WELL-KNOWN local insurance broker and member of the Meadow Group, Fanie du Preez, recently celebrated 50 years in the insurance industry. Fanie, who delivered newspapers as a child for extra money, has achieved many milestones in the five decades. He shares his journey with the PE Express:How did you end up working in the insurance industry? Du Preez: Growing up on a farm in Kirkwood and later moving to Algoa Park, I had no intentions of working in insurance at first. My first job after school was at CNA, and that’s where someone from Sanlam approached me with this opportunity. Back then, the insurance industry was not as big as now. However, I took that leap of faith and just went for it.Tell us about your experience with your first client at Sanlam. Du Preez: I was only working for three months at Sanlam, when I lost my first client in a motor accident outside Swartkops. His insurance was not yet valid, but I gathered all the information and submitted the claim. His beneficiary was paid ex gratia, which means doing something from a sense of moral obligation rather than because of any legal requirement. After that, I had 20 instances of the same nature. That also made me realise what my job entailed and how I can actually make a difference in someone’s life.When did you start working at the Meadow Group? Du Preez: My two sons and I started this firm when I retired from Sanlam. The biggest advantage we have, is that we represent all the insurance companies. Du Preez in France means “Meadow”, and that’s why we have decided on the name, Meadow Group. This is also my legacy and a company I am very fond of. How did you manage to work for so long in insurance? Du Preez: In this industry, one must have various characteristics to be successful. You are basically your own boss and must have self determination and a good amount of respect, as well. The key to succeeding in insurance, is to enjoy your work, otherwise you will just be average. What has been your biggest challenge in the industry? Du Preez: My biggest challenge is that the industry is constantly changing. When I started at Sanlam years ago, I never anticipated starting my own company with my sons. However, because the industry is always changing, we have to change with it. And that can always be a challenge. What do you do in your spare time – outside the office and seeing clients? Du Preez: I’m infatuated with travelling and have travelled all around the world, especially on cruise ships. I try to travel every year for a few weeks. It’s my way of breaking away from my busy life. Are you planning on retiring soon? Du Preez: I love what I do and this industry is my life. I have no intentions of retiring anytime soon. Today, I offer services to a lot of clients. I have clients that have been with me for more than 40 years. And, at the end of the day, these clients became my friends. I can write a book about all my experiences in the industry. However, I want to make sure my clients are taken care of, so I keep working. What is your motto in life? Du Preez: I am driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, which has enabled me to constantly push boundaries. I constantly try to add value, wherever I go.