This leader in engineering underwriting prides itself on enabling its policyholders to recover quickly after an insured incident.
Mirabilis has provided engineering reinsurance on the African continent since 2006, and globally since 2014. This diversity has ensured sustainability that other local engineering insurers have not benefited from, especially as reliance on the local South African market can be fraught with difficulties.
The effects of the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, gas shortages and low investor sentiment may be global challenges, but these have been worsened by the South African disasters of rioting and looting, fires, floods, excessive hail storms and the declining economy. Adding further woe is the recent extreme and debilitating load-shedding regime.
While it may be that infrastructure development is highlighted as an imperative by the government, the subsequent projects are slow to manifest.
It’s not that the projects don’t exist. In fact, the construction industry has been pleasantly surprised by the creativity of the mid-market tier in looking for new opportunities, says Curt Meyer, CEO of Mirabilis. This includes transforming commercial property buildings into residential apartments and increasing private investment into the expansion of manufacturing facilities.
“If these movements hadn’t happened, the industry would be in a far more difficult space right now. However, in this environment, resilience and creativity are not the only nor most important factors that ensure profitability.
“Anyone can issue a policy, but not many can pay the claims,” says Meyer, and that, it seems, is the catalyst to ensuring survival and profitability during disruptive times.
Shane Graham, head of Africa at Mirabilis, proves the validity of Meyer’s statement when he recounts how at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mirabilis was the first to settle its share of one of the biggest claims emanating from a Middle East project.
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“We didn’t realise the incredibly positive impact of this on our brand until attending international conferences where we were congratulated and approached by companies wanting to do business with us,” says Graham. This speaks volumes about how Mirabilis has positioned itself; enabling policyholders to recover quickly after an insured incident.
Mirabilis is discerning about the projects it underwrites. Meyer explains that this means asking the “difficult questions” upfront so that Mirabilis’ brokers have a full understanding of a project’s insurance needs, which ensures it’s correctly covered from the start.
“These questions may appear burdensome to the potential client,” explains Meyer, “and sometimes sways the choice of an underwriter to a competitor. This may be good in the short term, but the policyholder may find a claim is not valid based on issues that were not factored into the policy.”
Keeping risk prudent has not affected Mirabilis’ commitment to support SA’s growth strategy. “If anything, we have further entrenched our service provision, because we are confident that the South African construction industry will recover. We partner with 1,600 brokers, providing them with support and technical knowledge, which enables them to successfully insure their clients projects,” says Meyer.
“We have also always underwritten in response to emerging trends,” explains Graham. “This includes a full spectrum of projects such as extensions to malls, industrial precincts and similar large infrastructure projects, power generation, as well as smaller projects including residential homes and developments.”
That said, Meyer stresses that regardless of Mirabilis’ global footprint, SA remains its home base and heart of its operations. “Without this base and the support of our South African brokers, we would not have been able to launch successfully outside the company’s borders. We are committed to remaining a lean and agile South African organisation. This message is delivered in all our markets, be that in India, the Middle East, Egypt, Bangladesh, Morocco or Cape Town.”
To request a quote from Mirabilis, which is underwritten by Santam, click here.