The Intermediary: adding value beyond price

3 min read 04 November 2020

With the increase in direct-to-consumer insurance products and companies, many consumers have questioned the need for an intermediary – or intermediary – at all. Santam, who has been in the business of insurance for more than 100 years, believes that while there is a place for direct-to-consumer, the value an intermediary provides is second to none.

“An intermediary plays an important role in supporting clients,” says Andrew Coutts, Head Intermediated Business at Santam. “They help simplify complex terms, assess and address risk, provide expert advice and negotiate pricing with insurance companies.”

Today’s technology enables online research tools and information to be at the fingertips of consumers. Digital adoption has become mainstream across generations and has been sped up by COVID-19. Whilst the impact of digitisation is topical, several other factors are also changing the landscape of insurance for consumers. These include urbanisation and migration, geopolitical risks, the depletion of natural resources, an increase in natural disasters, changing buying behaviour, automation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), new business models, and infectious diseases, to name a few.

“Being able to effectively engage with consumers who are already armed with a plethora of knowledge is key to being an insurance intermediary today.

“I would say the experience is akin to being hyper-personalised and led by engagement at all stages of the insurance product’s lifecycle,” adds Coutts.

To that end, Coutts highlights the following as key value factors an insurance broker can bring to the table:

Different businesses present varied challenges and risks, which means a broker must familiarise themselves with the unique circumstances of each of their clients. In addition to this, they will also visit the business to do an in-depth risk assessment and advise on the best insurance cover to protect the business’s assets.

Brokers are often experts within specific fields, such as retail, technology or manufacturing. Their years of expertise will ensure they work with their client as well as follow a well-established procedure when implementing any risk management process.

Brokers are used to working with businesses of different sizes and can enable a more accurate underwriting process. This includes safeguarding a company’s ability to grow and evaluating whether a company is underinsured or requires business interruption cover.

A broker is an expert with detailed knowledge of products and solutions available in the market. They will match the best risk solution for your needs with the best risk products in the market. Let them use their professional knowledge and advice to work to ensure you have the best solution at the best price.

For clients, the claims process is often seen as the most tedious. And this is also where having a broker comes in handy. They are able to streamline the process by working with the insurer and can alleviate the stress for the client by helping them with documentation.

Santam Insurance offers intermediaries a centralised space to conduct real-time assessments with the Santam Risk Assessment app, as well as assist clients in finding an intermediary. For more information, visit