Authentic leadership in action

by | Jul 18, 2022

Nick Louw, Unisure Group CEO, on how the Unisure ethos of “People. Passion. Partners” drives everything we do 

At a time when misinformation is rife and political and economic instability widespread, trust has become a highly valued commodity. And citizens around the world are looking to business (61%) – over and above NGOs (57%), government (53%) and media (51%)1 – to step up and help solve society’s problems.

This has placed new demands on leaders. According to Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer report1, not only do 86% of citizens expect CEOs to publicly speak out about societal challenges and the pandemic’s impact, but 68% take it further in saying that “CEOs should step in when the government does not fix societal problems”.

Leaders of businesses that build (and earn) their brand reputation around trust, then, have never been better placed to make an impact and change their employees’ and customers’ lives for the better. And at a time when issues such as improving healthcare (+61 net change), addressing climate change (+51 net change) and closing the economic and social divide (+48 net change)1 are gaining urgency, The Unisure Group’s mission to offer multi-faceted international health and life insurance solutions, often in difficult situations and challenging regions where other insurers either don’t have the expertise or the appetite to take on the job, has never been greater.

People. Passion. Partners. Together we do great things.

In a world full of mistrust and uncertainty – in institutions, science, information, and people – employees need a leader they can trust. A leader who is honest about themselves, creates conditions that allow their employees to be who they truly are, and provides an environment that brings some calm and comfort to an otherwise chaotic world.

– Steve Dion, Founder and CEO of Dion Leadership, for Fast Company2

In its simplest form, an insurance policy is a promise; a promise from the insurer that they will protect their policyholder’s risk and make good on that promise should something happen. For most industries, but particularly the insurance industry, trust and credibility in your brand are key. And you cannot have trust and credibility if it’s not something that is authentically embedded in a company’s mission and vision.

There are three key pillars that lie at the heart of everything The Unisure Group does: “People. Passion. Partners”. It’s a company mission statement that ticks all the right boxes and one would be forgiven for assuming it’s a mission that was dreamt up by a clever marketing department. In actual fact, it was Unisure’s Group CEO, Nick Louw, who came up with the concept and it’s something that he is passionate about both practising and preaching at all levels of our organisation.

Leading with authenticity

Every company needs a capable, authentic and passionate leader at the helm, and that’s exactly what Unisure Group Chairman Dr Graham Woolford saw in Nick.

“Nick is a leader with tremendous empathy, considerable EQ, and great clarity of vision,” Graham3 says. “And most importantly, he believes in our company’s vision of providing quality, portable and affordable health and life insurance cover to as many people around the world as possible.”

Nick has been The Unisure Group’s CEO for just under a year, having worked his way up within the company from Group Finance Manager (2015) to Group Chief Financial Officer (2017). He is an authentic leader through and through – he’s clear on his values, leads with heart and integrity, is transparent in his vision, and he keeps communication channels open with his employees.

Two months ago, at a strategic partnership launch of Unisure’s International Private Medical Insurance health plan in Kenya, Nick spoke about his drive to promote reinvestment into Africa. It’s a big part of what he hopes to achieve in his role as CEO, and a passion point that many members of the Unisure team share.

“Ensuring that capital is retained in-country is the only way that Africa is going to take the next step forward economically,” Nick told a rapt audience at the launch4. “Through Unisure encouraging reinvestment in the continent by improving and developing insurance services in Africa, the continent is one step closer to enhancing its GDP and reaching its full potential.”

Putting people first

Passion for the power that insurance has to change lives is a big part of Nick’s ambition, but he’s acutely aware that it all starts with the people he leads and the team that he is building around the world.

“At the end day, in health and life insurance, its peoples’ lives we are dealing with, often at some of the most difficult times our members will ever experience,” he explains. “I firmly believe that the most critical part to us succeeding on our mission is our people and the culture we create,” he says. “It can be difficult to get the balance right, but we need to look after our people. That is what will ultimately make the difference between good service and exceptional service, which is one of the most critical factors in health insurance.”

Happy, healthy employees who are passionate about what they do, who feel that they’re making a difference, and who are invested in the company’s vision can be a company’s greatest assets. At a time when work/life balance has arguably been more elusive than ever and employee engagement is at an all-time low5, how one leads one’s employees can be a company’s greatest differentiator and determinant of success.

Considering that The Unisure Group’s focus lies firmly with “People, Passion, and Partners”, the future of our international insurance solutions looks bright.

For more information on The Unisure Group’s vision and support of Tree-Nation and the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust’s Rhino Protection Project, visit


  1. 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer
  2. Fast Company, We need authentic leadership more than ever in 2022, Steve Dion (Founder and CEO of Dion Leadership)
  3. Greetings from Graham, Dr Graham Woolford, writing for the Unisure staff newsletter, The Baobab, December 2021
  4. Nick Louw, Unisure Group CEO, speaking at the media launch of the Unisure, MUA and Smart Applications launch, 11 May 2022, Kenya, Nairobi
  5. Gallup, State of the Global Workplace 2022 report