Safire Insurance Newsletter 2015


July 2016
Cars prevent drunk driving
Honda and Hitachi have teamed up to develop a portable breathalyser that is integrated into a smart car key, and keeps a car from starting if it detects that the driver is under the influence. Researchers are working on two approaches: a system to measure blood alcohol levels from a driver's breath; levels would be detected from sensors mounted in front of the driver (but the driver wouldn't even need to be aware they are being monitored), and touch, which would screen for alcohol when drivers touch the start button, or another designated surface in the car. Alcohol levels would be measured under the skin's surface on a touch-pad with an infrared light scanner.
Dams in crisis
KZN dams are running so low that by early next year some might run dry, warns bulk water provider Umgeni Water. Despite the recent rain and snow that has brought relief in some areas, the worst drought in 70 years has still not been broken. The first dams predicted to reach “failure” level are the Hazelmere and Ixopo dams in February 2017, according to Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder. They would be followed by the Albert Falls and Nagle dams in April 2017, Midmar dam in May 2017, and Inanda dam in December that year.“Failure is when a dam becomes dry and all that is left is silt,” Harichunder explained. However, plans are afoot to introduce mobile packaged desalination plants along the KZN and Western Cape coasts within the next few months.
Green energy
SAA and its low-cost subsidiary Mango have made history by flying the first ever flights on the continent using sustainable biofuel made from tobacco plants grown in Limpopo. Sunchem SA is an industrial research and development company with the patent for the Solaris tobacco plant, from which vegetable crude oil is extracted for aviation fuel. The extracted oil was exported to the US to be refined. A mixture of 30% biofuel and 70% conventional fossil fuel was used for the flights, with no modifications to aircraft or engines required. In another innovative energy project in the UK, waste coffee grounds are being recycled into biomass fuel pellets and coals that can fire up boilers and BBQs.
Driverless car fatality
While the global insurance industry debates the insurance issues raised by the introduction of driverless cars, the question of ‘autopilot” system safety has been highlighted by the first fatality in a driverless car. In May this year, Joshua Brown and his car’s Autopilot technology both failed to see an articulated truck suddenly cross the road. The Tesla ploughed into and under the vehicle. Mr Brown died instantly. However, this article claims that this death does not mean that the technology is unsafe.
Shiselweni Fire Awareness Day
On Thursday, 7 July 2016, the community of Shiselweni braved cold temperatures to convey a message: Prevent Wild Fires. The fire awareness day has become an annual event in Nhlangano (Swaziland) and is driven by local government, the local forestry companies, business and the local community. The day started with a march through the streets of Nhlangano. Each of the 15 schools that were present had prepared a banner with its own message highlighting the dangers of fires, either veld fires, forest fires or domestic fires at their homes. The march was accompanied by the Royal Swaziland Brass Band (seen here) which brought a festive atmosphere to proceedings.
Safire representative attends international workshop
Safire Crop Division’s Gareth Smallbones recently attended the 5th Swiss Re Agricultural Insurance Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop was entitled “Stakeholder Involvement in Agriculture Insurance – Working Smarter Together”, with emphasis on PPP (Public Private Partnerships) and the role of governments in promoting agriculture and providing the necessary infrastructure and assistance to emerging farmers and farming communities. Delegates also discussed the use of advanced technology to assist with underwriting and claims, with particular focus on Index Based livestock and crop insurance. Says Gareth, “From Safire’s perspective it was very interesting to see the amount of participation from the different countries in Africa and the perceived need for insurance in these countries.”
#TeamSafire takes on Imana Wild Ride
Warren Price, who represented #TeamSafire at the recent Cape Epic has partnered with Darren Lill to take on the Imana Wild Ride from 31 July to 3 August. Darren is a new partner for Price, who in 2015 completed the race with Trevor Rowe. However, when Rowe withdrew from the 2016 Imana event, Darren was keen to join the Safire team and take on this challenging ride that sees riders crossing the magnificent rivers, beaches and cliff tops of the Wild Coast to reach the finish line. The Imana Wild Ride is not just about riders winning a priority MTB event: it generates income used to build classrooms along the route and in the Eastern Cape.
The importance of FPAs
In 1954 the Midlands FPA was established and some 30 years later became known as the KwaZulu-Natal Fire Protection Association, over time becoming the Umbrella Fire Protection Association in terms of the National Veld & Forest Fire Act 101 of 1998, facilitating provincial FPA participation in veld and forest fire management and related risks strategies for KZN. Read more about the KZNFPA here. Ruth Bezuidenhout of Safire’s Crop Division, comments, “If you are not a member of an FPA, in terms of Act 101 you are automatically presumed negligent should a third party/parties suffer a loss/losses as a result of fire spreading from your property. As a FPA member, you are automatically presumed to be not negligent and the onus is on the third party/parties to prove your negligence. From Safire’s perspective, a landowner who becomes a FPA member is showing responsibility in terms of the management of his land. These are the kind of clients that we as an insurer want to partner with.”
What rubbish!
Safer driving
Firefighter arson
The average South African creates about 0.7kg of rubbish a day, including thrown away food that amounts to an estimated 10 million tons of wasted food annually worth R60-billion. Of this, about 20% is fresh fruit and vegetables. Around 50 million tons of electronic equipment is dumped globally each year, much of it in landfills where the toxic chemicals contained in some products can create a hazard.

Research by an international insurance company shows that people who pass their driving test the first time are most likely to be in a car crash, while those who pass on their third attempt are the safest drivers on the road. Of those who failed their first test, 32% said that failing had made them focus on driving more carefully, while 29% said that they had learned from their mistakes.

Firefighter arson is a long-standing problem that impacts fire departments and communities across the USA. History suggests that firefighter arson is not a new phenomenon. Media reports suggest there are possibly over 100 arrests per year in the USA alone. While this is minor in comparison to the over 1 million firefighters nationwide, the impact of these incidents is profound and disturbing.

Rio Olympics about to start

Amidst controversy over stadium readiness, health worries over the Zika virus, Russian doping scandals and security issues, the Olympics and Paralympics will be staged in Rio de Janeiro in early August. While the official television trailer is informative and highlights the scenic location, the animated version by BBS Sport has its own magic. Let the games begin!

Economic Tidbits
Economic Tidbits
Economic Tidbits
• £9,000 – what a fraudster had to pay in costs to an insurer after his claim to have suffered whiplash was found to be dishonest because he posted social media pictures of himself running a marathon and climbing a mountain. Insurers are making increasing use of social media to investigate fraudulent claims.

• +20 – estimated number of health insurers in Zimbabwe with over 800 000 customers. Doctors now only accept cash claiming they are not being paid by medical insurers.

• 2880 – number of public protest gatherings in South Africa between 2013 and 2016. More than half, like the recent riots in Tshwane, were violent, making SASRIA (South African Special Risks Insurance Association) cover essential.

• $382 200 – what Serena Williams lost out on in terms of her Wimbledon prize money through the value of the pound dropping after the Brexit decision by Great Britain. Prior to Brexit, it would have equated to $2.9742 million, but that dropped to $2,592 million after the vote.

• 50 000 rubles – amount of free cover offered by Russian bank Sberbank to its Pokemon Go playing clients. The hugely popular game which sees players traversing their neighbourhoods to capture rare and elusive virtual characters has resulted in numerous injuries.

• $5 million – what insurance cover for space tourists currently costs. As space travel becomes a reality expect more insurance firms to enter the market.

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