SAIA CHAIRMAN’S AGM ADDRESS 2014
THE SHORT TERM INSURANCE INDUSTRY AND NEW HORIZONS
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my privilege to address you this evening on this special occasion on behalf of the South African Insurance Association (SAIA). I welcome and greet you at the 2014 SAIA Annual General Meeting.
The theme for this year’s Annual Review is New Horizons.
What does this mean for the industry?
New Horizons is the defining sign of our times. It encapsulates the role of change and the times ahead demand new thinking from our leaders.
Much has changed since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. In particular, the way the global financial services sector is structured and is undergoing fundamental and irreversible change. However, change brings with it not only risks but also opportunities.
The past year has seen the short term insurance industry dealing with a host of regulatory changes, the alarming weakening of the rand and the impact it has had on the costs of replacing parts in damaged vehicles, in addition the carnage on our national roads and foul weather systems and its effects on the industry.
A week ago, in the President’s 17 June 2014 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the economy took centre stage, depicting the scale and impact of the slow economic growth – largely attributed to domestic conditions such as the prolonged strikes in the mining sector, the worsening unemployment rate, poverty, inequality and the energy constraints.
However it is not all doom and gloom.
South Africa’s economic reform not only depends on “radical social-economic transformation” as stated in 17 June 2014 SONA but a strengthened commitment is required between government structures and the private sector to remove obstacles to investment and sustainable growth.
As an industry, we must therefore grasp the opportunities which lie within reach and develop strategies which will lead to effective partnerships. Secondly, expand our services to our emerging markets and thirdly, adopt a rigorous approach in respect of the economic impact assessments of regulatory interventions. These need to be carried out early enough to inform the process of developing detailed new legislation.
Engagement on these aspects with our policy makers, legislators, regulators, business partners and the broader society is imperative to the Short Term Insurance industry as it plays a foundational role in the success of the economy.
It is easy to get bogged down in all the challenges of regulation reform, soft markets, skills shortages and extreme weather events. But it is also worth taking stock of the positive impact of the Short Term Insurance industry and remembering that the industry is creating jobs, and protecting people and companies from financial disaster.
In this spirit, the SAIA remains committed to strengthening a vibrant short term insurance industry, characterised by financial soundness, efficiency and a value proposition which is both sustainable and fair to our customers and our future customers.
The value of partnerships cannot be stated enough and I emphasise that we want to be more than just insurers. We need to be valuable social partners growing the South African economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish to conclude by expressing my deep appreciation to the SAIA Executive Committee and the Board for their leadership and support.
On behalf of the SAIA Executive Committee and Board I also wish to pay tribute to Barry Scott on his 20 years of service as Chief Executive of SAIA, without strong leadership no organization can expect to succeed.
Whatever awaits us beyond the horizon I’m confident the SAIA will continue its great work. I trust that you will use this platform to foster new partnerships. We look forward to New Horizons.
I thank you all very much for coming. And I would also like to say a special thank you to our sponsors Transunion and the Insure Group as well as the team at SAIA for their dedication to making this event and its programme a great success.