SAIA and its members have been very active in the crime-combating arena. Not only does crime affect all individuals and businesses in South Africa, it also directly impacts on our industry.
Although the need for a holistic, targeted and collaborative approach with regards to insurance fraud and crime led to the establishment of the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB), SAIA still needs to represent the industry in general crime combating areas.
In this regard, we have been active in many Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) activities and particularly in the Violent and Organised Crime Workgroup as part of the Big Business Workgroup and the Leadership Forum initiative.
We value our long-standing partnership with BACSA, and this was again supported by the industry’s decision to donate at least R1.5 million towards the violent and organised crime area as well as the road safety area, specifically aimed at drunk driving. The seventh annual donation of its kind to BACSA was approved in 2009. SAIA believes that the annual donations have made a huge contribution towards the significant and steady reduction of vehicle crime in recent times.
In addition, SAIA donated R500 000 that was used for the training of detectives in a joint project with BACSA and the Gauteng Provincial Police Service. The graduation ceremony for the 500 detectives trained took place on 25 February 2009 in Johannesburg, with Gauteng Premier, Paul Mashatile delivering the keynote address. SAIA supported this capacity building within South African Police Service (SAPS) Detective Services because this project had the potential of impacting positively on all crime types, including vehicle crime, household and business robberies and other crime types. This training augmented the skills and capacity of detectives to manage their day-to-day duties more effectively and will hopefully lead to better prepared cases that could end up in more convictions in the courts. It is our hope that the success of this initiative will be continued in Gauteng where many more detectives need the training, as well as to other priority provinces.
South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB)
The South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB) was launched in Johannesburg on 30 October 2008. This was the culmination of a long process whereby the industry sought a way to address insurance fraud formally, collaboratively and comprehensively.
The implementation process started early in 2008 and was accelerated in July with the appointment of a Head of Operations, Hugo van Zyl, to commence with setting up the SAICB operations. The SAICB moved to its own premises in Midrand in October 2008 and has since been operating as an independent entity. The SAICB is a Section 21 not-for-gain association. The SAICB focuses on identifying organised crime patterns related to insurance fraud and related crimes, investigating these collaboratively with the companies and law enforcement authorities involved and assisting the prosecuting authorities with finalising prosecutions. The SAICB currently has more than 10 member companies.
The SAICB has started the process ofa building as big and varied a database of industry and other relevant information as possible, using the Information Sharing System (IDS) data as a basis. The SAICB has also put various partnerships in place with other relevant role players and has started with a number of large investigations involving several insurance companies, and many claims. The Memex system, which forms the basis of the SAICB operation, has proven invaluable and will surely assist in giving the SAICB members a return on investment.
The SAICB has taken over many functions in the crime-fighting arena that used to be SAIA’s responsibility, including the Fraud Committee as well as the Insurance Fraudline. The SAIA Fraud Committee was transferred to the SAICB, and the Insurance Fraudline contract ended with effect from the end of December 2008. The SAICB signed a new contract with Tip Offs Anonymous, the company that manages the Insurance Fraudline, and took over as the owner of Insurance Fraudline from 1 January 2009.
The link between crime and road safety
- Article by Viviene Pearson
Most people would be very concerned about the fact that around 50 people are murdered in South Africa daily, however, not as many seem to be as worried about the fact that around 36 people lose their lives in road accidents daily. In fact, an important link between crime and road safety exists in more ways than one.
“In general, a link between high crime rates and high accident rates in South Africa exists because of a distinct lack of a law abiding culture and society, amongst many other reasons,” says Viviene Pearson, Manager: Image and Reputation of SAIA.
Statistics show that ninety (90) percent of all road accidents are preceded by a road traffic offence. It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol for example, just as it is to drive over the speed limit, or to skip a traffic light, or to drive a motor vehicle that is not roadworthy, or to drive without a license, adds Pearson.
Not only can any of these offences end up in a tragic motor vehicle accident, with resultant loss of lives, assets as well as money, they can also lead to the driver of the vehicle ending up with a criminal record. Should someone be injured or killed in such an accident, serious charges can be laid at the door of the driver of the vehicle including culpable homicide. Even if an accident does not happen, and a driver of a vehicle is found to be disregarding the law, for example driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver can end up with a criminal record for the offence itself.
“Another link exists between high motor vehicle accident rates and high motor vehicle crime rates,” Pearson adds.
Motor vehicles that are stolen are usually stolen for monetary gain. Some vehicles are stolen for the parts market and end up in ‘chop shops’. The estimated percentage of stolen vehicles ending up in ‘chop shops’, is in the region of 10%. In addition, it is estimated that 30% of stolen vehicles are ‘exported’ to other countries. This means that around 60% of all stolen vehicles land up re-registered on our own roads, that is they end up in the ‘domestic market’.
“Many methods exist to make re-registration of vehicles possible. One of these include buying accident damaged vehicles and/or wrecks, or even just the records of these vehicles, in order to use these records for stolen vehicles. The details of the stolen vehicle are then changed to match the record of the accident damaged vehicle. In this way a stolen vehicle obtains a legitimate life if its own,” says Pearson.
It is for these reasons, as well as the unacceptable losses of many human lives and the cost of the high accident rates on our economy as well as on our industry that the South African Insurance Association is increasingly giving attention to road safety matters in addition to our historical attention to vehicle and other crime in South Africa.