SA's short-term insurance industry contributes to the fight against vehicle crime

06 February 2007 SAIA - Barry Scott

South African short-term insurance industry contributes R1.336 million to the fight against vehicle crime.

The South African Insurance Association (SAIA), representing its fifty four (54) short-term insurance member companies, handed a cheque to the value of R1.336 million to Business Against Crime South Africa as its contribution towards the fight against vehicle crime in South Africa today, 5 February 2007.  The ceremony took place during a media conference in Johannesburg.

"The SAIA is convinced that the good work done by Business Against Crime South Africa through its vehicle crime project that has been operational since 1997, has contributed greatly to the systematic reduction in vehicle crime since 1998/0.   The unfortunate recent spike in these types of crimes, however, makes our joint efforts with Business Against Crime South Africa, the South African Police Service, The Department of Transport, the National Prosecuting Authority and others even more important," said SAIA Chief Executive Barry Scott.

Reported vehicle thefts and robberies have declined on a year-on-year basis since this reached a peak of 115 557 vehicles in 1998/9 to the lowest ever recorded level of 96 291 in 2004/5. The official statistics released by the South African Police Service for the period 2005/2006 reports an increase in the theft of motor vehicles to a total of 85 964.

The rate of vehicle theft and robbery (expressed as the number of vehicles stolen or hijacked per 1 000 vehicles registered) declined from a high of 17,5 to 12,9 vehicles per 1 000 registered vehicles for the period 1998 to 2004. This represents a 26% reduction in the rate of vehicle theft and hijackings.

Both Business Against Crime South Africa and the SAIA reiterated at this media conference, that notwithstanding these previous successes, vehicle crime remains unacceptably high in South Africa.  This challenge needs to be faced head on through a concerted effort by all relevant parties.

According to Siphiwe Nzimande, the CEO of Business Against Crime South Africa, the national vehicle crime project takes a proactive approach by setting targets and defining specifically what needs to be done to achieve these targets. 

The objectives of this project include:

* Reducing the Illegal Re-registration of Stolen and Hijacked Motor Vehicles (50% of the problem)
* Securing the Movement of Vehicles Through the Borders of the Country (30% of the problem)
* Disrupting the Illegal Trade in Motor Vehicles and Parts (20% of the problem)
* Promoting and Enabling the Sharing, Analysis and Interpretation of Vehicle Crime Related Information
* Securing the Identity of Motor Vehicles
* Enhancing Law Enforcement, Investigation and Prosecution

"In addition to this financial contribution to Business Against Crime South Africa, the ongoing support and commitment which Business Against Crime South Africa receive from SAIA and the many insurance companies in fighting the scourge of vehicle theft and hijackings are critical for the national successes in combating these crimes," added Mr Nzimande.

"We share the responsibility of facing the challenge of unacceptably high crime levels in South Africa with the government and other corporate and individual citizens.  In addition, it is very much in the interest of the short-term insurance industry that we remain involved in combating vehicle crime.  Motor insurance is our largest class of business, with 43% of the industrys gross premium being motor.    Half the net cost of all claims paid is for motor claims. During 2004 for example, of the total value of net claims of R15.4bn, R7.6bn was for motor claims.  Approximately 30% of these motor claims relate to vehicle crime," said Mr Scott.

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