Cape Town: South Africans have recognised short-term insurer, Santam as the clear industry leader when it comes to meeting and exceeding their insurance needs. The 2015 South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) released last week, shows Santam achieving the sole leadership position in a highly competitive short-term insurance industry, further entrenching the group as a leader in handling complaints and paying out insurance claims.

The SAcsi is an independent national benchmark of customer satisfaction of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in South Africa. Last year, more than 2340 customers were surveyed in order to evaluate their satisfaction with their insurance provider. Santam, Mutual and Federal, OUTsurance, Hollard and a category called ‘Other’ were among the brands included.  Santam outperformed the rest of the industry in a number of categories, including customer loyalty, perceived quality and the perceived value of their insurance.

Seen as the closest to the ‘ideal short-term insurer’, Santam reported a high overall satisfaction index score of 80 which places it as the clear industry leader, 2.1 points above the industry average.  The group’s exceptional Net Promoter Score (a measure of a customer’s willingness to recommend a company’s products or services) of 44,7% is also 11.5% higher than the industry average. Said professor Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi: “The link between expectations, perceived quality and perceived value is very important in this difficult economy and it seems as if customers are not necessarily buying into the idea of an insurance service based solely on a lower price.”

The SAcsi showed that Santam’s leadership position is supported by the high quality experience as well as the value for money provided to their customers. Lizé Lambrechts, Santam’s chief executive officer, said: “I am immensely proud to say that the experience we offer our policyholders highlights our consistent efforts and commitment to giving them value. Insurance is an intrinsic part of society. It eases the financial burden of sudden misfortune and loss, both for individuals and businesses. To stand out in a highly competitive industry for service delivery and the value that we offer truly pays testimony to our staff’s commitment to the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles, our claims paying ability and the investments we’ve made over the years.”

In terms of the SAcsi, Santam has also set the industry benchmark when it comes to complaints and complaints handling. Only 7% of Santam customers have complaints about the company, compared to the industry average of 10%. According to the survey, most complaints are about product pricing and claims.

Said Lambrechts: “Our internal complaints handling process is exceptional. We employ the services of an independent internal arbitrator who constitutes the highest decision-making process within our company in settling client disputes.”

Over the past five years, Santam also made significant investments into its claims processing model and technological advancements to contain the cost of claims. In addition, Santam also introduced a number of initiatives aimed at improving its value proposition to customers and helping South Africans lead safer lives. “Our SOS services, weather warnings and education initiatives around better risk management all play a role in the delivery of a comprehensive value proposition,” said Lambrechts.

In 2015, Santam paid out R14 billion in claims; more than any other insurer. “Santam has a proud history of paying claims, paying them quickly and educating the public about their risk. We have long placed customers at the heart of what we do and I believe we work hard to exceed their expectations. This report marks a new chapter in our journey to continue doing that and to improve on our service delivery further still,” said Lambrechts.

The SAcsi showed that Santam performed particularly well on aspects of reliability, attributing a large proportion of this result to intermediary action. Lambrechts said: “Our commendable track record is not only as a result of effective business processes but also because of our culture that strives to help clients better manage their risk. Our intermediaries play an enormously important part in the delivery of our service, which is why we continuously invest in our relationships with them.”

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