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From the desk of SAIA Chief Executive: Viviene Pearson

From the desk of SAIA Chief Executive: Viviene Pearson
01-10-21 / Staff Writer

From the desk of SAIA Chief Executive: Viviene Pearson

The July riots have been keeping the industry busy for the past two and a half months. We are glad though that Sasria (SOC) Ltd, a SAIA member and, a government owned only non-life insurer that covers political riots in South Africa, has indicated that it had registered almost all the claims related to the unfortunate incidents. Naturally, we were concerned about the costs of the riots to the industry and the economy, especially with initial estimates north of R20bn.

Indeed, this has come to pass as Sasria confirmed that losses will most likely be between R20 – R25bn, an astronomical figure by any measure. This figure however does not include other loss amounts insured through other internationally sourced covers such as Riot Wrap covers, which are usually underwritten by many corporate companies in South Africa such as large Retail brands found in most shopping centres in South Africa.  

Sasria management has openly communicated its challenges, which was also communicated to parliamentarians recently. However, we remain comforted by the fact that its shareholder, the government, has indicated that all relevant claims shall be paid. Amid all its challenges, the company has also concluded its technical rate review and engaged with various stakeholders necessary to finalise the implementation of its amended rate structure, effective on 1 January 2022. We believe it is only prudent for the organisation to future-proof its existence to continue to play the fundamental role it holds within our economy and society.  

On Monday 13 September, the National Treasury (NT) announced the launch of the new uninsureds registration portal for those  businesses (especially uninsured businesses) affected by the devastating July unrests. The portal, developed with input from many stakeholders including SAIA on behalf of the non-life insurance industry, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), the Prudential Authority (PA), the Presidency Management Office (PMO) and the South African Revenue Services (SARS), is expected to act as a registration platform where the NT would collect data from affected businesses to better coordinate relief measures as well as to inform future interventions. Businesses have until 30 September 2021 to register on the portal.  

Like those of the rest of the world, South Africa’s economy and businesses were severely battered by the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw economic growth warp. A lot of businesses swiftly changed their business models to digital, rapidly deploying new technologies to help them continue serving their clients. With this rapid deployment of technology, came the risks. In The State of Email Security Report 2021 produced by Mimecast, reported  email threats rose by 64% in 2020, with employees clicking on three times as many malicious emails than before. Quite alarming is the statistic that 79% of companies were hurt by their lack of cyber preparedness in the last 12 months. 

In the third quarter of 2021, the ASISA/SAIA Cyber Security Incident Response Team (SCIRT) reported that data breaches and ransomware attacks were the top security threats. SAIA continues to participate on the ASISA CSIRT, a platform which allows the insurance industry to collectively risk manage industry cyber-attacks. This platform also includes information sharing from the Financial Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), which further augments the work being done on this platform.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Mr Cedric Masondo and Mr Herman Schoeman on being re-elected as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the SAIA Board of directors, and welcome Ms Adriana Weilbach (Telesure Investment Holdings) to the SAIA Board of directors as a co-opted additional Board member.

To read the whole Bulletin, please click here.

This article was written by Ms. Viviene Pearson, SAIA CEO for the September 2021 Monthly Bulletin.

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