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Commercial crime increase threatens SA’s economy

Commercial crime increase threatens SA’s economy
09-09-13 / Staff Writer

Commercial crime increase threatens SA’s economy

Santam, South Africa's largest commercial insurer has in the year under review reported a total of 101 cases of commercial crime with a total value of R 14.7 million to the South African Police Services.

Santam's data for the 2012/2013 period shows:

A 5% increase in reported vehicle theft claims

A 20% decrease in reported vehicle hijacking claims

A 11% increase in reported business robberies

(Robbery refers to when there is a direct threat or use of violence between a victim and the perpetrator)

A 9% decrease in reported business burglaries

(Burglary refers to when there is no contact at all between a victim and the perpetrator)

"Economic crime in our industry has become very complex and managing the risk pool remains key to maintaining a healthy insurance industry. We work together with the SAPS to help obtain court convictions and our partnership hosts an economic crime forum biannually, where participants from the SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB) share in mutually beneficial discussions," says du Toit

She adds that commercial crime is fluid and can take many forms. Commercial crimes are commonly classified as being either opportunistic or organised.

"Whether the crime is committed by a person who sees an opportunity and exploits it, or by a highly organised syndicate using sophisticated methods, commercial crime has a direct impact on the costs of an insurer and policyholders. Corruption, fraud and theft will inevitably have an impact on the cost of claims and acquisition fees," adds du Toit.

For Santam, therefore, says du Toit, it is vital to constantly develop new ways to address commercial crime. "Our Audit and Forensics team has a mandate to implement various governance structures to detect, prevent and investigate suspicions of economic crimes. We are extremely proud of the initiatives we have in place."

"We all have a role to play and it is important that industry stakeholders work together to fight commercial crime. We encourage businesses and business owners to be aware of their daily risks and to put measures in place to best manage these risks," concludes du Toit.

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