Santam in the fight against crime

Intermediaries Economic crime Risk management 3 min read 14 October 2015

The latest crime statistics from the South African Police Services closely mirror trends already identified by Santam. This only serves to highlight the fact that collaboration and partnerships between the police and business stakeholders are crucial in the fight against crime. Santam is involved in a number of partnerships to reduce economic crime and raise awareness around crime prevention. 


To this end, we have been working alongside entities such as the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB), the SAPS and other stakeholders on numerous initiatives aimed at raising awareness around crime prevention. Over the past five years, Santam’s Economic Crime Forums (ECF) in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban have achieved positive results in terms of the innovative work done to reduce economic crime in partnership with the SAPS, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, SAICB, the criminal justice system and other insurers. Examples of this work include insurance fraud training to SAPS and the NPA, and removal of blockages experienced in the investigation process. 


Some of the more startling crime stats reported include a 14.2% increase in car hijackings and an 8.5% increase in robberies with aggravating circumstances.   Our claims data for 2014/15 shows:


  • A 21% increase in reported commercial vehicle hijacking claims.
  • A 21% increase in reported household robbery claims (theft by use of force or violence).
  • A 19% decrease in domestic house breaking claims (breaking and entering a property).
  • A 13% decrease in the theft of private vehicles.
  • A 13% increase in reported business robbery claims.
  • A 4% decrease in reported commercial vehicle theft claims. 


“The alarming increase in the reported incidence of domestic and business break-ins and the frequency of hijackings remains a big concern,” says Helen du Toit, Head: Audit and Forensic Services at Santam.    


According to Du Toit, underinsurance is still common, “in the face of these troubling statistics and the detrimental impact on the people and economy of South Africa we recommend that consumers make sure that they are adequately insured against the growing risk of criminal acts.  Aside from psychological trauma associated with burglaries and hijackings there is also the risk of an unforeseen financial setback.” 


“When it comes to protecting assets, the focus should be on maintaining the right insurance cover whether this be for personal possessions or assets associated with a business enterprise,” maintains du Toit.  In terms of house burglaries many of the claims received by Santam relate to theft of electronic equipment such as TV’s, computers and cell phones as well as jewellery items.  Claims against the theft of cash and moveable electronic goods have been more prevalent in business break-ins.  


Santam regularly shares advice and valuable safety tips with consumers and business owners, encouraging policyholders to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming victims of crime. To this end, Santam launched the Santam App with Be Safe earlier this year, which allows family members and friends to see where their loved ones are located at a specific time.  The app will also notify family or friends via a sms alert once you arrive at your destination. More than 34 000 people have downloaded the app since March of this year. 


In promoting increased safety, Santam along with other industry groups and suppliers offer discounts on vehicle anti-theft devices such as gear-locks, immobilisers and tracking devices. Such measures can also help consumers save on their vehicle policy premiums.


Tips for policyholders in an armed robbery situation:


Unfortunately, most people tend to panic when faced with an armed robbery. Share these tips with your clients so that they can maintain their composure and ensure their safety:


  • Stay calm. Listen carefully to the robbers’ instructions and co-operate with them.
  • Keep your movements slow and controlled. The situation is already tense and sudden movements could cause the robbers to panic. If you need to move or get something, such as an asthma pump, tell the robbers before you start moving so that they are not caught off-guard.
  • If you feel that you might have a panic attack, focus on your breathing and keep your breaths slow and deep. Slowly relax your muscles one at a time. Alternate your attention to breathing and relaxing your muscles until you feel calmer.
  • Make mental notes of voices and physical descriptions of your assailants without staring. Write down everything you remember immediately after the robbery when the details are still fresh in your mind.



For more advice and tools to grow your business visit our intermediary advice page.