Knysna’s tragedy of under-insurance


A few months ago, a catastrophic wildfire swept through Knysna, gutting 600 homes, killing seven, displacing 10 000 people, and causing an estimated R4-billion or more of damage. Some lost everything they owned in what was declared the most severe wildfire in South African history since the so-called Great Fire of 1869, which raged through a similar part of the southern Cape. Extreme winds and devastating drought, coupled with extremely hot ambient conditions, combined to create this horrific event. The aftermath of the initial tragedy is that over half of the formal homes were not covered by insurance, and many people were seriously under-insured, so they will not be compensated in full and will have to cover a portion of their loss themselves.



Working together



Fraud and inflated claims cost insurers lots of money and send premiums soaring. Some panel beaters, suppliers and other repairers are often interested in finding out whether you are insured before providing a quote. This tends to suggest the quote will be inflated if you are insured. Ultimately, these costs eventually come back to the consumer in general and to the specific insured as a result of a higher loss ratio.  At Safire, we do our best to confirm your repair or replacement costs are fair by investigating these costs and we have SLAs with many of our carefully selected panel beaters and suppliers. We do, however, appreciate the support and involvement of our clients in assisting us at claim stage in achieving this. Please tell us if you think your costs are excessive. Working together will help us keep your premiums at the very competitive  levels you deserve. Please report suspected fraud via our website.




Making a difference


When farmers in the drought-ravaged Eastern Cape contacted Eston farmer MJ Hillhouse for help, he sprang into action. His intention of collecting animal feed for a few farmers snowballed, especially after he was interviewed on East Coast Radio, with aid association Gift of the Givers also getting involved. Communities in need were partnered with those offering assistance to streamline the process. Eventually the trucks transporting feed from donors across KZN were not enough, and ten trains were also arranged to transport the feed. MJ was amazed by the generosity of people who gave so much to help others. “It’s been a challenge but very rewarding,” he says. The campaign made a difference to about 500 farmers across the region. Safire is proud to have assisted with funding for this incredible initiative.



Donkey chomps McLaren



A German court ordered a donkey's owner to pay £5,260 in damages after it bit the rear bumper of a £280,000 McLaren 650S supercar. The vehicle’s owner took the matter to court after the donkey owner’s insurance only agreed to pay for half of the damages, caused when Vitus the donkey bit the back of the car, damaging the paintwork and a carbon-fibre section of bumper. Police said that Vitus may have mistaken the orange McLaren parked next to his enclosure as a giant carrot, a view the insurance company agreed with, stating that the driver was negligent by parking so close to the pasture.


Maintain your home


Homeowner insurance pays for sudden unexpected events, not for gradual deterioration or damage through lack of maintenance. Heavy rain often results in claims relating to water damage from leaking roofs and flooding when blocked drains cause water to enter the house. It is the responsibility of homeowners to keep their home in an insurable condition. Leaks from cracked or shifted roof tiles will be attributed to lack of maintenance and the claim may be rejected. Ensure that nothing can impede rainwater flowing away (but not onto your neighbour’s property). Clean out gutters and unblock storm water drains and drainage outlets. Watch for pools of water, especially on flat roofs. Check roof lining and roof nails and screws. By being vigilant, homeowners can ensure that water damage will be less likely in bad weather.


Safire Berg 100 2018


Billed as one of the toughest one-day MTB events in the country, the seventh Safire Berg 100 will take place on Saturday 17 March 2018, with the race starting in Nottingham Road and ending in Himeville. Every year the race is staged between these two KZN villages, with the start and finish alternating annually. Set in some of the most scenic countryside imaginable, the Safire Berg 100 is a beautiful race to ride and is also a whole lot of fun, with long climbs and descents along a route designed to be fast but not technically difficult. In addition, it is an ideal way to get ready for Sani and JoBerg2C. Entries have just opened, with an early bird special of R380 – the same as last year – until the end of the year, whereafter the entry fee will be R420 per person. To read more or sign up now, click here.


Killer commute

A stressful morning commute may be a deadly way to start the day. Exhaust particles and other pollutants have been found to be dangerously high at this time and could be linked to a wide range of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart failure, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.




Smart shopper

A parrot in London ordered a £10 set of gift boxes via Amazon’s voice-controlled smart-speaker system. After finding that no one in the house had made the purchase, his owner realised that Buddy the parrot could perfectly imitate her voice, activating the Amazon Echo speaker next to his cage.




Bizarre rules

In Beijing, drivers who stop at pedestrian crossings are fined. In Romania and Russia, it is illegal to drive a dirty car. In Alabama in the USA, the law states that you cannot drive while blindfolded and in California, women are forbidden to drive while wearing a dressing-gown.


Get out guide



Extreme weather in the eastern parts of the country in October saw rivers bursting their banks and roads and highways flooded. Many people had to be rescued from their vehicles. Watch how to free yourself from a rapidly submerging car. It could save your life one day.



$2.3-billion – amount lost each year to illegal fishing by both international and local vessels in the waters off West Africa.



14 000 – tons of rooibos produced last year, as rooibos grows in popularity against declining local production of black tea, which is imported cheaply from China and India.



2.2 million – amount in tons of maize that South Africa is expected to export after a bumper crop follows two years of drought.


R30-billion – size of the local luxury brand market in 2016, according to the latest New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank study.



1.3 million – tons of dissolving wood pulp produced by SAPPI, 17% of the world’s supply. SAPPI hopes to expand this by at least 500 000 tons to shield it from declining global demand for paper.



R186 – average amount paid by South Africans for one gigabyte of data, the 4th highest out of 17 African countries.

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