Gordon McKean, Managing Director
WOW – Where have the last 10 years gone? They seemed to have literally just flown past.
When I left the corporate world to start my own new venture in Reinsurance Broking, it was June 2010, and the country was abuzz with sounds of vuvuzelas. Football fans had descended on our awesome country to watch the beautiful game. Hard to think how our business has transcended itself from having just a couple of clients in South Africa to now doing business with well over 30 companies and operating in around 15 countries on the continent (including Mauritius and the Seychelles).
Our biggest success factor and differentiator, still has to be our personalised relationships which we hold with both cedants and Reinsurers and let’s not forget Service – it is an ethos which I have personally bred in our offices, and I believe, the factor why clients keep on coming back to us.
Currently we have a team made up of 16 talented individuals. We basically have three divisions; (1) Facultative (Fac) Headed up by Andre Pienaar, (2) Treaty – Headed up by Colin Griffiths, and then our (3) Finance Department – Headed up by Nadine Smit, who has a team of well versed and experienced Reinsurance Accounting Professionals, all with Bcom Accounts.
In December 2019, we purchased a building in the Boskruin area in Randburg, and we renovated the place to make it modern and fresh, to fit in with our professional yet relaxed image. This was also to mark our 10th birthday, as well as give us further motivation for the next decade! We welcome anyone in the industry to pop in for a coffee and a chat! We are still aiming at a big 10 year birthday bash to mark the occasion, but we will have to wait for a bit of normality to prevail again, before that happens – but watch this space!
We are always on the hunt for new business opportunities, and no task is too big or small for us – be it Fac or Treaty! We have a dedicated team approach to business, which I am sure most of our clients will attest to. Oak Tree’s target market has changed somewhat over the years to include not only insurance companies and Underwriting Managers, but also specifically looking to help start-up businesses such as specialist UMA’s and Insurers. Specialty business is our forte and of course we still do a fair amount of Life and Health stuff too. We are also able to pinpoint the right partner for UMA’s experiencing hardships with their current principals. If it is Fac you are after, then you’d be at the right place too! Our Finance and technical accounts team are probably one of the best in the country if not on the planet! They ensure quick turnaround times when it comes to claims and accounts, whilst maintaining the highest standards and professionalism.
A big word of thanks needs to go out to all of our clients for the support over the last 10 years, and for bringing us to this memorable milestone. Corona will not beat us!
Stay safe and a big cheers to the next 10 ☺!!!
Colin Griffiths – Head of Treaty
The temperament of July renewals is usually closely observed by the insurance industry and is seen as a sign of the approach reinsurer’s will be taking on pricing for the coming January renewals. This year was no different and prices were tough, which is somewhat understandable given the massive claims from the global pandemic. However, given that many insurers are also seeing a reduction in their own top lines, as insured’s struggle to pay premiums or have opted for less covers or even increased deductible, no wonder many insurers feel this as a double “whammy”.
The brief claims respite during the strict lockdown is already reaching normal levels again as crime and accident trends pick up.
One thing for sure, is that although the future looks tough, this industry of ours is resilient and prosperity will return one day, although no one is prepared to say when.
Now’s the time to ensure you have the very best reinsurance security in place. At Oak Tree we pride ourselves in arranging appropriate reinsurance with the very best rated reinsurer’s. Our analytics team assists with modelling reinsurance structures as well as pricing. We take a partnership approach with our clients and reinsurers alike and actively work on making it easy for clients to do business with us.
Andre Pienaar – Head of Facultative
As Oak Tree enters into its’ second decade of operation we reflect upon the market conditions we came from ten years ago, where the market was deemed as being one of the softest ever experienced, to the reality of the hardest market conditions we have ever experienced, today.
The current pandemic has of course only worsened things further and we have darker days yet ahead.
The hardening of rates and drying of standard capacity for certain risks has forced the facultative broker to change pace and think out of the box and explore not only other markets but approach risks differently. As we seek optimal terms and support for our clients we look at what is affordable and reasonable for all parties. This approach means that Fac brokers need to look at risks through the eyes of an underwriter and explore different structures to better suit a successful placement.
Oak Tree’s main reasons for its success over the last ten years (among the many) are our first class service delivery, putting our clients first and having a dedicated Fac team that can deliver on our promises, as evidenced throughout the entire lockdown period.
In a world where the personal touch and interaction will pose its’ challenges post COVID 19, Oak Tree will continue to be at the forefront with our continuous client interaction and remain delivering a world class facultative service.
To End ….
If it is anything reinsurance related, please keep Oak Tree Intermediaries in mind. Experience, Service, and best broking team in the market!
Best regards, and stay safe.