The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) is the voice of the short-term insurance industry. It represents the industry at all levels and with all stakeholders, to ensure a sustainable and dynamic short-term insurance industry for the benefit of all South Africans.
The SAIA represents most of the short-term insurance companies in South Africa and is authorised to negotiate on their behalf. The Association has 58 members, with a Chairman and vice-Chairman elected from its Board. Members of the SAIA abide by the SAIA Code of Conduct and participate in the Office of the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance. The SAIA also participates and is represented in various organisations within and outside the insurance industry. The Association is managed by a Chief Executive and has 35 staff members.
Following a review of its existing, new and emerging projects, the SAIA has taken a strategic approach to address the sustainability of the insurance industry, in relation to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. This approach is in line with the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance which talks to ESG Risks. The SAIA Board has identified the following key priority areas and agreed on a structure to enable the SAIA to effectively address the issue of short-term insurance sustainability
SAIA's key priority areas as identified by its Board:
- Environmental and Social Risks
- Governance Risks
The core functions of the SAIA are:
- The representation of its members' interests to the public in a proactive manner
- The representation of its members' interests to government at all levels, as well as to other relevant bodies
- The representation of its members' interest to the media
- The provision of a forum for discussion of common interests in the short-term insurance industry
- The facilitation of information flow amongst its members
- Interaction with all associations operating within the insurance industry, both locally and abroad
- Interaction with all relevant organisations and entities especially in the key priority areas
- The setting of appropriate technical standards for the industry
The SAIA administers:
- The Association of Marine Underwriters in South Africa (AMUSA)
- The South African Machinery Insurers Association (SAMIA)
- The South African Pool for the Insurance of Nuclear Risks (SANP)
- The Intermediaries Guarantee Facility Limited (IGF)
The SAIA is involved in several initiative s, both industry wide and short-term industry specific.
- Consumer education, access and enterprise development initiatives and other transformation issues
- Crime initiatives
- Road safety initiatives and other motor issues
- Image and reputation initiatives
- Legislative and regulatory initiatives
In its quest to fight insurance crime, and especially also insurance fraud, the SAIA was instrumental in establishing the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB) at the end of 2008. The SAICB is an independent organisation with its own members and close links to the SAIA.
The SAIA also supports the South African Police Services in combating crime, through participation in various Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) initiatives. The SAIA donates a significant amount of money to Business against Crime on an annual basis to further specifically identified relevant initiatives.
The SAIA contributes to projects aimed at increasing road safety in South Africa and supports the Johannesburg Metro Police Department by implementing initiatives to improve road safety in partnership with BACSA.
The SAIA is also a member of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and is represented on various BUSA Committees.
The SAIA FSC Consumer Education Initiative, implemented annually since 2004, seeks to support projects that will improve financial literacy amongst low income consumers. The funds used for this initiative have in the past been contributed by SAIA members in terms of the Financial Sector Charter requirement that all financial institutions must contribute 0.2% of after tax profits to consumer education. SAIA considers consumer education to be very important and, as a result, the SAIA Board approved a new SAIA Consumer Education Strategy. This strategy affects all SAIA members, irrespective of whether the industry is governed by the Financial Sector Charter or the generic BBBEE Codes. According to this strategy, all SAIA members are required to contribute 0.2% of after tax profits to consumer education in the low income market, and are required to contribute at least half of this 0.2% to the SAIA consumer education initiative. The SAIA Board considered a request from SAIA members that have received exemption for consumer education in terms of the Charter to also be exempted from consumer education in terms of the SAIA Consumer Education Strategy. The request was granted. SAIA members who wish to spend the full 0.2% within their group will also not be required to contribute to the SAIA initiative. SAIA members will, however, be expected to report on their spending on consumer education outside of the SAIA initiative.
SAIA's roots go back to the early part of this century, with the Council of Fire Insurance Companies being formed in 1907. The current SAIA was formed in 1973. This trade association celebrated its centenary in 2007 for serving the South African short-term insurance industry, albeit in different guises, for a full 100 years.