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Singing for your supper and getting a plateful

09 November 2016 Jonathan Faurie
Adam Samie, Sasria Chairperson

Adam Samie, Sasria Chairperson

Over the past few months, we have been sitting in our chairs watching violence unfold as students took to the streets during this year’s FeesMustFall protest.

While the powers that be are debating the validity and practicality of the call for free education, students are engaging in running battles with the police and private security who they say are provoking them into violence. Many parts of the country have been turned into warzones with places of learning becoming student battlegrounds.

A view from the top

It can be frustrating for many of us watching this because the use of violence to achieve a means, political or not, can never be condoned.

The company that is feeling the majority of the pain during these troubled times is Sasria. As the insurer responsible for covering special risks, it is their duty to make sure that damage caused by the students is covered and that claims lodged as a result of these protests are settled in a speedy manner.

When FAnews spoke with Sasria MD Cedric Masondo in March this year, he said that Sasria is very concerned about the spate of violence in the country, especially when caused by student protests. But that was reflecting on last year’s protests, which was positively tame when compared to this year’s protest.

Despite the violence, Sasria Chairperson Adam Samie put on a brave face when delivering the Chairman’s report in the company’s 2016 Integrated Report.

“Sasria has achieved its objective in becoming a mature, professional and sustainable organisation in terms of our legislative mandate. We believe that we have achieved this, as is evident from our consistently solid performance results; even during a year which brought an increase in the severity of claims due to the increase in turmoil and civil unrest in South Africa,” said Samie.

Et lux in tenebris

While the rest of the country see the protests for what it is, a situation which has very few positive outcomes, Sasria looks on the bright side of the situation.

“Ironically, it is exactly this increase in civil unrest that should create an even greater sense of urgency and highlight the need for us, as for all other state-owned entities and businesses in our country, to begin to contribute more aggressively to South Africa’s transformation agenda,” said Samie.

There is truth in this statement in that in the troublesome times that we face, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the protection that Sasria provides. In his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan inferred that government would be keeping an eye on state owned entities and that they would need to pull up their socks when it comes to their performance. This is a perfect time for Sasria to prove its worth.

Going above and beyond

While we are used to the cover that Sasria traditionally offers, the company is not resting on its laurels and is acutely aware of the role that it can play in the industry as an insurer with significant capacity. In the report, Samie said that Sasria has actively gone out to find gaps in insurance that exist in the market and has come up with ways to lend assistance in these areas.

“In a world where the impact of climate change is a reality, the frequency and severity of disaster is increasing. Countries all over the globe are looking for solutions for protecting their economies and citizens against special risks. In the event of a natural disaster, any government is expected to play its role as the reinsurer of last resort. In our current economic environment it BREAK makes sense for government to enhance the capacity of the state to deal with these special risks, which lead to the destruction of lives and property and result in loss of economic activity whenever they occur,” said Samie.

The rain on the plain

Despite the recent rains that we have had, a lot more needs to come in order for South Africa to overcome the effects the worst drought in recent memory. The situation is still tense and water restrictions still apply in many areas where dam levels are frighteningly low.

“Based on the research that Sasria undertook, we recommended that our government pay urgent attention to addressing these special risks, especially those arising from a potential natural disaster. In light of the changes in our climate and low insurance penetration, we also advised on the importance for government and the insurance industry to come together in public-private partnerships. This will enhance government’s capacity to deal with those special perils facing our country and will also ensure that we mitigate the risk of not achieving our National Development Plan’s main objective of transforming and building a better South Africa,” said Samie.

Editor’s Thoughts:
Becoming everything to everyone runs the risk of creating gaps in the market because attention is focused on a wide front. What we need now is for attention to be focused on paying claims resulting from damage caused by student riots and for government to address student demands. Then we can focus on plugging the other holes in the dam wall. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts [email protected].

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