Tarina Vlok, MD, Elite Risk Acceptances
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Dr Jane Goodall, Scientist & Activist
As we entered 2021, there was a global feeling of exhilaration that 2020 is over and that the world can look towards “normalisation”. However, 2021 had its own set of challenges, escalating systemic risks for insurers: The resurgence of second and third waves of Covid-19 with its associated lockdown regulations, worldwide riots, natural disasters, the devastating July riots in KZN and Gauteng, and of course the demise of Eskom. All these trends had a profound impact on the insurance industry. For insured individuals and businesses, insurers played a key role in the recovery of the economy and livelihoods after insured losses. For the uninsured, the devastation had and will sadly continue to have a long-lasting effect.
The expectation is that all the systemic risks will remain in place during 2022. It is therefore important for the insurance industry to acknowledge and address the impact of these risks, not only through rating models but also by supporting our clients through e.g., proactive risk management tools, weather warnings, and innovative risk transfer solutions. According to McKinsey, it will be valuable for Property and Casualty insurers to build resilience through (amongst others) predictive models that “assume nonstationary risk and de-emphasise historical data..”. It is therefore expected that there will be a much greater focus on data acquisition to enrich existing actuarial models and respond appropriately to these risks.
As a collective, insurers should commit to the reduction of carbon emissions, work with the government and support or generate green electricity. I have no doubt that insurers will continue to encourage staff and reward clients to get vaccinated against Covid.
Elite Risk Acceptances looks forward to growth in 2022
2021 was not all doom and gloom. The shift to a work-from-home model afforded Elite’s staff much more flexibility to juggle personal and professional responsibilities, whilst mostly not compromising on productivity and service levels. Elite continued to grow thanks to the support of our various intermediated channels.
COVID-19 vaccination roll-out has proven successful, with almost all of the Elite staff have received at least one vaccine.
We will continue to focus on our growth strategies in 2022 by providing excellent products and services, continuously updating our offering to ensure alignment to market trends, and building and nurturing relationships with our broker partners. With the strong support we have from Old Mutual Insure, we will also continue to work closely with our internal stakeholders to ensure that our pricing, marketing initiatives, and our distribution networks remain competitive.
We will make a concerted effort to meet most of our business partners face to face, subject to COVID-19 protocols and of course barring the introduction of stricter lockdowns due to increased numbers and additional variants.
Elite continues to work from home, but we have identified the need to enable in-person engagement with our colleagues and business partners. To that end, we are planning to arrange new Elite offices during 2022.
We will also continue to focus on the physical and mental well-being of our staff.
Elite will be involved in all Old Mutual Insure initiatives especially those that deliver value to our brokers and clients and are aligned with our target market and its preferences.
Top tips for brokers:
- Encourage clients to:
- Have their gutters cleaned annually to avoid flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.
- Make use of any digital innovations their insurers offer, e.g. downloading and using the insurer apps.
- Ensure their properties are safeguarded with appropriate and reliable security systems.
- Protect their electric and electronic installations against power surges following load shedding.
- Ensure all electric appliances are switched off when load shedding starts.
- Maintain their properties, especially roofs, on a regular basis.
- Have tracking devices installed in their vehicles.
- Keep yourselves and your staff safe.
- Participate in roadshows and events arranged by insurers.