Who we are

History of Santam

The South African National Trust and Assurance Company Limited (Santam) opened its doors for the first time in Cape Town on 1 May 1918. A month later a second company, the South African Life Assurance Company (Sanlam), was established as a full subsidiary of Santam, with a specific focus on life assurance. In 1953 Sanlam's share capital was cancelled and by a special Act of Parliament, Sanlam was converted from a company to a mutual insurer.

Santam's history is marked by a sense of determination, courage and commitment to become the largest and leading short-term insurer in South Africa.


The South African National Trust and Assurance Company Limited (Santam) first opens its doors in Cape Town. Within months the South African Life Assurance Company (Sanlam) is established as a full subsidiary of Santam, with its specific focus on life assurance.



By a special Act of Parliament, Sanlam's share capital is cancelled and it is converted from a company to a mutual insurer.


Santam launches its well-known Child Art programme to encourage children to find joy in art. This has since become one of the longest-running corporate social investment (CSI) programmes in Santam.


Santam revolutionises the insurance industry by launching its Multiplex policy. For the first time, South Africans are able to have a single short-term insurance policy, covering all their assets under one umbrella.


The yellow umbrella, which is synonymous with short-term insurance in South Africa, becomes Santam's official logo.


A full subsidiary, Santam Namibia Limited, is established to look after all insurance activities in Namibia.



Santam obtains Guardian National Insurance for R1,58 billion. The merger - one of the most successful in South Africa yet - secures a 25% share of the local short-term insurance industry for Santam


Santam International is established. The group’s international diversification strategy is driven through its partnership with Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) in a series of general insurance businesses in emerging markets as well as the international operations of Santam Re and Santam Specialist Business.


Santam receives the Pioneer Award by the Financial Services Sector Council for bringing affordable short-term insurance to a previously uninsured market.


Santam celebrates its 90th birthday. It also extends and diversifies its operations through a joint partnership with Sanlam and Shriram General Insurance Co Ltd in India, giving Sanlam a 26% shareholding in Shriram Life Insurance Co Ltd.


Santam is the first South African insurer to join ClimateWise - an international network formed by leading insurers worldwide to influence debate and decision-making on climate change. Santam Crop Insurance turns 80.

Santam receives the following accolades:

  • Deloitte Best Company to Work For as voted by staff in the large company category
  • Top business-to-business short-term insurer in the Markinor Top Brand survey in 2009
  • Best Personal, Commercial and Corporate insurer by the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA)
  • Winner in the short-term insurance industry category for two consecutive years in the Ask Afrika Orange Index Service Excellence Survey.


FIA votes Santa m the Best Personal, Commercial and Corporate Insurer.


FIA once again votes Santam the Best Commercial and Corporate Insurer.


In this milestone year Santam is voted FIA’s Insurer of the Year for Personal Lines and Commercial insurance. The brand receives locally and international recognition for innovation and service excellence as well as for its advertising campaigns, winning acclaimed Loeries, Cannes and Midas awards, amongst others.


Santam was rated South Africa’s top insurer in the 2013 South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) survey and exceeded the industry and competitor average in various categories including customer expectations, overall quality, and customer loyalty.


In June 2014, Santam was awarded both the commercial and corporate short-term insurer of the year by the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa.



The Partnership for Risk and Resilience (P4RR) is established to combine the efforts of Business-Adopt- A-Municipality (BAAM) and the Risk Node Project. P4RR assists municipalities’ build capacity in combatting the risks of fire and flooding within vulnerable communities.


Santam is certified as one of the Top Employers in South Africa by the Top Employers Institute.


Santam donates R1 million to support relief efforts following the Western Cape floods and the devastating fires in the Southern Cape. In the wake of the fires, Santam provides more than R1 million worth of fire fighting equipment to the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.