As the New Year unfolds, many South Africans should take the opportunity to reassess their insurance cover to ensure they are adequately protected against emerging risks. Sandro Geyser, Managing Director at IntegriSure Brokers, provides insights into five factors individuals should consider when reviewing their motor and home insurance policies.
1. Power Surge Cover and Load Shedding Protection
South Africans have faced a challenging year, enduring over 330 days of load shedding in 2023, indicating a significant escalation in the country’s power supply crisis. In line with the frequency of unexpected power surges and load shedding in 2023, most insurers implemented significant changes to enhance their approach to power surge cover. These changes included: revised excess structures, policy wording changes, inclusion of definitions outlining what constitutes power surge, optional cover and limits, and in some instances the inclusion of waiting periods for new cover. It is therefore important to familiarise yourself with the policy conditions pertaining to your power surge cover and to understand the extent of cover you will enjoy during load shedding.
2. Cyber Cover: Safeguarding Against the Rising Threats
In an era marked by escalating cyber threats, South Africa has become a primary target for ransomware and e-mail attacks. According to Surfshark’s Data Vulnerability Thermometer research, South Africa’s cyber-crime density – the percentage of cyber-crime victims among a specific number of internet users – has increased by 8% over the last year, placing the country in fifth position globally. Phishing and online payment fraud remain the most prevalent cyber-crimes worldwide. Geyser emphasises the importance of integrating cyber cover into insurance portfolios. “We all know of someone that has been hacked or lost money to cyber criminals. Many consumers are unaware that they can obtain insurance cover for themselves and their family on an individual basis. In line with the shifting cybersecurity risk landscape, cyber cover is not only essential but also affordable, and should form a crucial part of your comprehensive insurance portfolio.”
3. Underinsurance: A Silent Risk
Geyser warns against underinsurance, urging policyholders to annually review cover values to prevent being underinsured. The potential consequences are stark: a failure to increase your contents cover by a very reasonable 10% annually could result in a massive 61% underinsurance after just five years. “The additional premium to accommodate for only a 10% increase in value is minimal. Also, don’t forget to ensure any new items purchased over the festive season are placed on cover.”
4. Excess Structures: Understanding Financial Risk
Do you know what your excesses are on your policies? “All too often a cheaper premium comes with higher excesses. Going from a zero excess on your vehicle to a R20 000 excess can easily result in a 40% change in premium. You can adjust most policy excesses which remains an excellent tool to manage your risk depending on your personal circumstances and budget,” explains Geyser.
5. Risk Mitigating Services: Beyond Conventional Cover
Understanding and managing insurance risks is complex. “Different risks require distinct insurance products, and understanding each policy’s nuances is crucial for adequate protection. As risks evolve, regularly review and update your strategy and cover to align with your current situation. Collaborate with an experienced insurance broker to help navigate policy complexities to ensure proper protection. Brokers should also play a key role in identifying and supporting non-traditional risk management solutions, incorporating elements like risk prediction and prevention.”
In conclusion, Geyser encourages individuals to review product options. “Protect your hard-earned assets by consulting with your broker who will be able to provide you with options and recommendations for a suitable product to best suit your pocket and your needs.”