Investing in wildlife and communities

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SATIB Insurance Brokers (SIB) is, as far as we know, the only South African insurance organisation to have established a registered PBO / NPO division: SATIB Conservation Trust (SCT) – which meaningfully supports conservation, wildlife and communities.

“Establishing the SATIB Conservation Trust is one way of giving back to the industry, using our insurance division,” explains Brian Courtenay, SATIB Trust Chairman and past Chairman of SATIB Insurance Brokers. “After nearly 47 years in the insurance industry, I am once again back in business – supporting conservation initiatives and sharing my knowledge as a voluntary lecturer at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC)”, explains Courtenay.

“Here in South Africa, there is a huge need to support meaningful initiatives. It is a case of people not remaining silent bystanders but proactively taking action. It’s about dispelling the anxiety people have about one person not being able to do anything – collectively individuals can make a huge difference,” he enthused.

SATIB Conservation Trust has become a key player in a myriad of innovative conservation initiatives in South Africa and beyond. Among the projects currently being rolled out are a programme promoting lion management of small parks; a lion project in the Kgalagadi; lion research in the Kruger; the development of beehive fences to protect elephants; creating solutions to  human-animal conflict and a programme to protect ground hornbills.

“A couple of years’ ago, I sold my shareholding in SATIB to First Equity Risk, after a very rewarding career in the insurance industry, in particular the last 25 years of my working life when I specialised in the wildlife, tourism and hospitality industry. This developed into a niche for SATIB.  We pioneered the wildlife mortality insurance programmes on specific breeding projects of expensive animals, under our subsidiary company Wildlife Broking Services, and then the hospitality insurance programmes through SATIB. We are today, probably the market-leaders in hospitality and wildlife insurance in Africa with five branch offices in South Africa, and offices in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We are proud of our business model which allows us to invest 100% of our donor funding into the nominated research project. We are able to do this as SATIB Insurance Brokers, through their holding company Ivory Group, fund the Trust’s core expenses, such as administration, infrastructure, accounting and creative issues.  Our business partners are BDO Spencer Steward as our nominated auditors, and Livingston Leandy Inc. as our attorneys. Both offer pro bono services. We also have formal business partners, such as GWM Motors Africa, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, DHL Express Couriers and Stellenrust Wine Estate who support our projects.”

“SATIB Insurance Brokers have a cover-holder facility for the insurance protection of wildlife/breeding programmes. The syndicate underwriters are the Markel syndicate at Lloyds and the association with Markel goes back many years. Markel recently made a R100 000 donation to Satib Conservation Trust as a commitment to conservation in Africa”.

Courtenay  consciously decided to give back to the industry that has supported him so well for so long, so he registered  a non-government organisation (NGO) as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) with SARS, under the banner name of SATIB Conservation Trust (SCT), as an organisation supporting wildlife and communities in Southern Africa by donor-funding research and community projects

“Many donors to the Trust are clients of SATIB, who in many cases, have been with us for up to 22 years and want to support the work being done by us in the conservation world.  As a registered PBO with SARS, we are able to provide tax certificates and benefits. We are hugely proud that since our inception two years ago, we have accomplished huge credibility. We are working alongside Oxford University UK, Rhodes University Eastern Cape, South African National Parks (SanParks) and many reserves in SA. I am hugely grateful to our Board of Trustees, all of whom are voluntary workers, who have steered us so astutely.

Courtenay is committed to conservation. For the past 21 years he has been a trustee of Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT); for the past five years for UK charity, Elephants for Africa, in Botswana and now also a trustee of the Lion Management Forum of South Africa.

Courtenay has been appointed as a trustee of the Lion Management Forum of South Africa (LiMF), working with SanParks on the wild lion populations in small private game reserves and various National Parks around South Africa: “We at LiMF needed to research the current status of wild lions in private/ national parks/ game reserves, so we have appointed a PhD student, through Rhodes University, to conduct this three year research project. SATIB Conservation Trust have sponsored this student’s fees at Rhodes University, and will provide a 4X4 vehicle for the research programme, enforcing a commitment by SCT in the interests of conservation in South Africa”, said Courtenay.

Courtenay has become a specialist in Protected Area Management: “One issue I have learned over the past 25 years, having been actively involved in risk management measures in the protected areas in Africa (national parks, conservancies, private game parks and safari lodges), is the lack of knowledge relating to risk controls and measures. The hospitality business is potentially a high risk industry, yet there is generally a poor understanding of hugely important issues, such as disclaimers; indemnity procedures; interpretation of general liability programmes; employers’ liability, and the use of sub-contractors. Various national parks in Africa employ a panel of attorneys on virtually a full-time basis to handle conflict issues which arise from services provided by these parks,” says Courtenay.