Head of intermediated distribution at Santam
Which 2017 events do you consider to have made the biggest impact on the insurance industry? And your business?
The Southern Cape fires this year – the largest event of its kind in recent South African history – had the biggest impact on the local insurance industry, including Santam. The combination of severe storms in Cape Town and surrounding areas, intense hail in Gauteng, and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal were also major natural disasters that impacted us.
What changes and advances do you consider to be positive for the industry?
There are a number of advantages that advanced technology presents to our industry, especially when it comes to underwriting risks. Intelligence gathering and high-volume data analysis are helping to drive financial decisions. This data is then used to determine a risk profile and, ideally, a tailored policy. More insurers are starting to tap into connected devices to get access to data that was inaccessible previously.
Read more: AI – delivering value to the IoT strategy
At Santam specifically, we have found a number of opportunities to provide our intermediaries and clients with innovative underwriting and claims solutions, including online portals, digital claims assessments and scientific underwriting that include geotagging and predictive modelling.
AT SANTAM SPECIFICALLY, WE HAVE FOUND A NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES
TO PROVIDE OUR INTERMEDIARIES AND CLIENTS WITH INNOVATIVE UNDERWRITING AND CLAIMS SOLUTIONS.
Sectors to watch out for next year?
Insurance businesses face a growing number of challenges, which range from social and geopolitical tension to climate change and new technologies that present new business models. A number of insurtech players have entered the South African market this year to challenge the insurance industry.
Traditional insurers need to adapt and incorporate more digital and technological advancements into their offering while staying focused on what they are good at.
The hurdles to overcome?
Climate change remains a major problem for insurers across the globe. Santam has a strong diversification strategy across insurance lines to cushion the effect of lowered profits. This challenge is receiving strategic focus by expanding capacity in the areas of risk management and surveying, implementing premium rate increases, reducing exposure to certain types of risks and increasing the level of risk sharing and risk management collaboration with our clients.