SAIA reflects on 100 years of existence

13 July 2007 South African Insurance Association (SAIA)

The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) reflected on one hundred years of existence at its Annual Cocktail Function following its Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg today.  The SAIA represents the short-term insurance industry in South Africa.

"I believe that the SAIA, albeit in different guises, has managed to continuously adapt and grow according to the challenges presented to it.  Who would have thought that the Council of Fire Insurance Companies that was formed in 1907 would eventually end up as the South African Insurance Association representing 53 member companies in 2007," said Mr Adam Samie, Chairperson of the SAIA Board at this function during his Chairpersons report.

The SAIA, its members, and the industry it represents had faced many challenges during its existence, added Mr Samie, who proceeded to reflect on those faced in the previous financial year of this association, including legislative, transformation and image and reputation issues. 

"One of the most relevant changes that we face as an industry is the ever increasing emphasis on consumer issues.  I believe the time has come to revisit some of our practises as an industry, and align these with modern trends in order to ensure that we contribute to appropriate consumer protection," said Mr Samie.

"One of the issues that we will have to revisit as soon as possible, is the current short-term insurance practises in the consumer credit insurance arena.  We have taken note of the media reports of the alleged commission transgressions in the credit life assurance market. 

"Discussions between the SAIA and the LOA are currently underway to find an appropriate  way in which to address this issue," said Mr Samie.

More about this issue will be made known as events unfold. 

Mr Adam then moved onto other issues and said that, in recognition of the increasingly evident priority issues in the industry namely transformation, legislation and regulation,and image and reputation, the SAIA will be focusing on these three areas in future.

One of the very relevant and important challenges faced by the industry on a continuous basis similar to all individuals, businesses and organizations is crime, added Mr Samie.

"The SAIA has been committed to the fight against crime for a long time.  The more than R1 million per annum the Association and its members have donated to Business Against Crime South Africa since 2002, is proof of this commitment.  The aim of this donation is to fight vehicle crime, including hijackings.  Although we are concerned about the recent upswing in hijackings, we believe this project has been extremely successful because the overall trends in all vehicle crime types since 2002 have been downward," Mr Samie said.

"The SAIA is also very involved in the Big Business Working Group/Government joint crime initiative, and especially in the Organized and Violent Crime Workgroup.  We are also currently looking to get involved in an appropriate additional crime project that would benefit the industry specifically, but also society as a whole," said Mr Samie.

This commitment to the fight against crime was further illustrated by the fact that the keynote address at the event was delivered by the MEC for Community Safety of Gauteng, Mr Firoz Cachalia. The SAIA has been involved in discussions with several parties, including Mr Cachalia and his department, Business Against Crime and other relevant role players with regards to potential partnerships in the fight against crime. 


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