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Insurance for the Covid-19 era

22 September 2020 Bidvest Insurance
Phil Donnelly, CEO at Bidvest Insurance

Phil Donnelly, CEO at Bidvest Insurance

Due to the lockdown, many South Africans have had to adapt to working from home, which may soon become the new normal in years to come. As the lockdown took effect and we moved into a digitally connected world, more and more of us were using our cell phones and computers to go online, our window to the outside world.

Our digital world has brought about life changes, with our cell phones and computers being used to buy essentials online. Gone are the days of standing in bank queues at a branch, with most of us using banking apps on a daily basis. Also gone are the days of waiting for takeaways as we order more of our favourite meals online through platforms like Uber Eats and Mr Delivery.

As we adapt to this new normal, have we stopped to think how these behavioural changes put us at risk? With these Covid-19-related risks in mind, Bidvest Insurance has launched a range of new products aimed at protecting the new work-from-home normal.

With South Africa ranked third in the world for cybercrime, according to Accenture, Bidvest identified that cyber scams associated with Covid-19 had spiked at an alarming rate, with international criminals using sophisticated methods to steal precious data from consumers. To mitigate this, Bidvest developed a unique Cyber Rescue product, designed specifically for private individuals, that covers the policyholder for money stolen from a cyberattack. The product also provides customers with antivirus software for cell phones and computers, as well as unique features designed for this new digital world, including Cyber Bullying protection, IT helpline, and device restoration services. The insurer also covers cyber deception and cyber liability, providing legal assistance if the claimant has been accused of causing a cyber threat.

According to findings from global cybersecurity company Kaspersky, in the first week of lockdown, device hacking increased by 1000%. As cyberattacks are increasingly targeted at private individuals, a cyber insurance product should be commonplace in every connected household.

CEO of Bidvest Insurance Phil Donnelly, says, “Not only have we got a much-needed product with great benefits, we are also connecting with international crime experts to keep abreast of the latest cybercrime trends, to inform our customers and the general public”.

Bidvest has also rolled out other services to protect policyholders against risks associated with working from home. Home invasion ranks among the top crimes in South Africa. The insurer has developed the Bidvest Insurance Panic Alert in a response to the large number of South Africans that are currently working from home.

“Unfortunately, we are expecting an increase in general crime as unemployment due to lockdown increases,” says Donnelly. "To help protect individuals in an emergency, Bidvest has developed an insurance product that also includes a panic button on your cell phone. When you press the panic button, an operator immediately calls to check if everything is in order. If they can’t get hold of you, we geolocate your cell phone and send an armed response team out to the phone's location," he explains.

The product is supported by over 2 500 emergency responders from various security companies, which means fast response times. "Whether you are at home, out jogging, or in the car, it is comforting to know that at help is at hand at the click of a button," says Donnely. The new Bidvest Panic Alert product, to be launched in September, covers the cost of replacing stolen items and provides trauma counselling to policyholders.

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