Safire Insurance Newsletter 2015


March 2016
A better year
According to the latest “sigma” study, 2015 was a better year for insurers, with global insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters totalling $37 billion, significantly less than the $62 billion average of the previous decade. Total economic losses from disasters, including natural and manmade events, were $92 billion in 2015 compared with $113 billion in 2014. Of the 353 disaster events recorded during the year, 198 were natural catastrophes, the highest number in one year. Around $80 billion losses were due to natural catastrophes, with the earthquake in Nepal causing the most damage and killing close to 9000 people, the largest loss of life in a single event.
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Zika and travel cover
The World Health Organization has declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus a public health emergency and urged pregnant women to avoid visiting affected areas (largely in South America). Travellers might be wise to invest in more comprehensive – even if more costly – travel insurance that offers cover for trip cancellation for any reason. Standard policies usually do not include cover for calling off a trip even if the traveller is at heightened risk from a disease outbreak. Some 20-25% of travellers obtain trip refund insurance, with transactions spiking after incidents like the terrorist bombing in France last November. The Zika virus has not generated quite the same reaction, yet.
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Freight hijackings impact on economy
An increase in freight hijackings is not only a concern for the insurance industry but has contributed to a R3 billion loss to the country’s economy, says Wayne Rautenbach, GM for Regent Commercial Vehicles. Apparently more than 1 279 vehicles were hijacked during 2015, with 804 incidents in Gauteng. “South Africa’s insurance industry has the most effective technology in place to mitigate the risk of hijacking as far as technology and access to data is concerned. However, constant innovation, advanced global telematics solutions and partnerships between fleet owners, truck drivers and monitoring bureaus are fundamental,” he comments.
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Epic ride by Team Safire
Last minute sponsorship by Safire enabled 2015 KZN Veteran’s Men’s MTB Champion, Warren Price, who Safire has sponsored in the Imana Wild Ride since 2013, to tackle the Absa Cape Epic, partnering with Andy Davies as Team Safire. Andy had a bad fall on Day 2, requiring 21 stitches. He bravely headed off again but eventually had to withdraw. Warren continued as a solo rider and after 8 days and almost 700km of tough riding, he completed his first Cape Epic in the top 20 of individual riders – an amazing achievement. Anton Rohrs, Safire Marketing Manager, says, “To support a leading non-professional MTB rider such as Warren who has consistently proven his mettle is a privilege. He is a hard-working family man and Safire has a long-term relationship with him that mirrors our corporate emphasis on developing lasting relationships with those we have dealings with. We congratulate him on his incredible ‘epic’ ride.” Seen here - a heavily bandaged Andy sets off with Warren.
Home improvements boom
Regularly attending to general maintenance on your home is important in terms of being a responsible property owner and taking care of a major investment. It also impacts on household insurance as lack of care might result in claims that could be disputed because of an element of neglect. There is another reason for focusing on home improvements: the current trend of improving an existing property rather than upgrading accommodation by buying a new home. Figures from FNB’s recent estate agent survey show that 22.5% of homeowners embarked on value-adding refurbishments during the fourth quarter. Though lower than the 26% in the previous quarter, it is well up from the 10% recorded in 2009.
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Safire Berg 100
A crowd of keen riders took on the hills and valleys of the KZN Midlands on Saturday 19 March to enjoy the challenge of the 2016 Safire Berg 100, one of the toughest one day races on the country’s MTB calendar. This scenic race winds between Himeville and Nottingham Road (the start and finish points alternate between these two villages annually). This year the day started off mercifully cooler but then warmed up for another hot ride. The 2016 winners are: Men’s – 1st: Matthew Wilkinson (03:23:11 – Matthew was beaten by 16 minutes in 2014); 2nd: David Low (03:29:26); 3rd: Mazwi Smimango (03:29:30) and Ladies’ – 1st: Brenda Potts (04:19:45); 2nd: Carey-Anne Radford (04:25:21); 3rd: Rebecca Van Der Linda (04:27:33). Safire’s Financial Director Sean Stanton came 18th in a time of 03:50:32.
Cover for sportsmen
Professional sportspeople generally have a few short years when they are at their physical peak and at the top of their game. It is essential that they protect themselves and their greatest asset – themselves – against injury. Dave Honeyman, Executive Head at SHA Specialist Underwriters, states that in light of the recent phenomenon where an increasing number of top South African sports stars have contracts in place to play for a local team as well as foreign commitments, it is vital for these players to ensure that their policies do not have any gaps that could lead to insufficient insurance, which in turn would result in no salary – at a time when there could be major bills to pay. Read more…
First female
Desirable Western Cape

The first ‘computers’ were women. Originally, ‘computer’ was a job title for roles typically filled by women with math degrees. The first “computers” as we know them were given the name because they were intended to replace these human workers. The first computer programmer was Augusta Ada King, (Lord Byron’s daughter) in the 1800s. But the computer for which she wrote programs was never completed - it was going to be house-sized and powered by six steam engines.

Despite vociferous public protest and general across-the-board resistance, the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has approved an annual average price increase of 12.69% for the 2015/16 period. PowerOptimal has created a chart comparing Eskom’s average tariff increases with the inflation rate between 1987 and 2015, showing that between 2007 and 2015, South African electricity tariffs increased by an astounding 300%, whilst inflation over this period was 45%.

According to the Lightstone Property Group, at the end of 2015, Gauteng accounted for 34% of all residential property in South Africa and almost 39% of all residential property value. However, the increasing allure of the Western Cape in terms of inspiring high value residential properties is evident: the region accounts for 17.6% of the residential property but boasts an impressive quarter of the total value of the property market in the country.

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Bringing Van Gogh to life

The world’s first feature length painted animation film, about the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh, involved thirty artists hand-painting every shot onto canvas, working from his original paintings. Have a look at the amazing results in this trailer for the soon-to-be-released film Loving Vincent. To view ...

Economic Tidbits
Economic Tidbits
Economic Tidbits
• €3.3bn – what Volkswagen is being sued for over the cover-up of its polluting diesel engines. Plaintiffs include financial management companies, insurance firms and pension funds like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, one of the largest pension funds in the US.

• R350,000/year - the capping of tax deductibility for payments into retirement funds as outlined in the budget.

• 1 938 383 – the number of data records stolen per day in 1 673 data breaches that were reported globally according to the Gemalto Breach Level Index (BLI) for 2015. Experts say the rise in data hacks will push up the price of security measures for companies.

• R20 billion – what patients with medical aid had to pay in out-of-pocket expenses according to the Council for Medical Schemes’ annual report.

• 62.3% - the stake in Absa that Barclays owns. The British banking group is looking to sell down to a non-controlling stake and while there have been calls for government to step in or assist black investors, the state is already a massive player in SA’s financial system.

• 40% - the increase in ‘black box’ telematics insurance policies in the UK in the last year. The policies are believed to cause a 40% drop in crash risk.

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