MOTOR vehicles accounted for most of the claims submitted by individuals and businesses over the past year, and individual policyholders see motor accidents as the main risk against which they need to insure, according to Santam’s Insurance Barometer. Pixabay
Most Corporates and consumers polled in a landmark survey on insurance trends see the challenging economy as the biggest risk in South Africa over the next two years, followed by political unrest and social change risk.

The Santam Short-term Insurance Barometer found that 67 percent of corporates and 91 percent of consumers saw the challenging economy as the biggest risk in the country.

Quinten Matthew, the executive head of specialist business at Santam, says the first-of-its-kind barometer in South Africa had been developed to accumulate deep insights into the general insurance sector.

“Our aim is to take the collective ‘temperature’ of consumers, intermediaries and corporates on an annual basis, and draw seminal conclusions which will highlight the contribution the insurance industry brings to the country besides protecting assets of consumers,” he says.

The study was collated polling more than 400 respondents that included intermediaries, corporates, commercial entities and consumers.

“The barometer’s findings will allow the entire industry to add as much value as possible to South Africans who trust them with their insurance. We are also hoping that, by highlighting trends and insights, we can convince more and more people to ensure they are adequately covered. In so doing, the barometer will play a role in minimising the impact extreme weather events, accidents and crime have on our economy,” Matthew says.

The research showed the biggest concern among corporates and commercial entities was theft, followed by motor vehicle accidents and fire. On the consumer front, the top risks were motor vehicle accidents, burglary and theft.

Matthew says the barometer specifically measured the role of insurance in the economy, risk trends impacting South Africa, insurance as a risk mitigation tool, the role of intermediaries and the opportunities for the insurance industry.

“The barometer shows people want tech-led solutions that are personalised, flexible, and often limited to specific circumstances - such as insuring electronics only, rather than investing in home contents insurance. Additionally, consumers need more proactive mitigation of emerging risks like cybercrime. The barometer found it is not yet considered an imminent threat, possibly due to cyber-attacks being massively under-reported,” Matthew says.

“Our barometer showed a net 16 percent of commercial and 33 percent of consumers expect increased use of insurance in the future, but, to remain relevant, we need to be client-centric and innovative,” he says.

“We believe the insurance industry can do even more to promote good risk management, including lobbying the government to maintain infrastructure, invest in emergency services, enforce laws (such as building regulation compliance) and make third party insurance compulsory, ” Matthew says.