Insurance is a very competitive industry. What are the key factors that consumers look for when deciding who to give their business to?

Corporate News

Insurance is a very competitive industry. What are the key factors that consumers look for when deciding who to give their business to?

Published: 27 September 2017

South Africans have voted short term insurer, Santam the top performer in the Business category of the annual 2017 Sunday Times Top Brands Survey. 

Trust and fair settlement of claims is at the heart of what clients’ value in an insurer. For over 99 years, Santam has protected the assets that matter most to consumers and businesses. Trust is continuously earned and influenced by our ability to consistently meet client expectations.

In this regard, Santam was named the top short-term insurer in the country for two consecutive years when it comes to meeting and exceeding our clients’ insurance needs – South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SACsi). Some of the highlights of the report include: 

  • The highest overall satisfaction index score in the industry of 81.3 – more than 5 points above the industry average. We scored particularly high around client expectations of reliability.
  • We are the only brand experiencing a continuous increase in expectations over the past three years.
  • We are the front-runner in terms of perceived quality of service levels and product delivery, as well as the perceived value of the group’s insurance.
  • In regard to treating customers fairly (TCF), our performance is the best in the industry, especially in terms of offering customised solutions to clients and treating clients with respect.
  • Our exceptional Net Promoter Score – a measure of a client’s willingness to recommend a company’s products or services stands at 50% and is 25.7% higher than the industry average. Santam achieved a consistent increase in this score over the past three years.
  • Most importantly, our clients trust us to manage their insurable risks so that we can be there for them when they need us most. 

Consumers also consider the quality of the products and the perceived value as well as the interplay between quality and value. From our perspective we believe that all of this contributes to trust in the brand. 

Consistent delivery of a company’s brand promise is important. Over time, Santam – represented by our iconic yellow umbrella – has come to represent insurance good and proper andinsurance that does what it’s supposed to do when it matters most. 

Finally, besides being rated by clients, we are also consistently rated by intermediaries (as winners of the FIA Awards) as the leading brand in South Africa. We welcome this recognition as intermediaries are a key part of the value chain in delivering to our clients. 

There is an increasing number of ‘switched on’ consumers, who are aware of their options and are willing to change providers in a heartbeat if they can get a better deal. Technology is playing a role here too, with the likes of Hippo.co.za. How does the greater amount of knowledge available at consumers’ fingertips impact how the industry operates today?    

The greater amount of knowledge available is positive for the industry as it encourages companies to work harder at improving their value propositions. 

While trust is important in the decision-making process, from a Santam perspective we would like to encourage consumers to look holistically at the overall insurance offering, taking into account price, customer service, and most importantly the ability of the insurer to meet their expectation of paying claims on a consistent basis. 

Furthermore the Internet is a fantastic tool for research and to obtain quotes. Beyond this, it is important to equip clients with other risk tools so that they understand their exposures better and can mitigate them. Santam’s website creates an enhanced experience that brings insurance good and proper to life in a fresh and relevant manner. 

Our buildings and home contents inventory calculators available on our website are intuitive, making them easy and simple to use. Calculations are based on the information provided by clients and are an estimation of the value of the assets. 

We also have our Be Safe App, which enables clients to:

  • Let family members and friends see where they are, but also alert them to when they arrive at a destination (if travelling).
  • Report, document and submit an accident or incident report directly to Santam, all in a matter of minutes.
  • Quickly access their insurance portfolio to request changes to policies, track claims and receive updates. 

New technologies are also going to have a significant impact on the market – the Internet of Things is already enabling insurers to better monitor how individuals drive – so is this leading to greater personalisation of service to customers? And do you think such personalisation is key to remaining at the top of this competitive industry?  

Certainly, personalisation is crucial. Every person or organisation has their own set of needs and unique circumstances that determine their ‘risk profile’. This can change over time – such as a more experienced driver generally representing a lower risk than a new driver – or depending on location, such as when someone moves from one neighbourhood to another.  Personalisation is at the core of offering insurance good and proper. It takes into account many factors and that are part of the various data points considered in offering insurance policies that are suited to clients’ specific circumstances and needs. The use of big data will remain a relevant competitive issue and potential differentiator for insurance providers. 

What about a future where we have things like self-driving cars? How is that going to impact on the industry and will it be able to adapt quickly enough to these rapidly changing circumstances, not to mention competition from non-traditional arenas?  

As we face an age of ‘exponential technologies’ the insurance industry is facing a number of new issues that require solutions. Innovation is changing every part of society and the insurance sector has to remain nimble as the way people live, work and communicate continue to evolve. Client expectations of insurers to respond, adapt and prosper in the on-demand world of today, require unprecedented levels of readiness, and Santam remains proactive to ensure that we stay ahead of the changes taking place in society. 

Autonomous vehicles will be a fact of life in just a few years, accounting for a quarter of global car sales by 2035.Considering that 90% of road traffic accidents are caused by human error, most car insurers will need to re-evaluate the way car insurance policies are structured. 

While technology is important and needed, it also comes with risk and as insurers we have to be mindful that information and telematics systems can potentially be hacked and remotely ‘taken over’. That’s why we’ve created tailor-made cyber-insurance to ensure we’re at the forefront of this rising trend. 

How do you go about keeping your brand relevant and top of mind in such a constantly evolving field? 

Firstly, we constantly monitor the health of our brand through research with both clients and intermediaries.

We also take a firm view that the brand must consistently be relevant and freshened up to be in tune with modern developments and changes in client behaviour. Hence our recent brand campaign takes a forward looking view on a changing and dynamic world we live in.  

Consistent messaging is very important and therefore we place huge focus on our consistent message of insurance good and proper to ensure that it becomes entrenched in the market. We consistently invest in our brand to ensure we remain relevant and top of mind, and viewed as a trusted insurance partner. 

Over and above this we take our role as a socially responsible citizen very seriously. In this vein, we are proactive in how we try to reduce risks, in collaboration with others.  For example, we work with provincial and district municipalities to help mitigate ‘on the ground’ insurable risks in vulnerable communities across the country. 

These contributions include the resourcing of local fire stations with equipment such as fire hoses and protective gear, and enabling systems that can improve emergency response and disaster management capabilities. Through our Partnership for Risk and Resilience, we are focusing on 10 district municipalities and 53 local municipalities across the country so that over the next five years, more than five million South Africans will benefit from the programme.