.
The exposure and knowledge you pick up working for a corporate is great because you have access to extensive resources. I was also very fortunate to work on some major strategic projects which helped to shape Santam into the brand leader that they are today – I am proud to have been part of that journey to leadership.
Was it a difficult decision to leave a corporate giant and step into a smaller business environment?
It obviously required some thinking. I was privileged to have spent time at Santam but a new opportunity presented itself and after 6 months at Snyman & Van Der Vyver, I know that I made the right decision. I joined a special, successful family that spoke to my values as a person. While Santam was a brand leader, I would refer to Snyman & Van Der Vyver as a leader brand – not the biggest, but perhaps the most admired in their particular space.
Where does your passion for the insurance industry come from?
The role that insurance plays in our countries economy is often taken for granted. The essence of insurance is to help each other by creating a pool of funds to use when disaster strikes. It is the simplest form of helping each other that appeals to me. It’s actually not about what we sell – it’s more about what we mean and who we are.
What has changed over the years in the industry?
There have been legislation changes but, as in any sector, technology is a key driver of change. Let’s assume that all serious companies will stay abreast of change – the way that we distribute services and interact or transact with clients. Irrespective of the technology used, it is always going to come down to how one translates this to improve service levels. In this respect, the differentiating factor for Snyman & Van Der Vyver 20 years ago and Snyman & Van Der Vyver today remains service excellence.