Santam believes that a truly inclusive environment is key to sustainability – not only for our business, but for the financial services sector and South Africa as a whole.
Transformation is an important part of the company’s journey to deliver insurance “good and proper”, says Santam CEO Lizé Lambrechts. “We must deliver insurance good and proper for everyone in South Africa – that includes our clients, staff, suppliers and business partners.”
As the leading insurer in South Africa, Santam has a responsibility to not only transform itself but also contribute to the transformation of the insurance industry and, by extension, the country’s economy.
Ray-ann Sedres, Head: Transformation at Santam, says the process began many years ago with the implementation of the necessary legislative requirements. It has since evolved into a more strategic focus on transforming those stakeholders and business activities that have the collective power to make a meaningful impact on the future of our country.
At Santam we’re committed to creating an inclusive culture that extends to all of our stakeholders, including clients, shareholders, employees, suppliers, intermediaries, industry regulators, government, communities and media.
We must deliver insurance good and proper for everyone in South Africa – that includes our clients, staff, suppliers and business partners
Lizé Lambrechts - Santam CEO
Blazing the trail
Ray-ann says Santam has made great strides in diversifying its staff base. In 2018, up to 71% of employees were black and 29% white. “It’s taken a significant amount of energy to drive this but there is still much to do at various management levels in the group. Our work is far from over. The roll-out of our Skills Development Academy, for example, ensures that we have good, qualified employees who can service our clients effectively.”
Santam’s internal business strategy is to support and create space for employees, regardless of race, gender, ability levels, religious affiliations, sexual orientation or age.
Our work with vulnerable communities is also gaining attention. Through the Partnership for Risk and Resilience (P4RR) initiative, we are working with municipalities to reduce the impact of catastrophic events such as fire and floods by upskilling and equipping disaster management officials and improving infrastructure.
A cause particularly close to Ray-ann’s heart is the investment into small-to medium-sized businesses to assist them in becoming sustainable enterprises. “We’ve accelerated the growth of SMMEs by providing business development support and access to low interest-bearing loans,” Ray-ann explains. “The result has been, on average, 25% growth year-on-year, as well as expanding their customers beyond Santam claims procurement, all of which has a very positive impact on the economy.”
This will continue to be a key focus area going forward as Santam drives more claims procurement spend to our suppliers with at least 51% black ownership, and specifically to 100% black-owned suppliers.
The result has been, on average, 25% growth year-on-year, as well as expanding their customer base beyond the Santam claims procurement, all of which has a very positive impact on the economy.
Ray-ann Sedres - Head of Transformation at Santam
As the insurance industry faces a number of challenges due to the changing behaviours of consumers, it’s more important than ever to innovate with different products and identify new markets. One of the ways Santam is working to create new market opportunities is through targeted Consumer Financial Education.
“We will continue to open new markets,” says Lizé. “We know we don’t provide access to insurance for enough people in South Africa. By providing access to more people we’re actually creating more jobs for suppliers and for Santammers, and growing our industry while contributing to the wellbeing of the country.
“We’re on a journey to becoming a transformed Santam – a diverse, vibrant business that is known for being focused on connecting our society, our staff, our suppliers, our intermediaries and partners.”