By: Jim Connolly from Infiniti Engineering
A move to stage 3 in the lockdown is seeing many engineering and construction firms begin to ramp up operations as President Cyril Ramaphosa convenes a symposium with the country’s leading business forums and finance institutions on the financing of major infrastructure development projects under the banner ‘South Africa’s infrastructure-led economic growth plan post Covid19’.
But it is not business as usual for the Construction and Engineering sector, Covid19 has required revision of every aspect of the operations and adjustment to the risk management approach, to deal with the constantly changing business and social environments. Recovery plans post full-lockdown period are now centre stage and the wellbeing of the people that sustain the enterprise calls for the continuous assessment of Covid related hazards to which employees and other direct stakeholders may be exposed – this is now a new normal. The direct and indirect impacts on businesses’ recovery plans now need to be prioritised and resourced in the risk management process, according to Sharon Paterson, Chief Executive of Infiniti Insurance.
The South African Federation of Civil Engineers (SAFCEC), along with the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), have been at the forefront of the drive to assist businesses in these sectors, to put in place the augmented, necessary occupational health and safety provisions. Regulations are clear and the people protective risk mitigation procedures simple: regularly assess the hazards to which your employees may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; implement, and ensure everyone is actively practising controls to prevent exposure. It is imperative to remain alert to changing outbreak conditions and how they relate to community spread of the virus.
“Contractors are getting back on site and it is heartening to see items of Plant that were on Laid-up cover being put back onto comprehensive cover. The building industry is critical to the economy of the country and we should be grateful that it was one of the early industries that was permitted to return to work.” says.
“Our Engineering Division has worked from home right through lockdown, quoting on and writing new business. The feedback that I have had from our broker network is excellent – the service levels they have received are nothing less than they have come to expect from the team,” commented the Chief Executive.
Infiniti’s Specialist General Manager Yulanda Paterson highlights the importance of a strong consultative support platform by the insurer: “We are addressing this disruption in the non-life insurance market through a value network developed from a powerful combination of professional brokers, a team of Infiniti experts and independent specialists. The application of technology, in conjunction with the company’s innovative products and strong close up-front engagement philosophy with the client, is helping to reframe the role of risk mitigation, operating in an increasingly complex marketplace.”
“The trusted broker’s function today is that of an advisor who provides guidance in terms of product selection and risk management. We as Infiniti look at finding alternative solutions towards de-risking a client’s environment and this calls for continuous close collaboration between the insurer and the insured as being critical to protecting progress and growth. In this process and in conjunction with the broker, based on information as assessed by an independent insurance surveyor, Infiniti will customise specific solutions for the client.” Yulanda says.
“Mitigating risks is a prudent way of running any business. Establishing and maintaining an appropriate risk management programme builds resilience and is not just about meeting a legislative requirement but it speaks to general business principles, ensuring sustainability, and the retention of customers,” she concludes.
Infiniti Insurance Limited is an A-(ZA)-rated short-term insurer that writes all classes of business including Aviation, Marine, Watercraft, Heavy Commercial Vehicles, Engineering, Liability and Guarantees. The Infiniti advantage lies in the quality of our service and our commitment to excellence.