Santam has been voted the leading short-term insurer in South Africa by the broker community in the Commercial and Corporate insurance categories at the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa’s (FIA) annual Insurer of the Year awards ceremony held in Johannesburg on Thursday, 12 June.
On celebrating the achievement, Santam’s Executive Head of Commercial and Personal Insurance, Edward Gibbens, said: “Today, more than ever, we recognise the essential role insurers play in society and we know it is our task to demonstrate the real value our business has for individuals, businesses and indeed, the South African economy.”
“With our promise of Insurance Good and Proper, to both policyholders and intermediaries, we recognise our role through our partnerships and continuous investments in our business with the intention of exceeding expectations,” added Gibbens.
Gibbens said intermediaries have always been and will continue to be an essential component to Santam’s business model. “We are immensely proud and grateful to have been chosen as the leading short-term insurance company in the relevant categories by South Africa’s independent intermediaries.”
In the past year, Santam demonstrated its commitment by introducing a number of initiatives aimed at improving its value proposition to intermediaries and in turn, policyholders. “In March this year we launched an online portal for our intermediaries to conduct their business and we’ve been encouraged by the exceptional take-up within the first three months since implementation,” said Gibbens.
Quinten Matthew, Santam’s Executive Head of Specialist Business said, “Santam has established strong partnerships with our intermediaries and their feedback has been fundamental in the formulation of our value proposition. We’ve always wanted to provide the type of service that supports the work that our intermediaries do in this business and I believe we have made great strides in achieving just that.”
With the rise in catastrophe-related events in the recent years, Santam has been focused on several underwriting initiatives with the view to address the risk associated with changing weather patterns. The insurer introduced and shared the Geographical Information System (GIS), a flood and fire risk model to mitigate potential flood, sea-surge or fire risk, with its intermediaries. A weather alert system has also been implemented whereby all policyholders and intermediaries now receive text messages about pending weather-related events.
Santam furthermore invested substantially in driving efficiency throughout its business, notably in its claims operating model. “Not only have we revised our claims processing model, we are also investing significantly in technology to contain the cost of claims and providing our clients with more flexible insurance products,” said Matthew.
He added, “We also know that the wider our product reach and footprint, the easier it is for our intermediaries to do business in other parts of the world.”
Through its recent partnership with Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM), Santam is able to provide technical expertise and support to the group’s short-term insurance businesses in emerging markets.
“The annual FIA awards present Santam with a very important yardstick to determine if the business is correctly applying itself to the demands of the market. We have retained our position as industry leader by being a diversified business, investing in our intermediaries and having the ability to adapt to social, environmental and economic shifts over the long term,” concluded Matthew.