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King Price is reaping the yields of its deep agri roots

25 April 2023 King Price

Insurer King Price’s drive to increase its share of the South African agri insurance sector is paying dividends, with the company reporting 47% growth in annualised premiums in the year to date.

Kobus Stapelberg, the partner who heads up King Price’s agri division, says this growth follows the insurer’s significant investment in the broker community, its ever-growing use of technology and data analytics to offer more innovative products, and its strategy of getting face-to-face with farmers. The company’s distinctive red branding has become a familiar sight at farmers’ days, union associations, auctions and agri festivals across the country as it looks to get closer to its client base.

“Farmers want to know that their insurer understands their environment and really cares,” says Stapelberg. “In the past year, I’ve spent more time than ever before on the road, sitting with our clients and their communities and listening to their needs and concerns. We’re also building strong ties with broker partners, who often have relationships with farming communities that span generations.”

King Price’s world-first ‘pay as you farm’ product, which it offers in partnership with FarmSpace and African Farmers Network, is seeing a steady uptake. By tracking when agricultural vehicles are actually used, the insurer offers farmers an annual rebate of up to 30%.

In addition, King Price offers specialist cover for all agri vehicles, implements and property for both personal and business assets, as well as livestock, under a single policy. It also remains committed to growing its crop book, which currently makes up around half of its total agri premium. Currently, only around 30% of South Africa’s crops are insured, with many farmers preferring to self-insure to reduce costs, or because they feel they can carry the risk themselves.

The agricultural sector currently contributes around 10% of the country’s formal employment and around 3% of GDP. South Africa is a leading producer of chicory, grapefruit, cereals, maize, castor oil seed, pears, sisal, and fibre crops. The dairy industry alone consists of more than 4,300 milk producers, who provide employment for more than 60,000 farm workers and contribute to the livelihood of 40,000 more.

Stapelberg says the impact of loadshedding has been ‘devastating’ in certain parts of the country. In the Northern Cape, farmers couldn’t irrigate in December as planned, and lost massive yield as a result.

“We’re advising farmers to start planning to be self-sustainable when it comes to their energy supply, but there aren’t any short-term solutions or quick fixes. It’s not just a matter of putting up some solar panels. We need a greater focus on energy efficiency, and mitigating risks in the longer term,” he said.

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