Celebrating 100 years in the industry this year, Santam is South Africa’s largest short term insurer. How could we not catch up with them?
Santam is South Africa's largest short-term insurer with over 22% in market share. Incredibly, the company started out back in March of 1918. As the Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Trust en Assuransie Maatskappy.A century later, Santam is instantly recognizable by that trademark yellow umbrella in the logo. It says; they're here to protect you from the rainy days. The brand promise, Insurance good and proper, emphasizes responsible and ethical insurance.Santam currently insures risks to the value of over R4 trillion, and last year paid out an astounding 99% of all claims. CompareGuru caught up with them to ask about their business. What's the secret to surviving 100 years in the industry?
Give us a bit of background into what brought about the beginning of Santam, and what has motivated you to grow over the years?
Santam opened its doors for business 100 years ago. From a modest insurance focus, it has grown into South Africa’s largest short-term insurer with a diverse set of clients.What has motivated us to grow and prosper over the years is an understanding that we are an invaluable partner in the lives of many South African families and businesses. We offer them a sense of security and the capacity for resilience. Our approach has always been future-focused and about helping clients to better understand their risk landscape, as well as being in a position to bounce back from a disaster.We have also come to realize the enormous role we play in the broader society. As a respected brand and as a corporate citizen, this is something that continues to motivate us as we help more South Africans become aware of the importance of having insurance and being financially astute.
Santam serves personal and commercial clients across South Africa and Namibia. Our Policyholders typically have high expectations of their insurer. They expect quality service and a reliable service provider with deep expertise and experience.Santam always strives to meet these expectations and last year it was recognized as the:
#1 insurer in client satisfaction (particularly in settling claims and handling complaints), according to the South African Customer Service Index (SAcsi 2017);
#1 short term insurer in corporate and personal insurance by colleagues in the FIA;
And #1 business insurer by the Sunday Times Top Brands Survey 2017.
What sets Santam apart from the rest? Is there anything you offer that no other opposition could?
Santam is constantly adapting to the evolving risk landscape. Over the years, we’ve employed some of the best people, providing policyholders with relevant product offerings and optimizing our systems to drive efficiency. Our strength lies in our reputation, underpinned by the quality of our products, service, and ability to pay claims. The fact that 85 of the Top-100 JSE companies have Santam as their insurer is testament to the value that companies place in our service.
What will continue to set your company apart in the future?
Tapping into our geographical footprint, scale, brand strength, diverse product offering and distribution networks, we plan to invest in our people and continue to innovate further to remain a leading insurer as well as a valued corporate citizen.
How did Santam handle the challenges of 2017, with regards to catastrophes such as the Knysna Fires, the Cape Storm or the Flooding in Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal?
The disasters of 2017 were a test of our true character and resolve. We responded to the Knysna fires and we were the first insurer to have established a local catastrophe management office and client center on the second day after the fires. We showed empathy and humanity by immediately adapting our claims policy and operating procedures to fast track interim payments to clients to assist them in their time of need.Through our significant footprint and vast network of resources we managed to take the volumes of claims emanating from the Western Cape storms in our stride, whilst dealing with Knysna. The significant claims volumes from the KZN floods and Gauteng storms were also dealt with swiftly through our established networked and processes.Santam not only passed this test but lived up to our brand promise of delivering insurance, good and proper.
How can your clients achieve the best results and gain the most satisfaction from your brand?
We expect our clients to measure us against our promise of providing insurance good and proper. By treating our clients fairly – a measure on which we lead in the industry – we also believe that the best results will be achieved.
How are you using technology to adapt and create the best experience for clients?
Santam’s implementation of new technologies is about increasing efficiencies. This includes the scale of claims handling and enhancing data management, so that we are able to price and underwrite as accurately and affordably as possible. We also want to use technology to improve our transactional and communication capabilities.
How, specifically, does your company determine success? Do you measure it through growth, stability, profitability or something else?
Santam's history is marked by a sense of determination, courage and commitment to become the leading short-term insurer in South Africa. We gauge some of our success against the degree to which we meet our clients’ expectations and more broadly on the extent to which we deliver on our promise of insurance good and proper. We constantly measure ourselves against generating profitable growth and bench-marked returns for our shareholders.
Over the last couple of years the world has changed quite drastically. Has the insurance industry changed? If so, how, and have you managed to keep pace?
The insurance industry is evolving rapidly. As the world continues to change, Santam adapts to meet the needs of our Policyholders and the evolving risk landscape. To remain ahead of our competitors and non-traditional market entrants, we explore new opportunities which are aligned to our vision and purpose.
What qualities does Santam look for in its staff? What makes you say ‘Yes! We want this person to be a part of our team?’
Santam’s values are integrity, passion, humanity, innovation and excellence. We look for people that best exemplify these values.
If your brand could be associated with one single word in the minds and thoughts of customers and employees alike, which word would that be?