It is true; insurance does not often rank among people’s favourite topics. Still, at some point in our lives, we all have to deal with an insurer directly or indirectly. This is because there are many insurance companies in South Africa offering a myriad of packages covering from phones, jewellery to vehicles, injuries and life itself.
Insurance is probably still overlooked by a huge section of the population – as it is often deemed quite expensive. However, insurance can be a lifesaver in horrible situations, and many people often realise they should have taken out insurance when they find themselves needing it.
Generally, insurance is a way to transfer the risk or chance of loss from the insured to the insurer (insurance company). Through a written contract, the insurance company accepts the risk or chance of loss and agrees to pay out a certain amount of money to restore your valuables as an example.
Types of insurance offered in South Africa
In South Africa, there are many types of insurance one can take out, including the below:
- Property or Home insurance
- Portable Possessions Insurance
- Lifestyle Insurance
- Household insurance
- Car insurance
- Travel insurance
- Business insurance
- Income protection insurance
- Legal Insurance (also called legal cover)
- Health insurance or Medical cover
- Disability insurance or disability cover
- Funeral insurance (commonly called funeral cover)
- Life insurance (also commonly called life cover)
It is our belief that as the world continues to evolve, insurance companies will naturally come with new offerings to meet new needs and this list will also continue to grow.
Still, all these offerings fall under two broad insurance categories.
Difference between Long-Term and Short-Term Insurance
There are basically two kinds of insurance – long-term and short-term insurance. You will need to consider, with category best suits you and your family or business.
- Short-Term Insurance – generally covers one against losing personal belongings. This includes car insurance, household insurance or business insurance.
- Long-Term insurance – generally covers one’s life or wellbeing. It is usually paid over a long period – This type of insurance is usually paid over a long period of time and includes life insurance, disability insurance and income protection insurance. This kind of insurance pays out after an event has happened – like an accident, disability, unemployment or the death of the insured person.
Consequently, Business Link has compiled a list of the biggest insurance companies in South Africa.
Biggest insurance companies in South Africa
The insurance sector in South Africa, which falls under the country’s Financial Services Board, is reputedly sound. The integrity and financial stability of the financial market was acknowledged in the annual Global Competitiveness Survey 2018, when South Africa ranked in the top 20 for its financial system (18th out of 140 countries surveyed).
This list below is in no particular order as things change on an annual basis.
- Sanlam: Based in Bellville, Cape Town, Sanlam is one of the biggest internationally active insurance groups globally. In October 2018, Sanlam became the largest insurer across the African continent following its $1.05 billion (R15.37bn) purchase of shares in Moroccan insurance group – Saham. Established in 1918 as a life insurance company, the Sanlam Group has developed over time into a diversified financial services business.
- Old Mutual: Old Mutual offers a wide range of affordable and comprehensive insurance, investment and corporate solutions as well as financial advice. Founded in 1845, Old Mutual Limited is now a pan-African investment, savings, insurance, and banking group. It is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia and London Stock Exchanges.
- Santam: Recognised as the largest short-term insurance company in South Africa – enjoying a 20% market share, Santam was founded in 1918. They offer everything – car, home, life and business insurance, as well as medical insurance. Based in Cape Town, Santam also has business interest in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
- Outsurance: OUTsurance Holdings Limited, commonly referred to as OUTsurance, is a subsidiary of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings, a South African based financial services investment holding company. OUTsurance Holdings Limited was formed in 1998 and is an unlisted public company with headquarters in Centurion, Johannesburg. Their famous OUTBonus rewards clients with a cashback, provided they have not claimed for a certain period of time
- Discovery: Established in 1992, Discovery offers a range of products including medical aid administration, life insurance, credit cards and investments, underpinned with its internationally-recognised Vitality rewards. Discovery’s health insurance is reputedly in a league of its own.
- Hollard: The Hollard Group is a privately owned insurance group based in South Africa that operates under two insurance licences: short term and life. The company was established in 1980 and is South Africa’s largest privately-owned insurance group with turnover exceeding R15 billion.
- Liberty: Liberty was founded in 1957. Today, it has a presence in 18 African countries and has grown from being a South African life insurer to a pan-African financial services company, offering asset management, investment, insurance and health products to 3.2 million people across Africa.
- MiWay: MiWay was launched in 2008 as an initiative between Santam, Sanlam and PSG. MiWay Insurance was the first South African-based direct insurance company to offer the purchase and administration of short-term insurance policies online. It aims to provide affordable car insurance and home insurance.
- Budget: Budget Insurance is one of South Africa`s top direct insurance companies offering car and home insurance, business insurance and accident insurance. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Johannesburg.
- King Price: King Price Insurance is a South African based, privately held insurance company that offers short term insurance. The company is best known for its monthly decreasing car insurance premium model. It was established in 2012 and has its headquarters in Pretoria. One of their most attractive products is their R1 insurance, which claims to cover smaller valuable for as little as R1 per month!
- 1st For Women: 1st for Women Insurance is a brand tailor-made for South African women. Established in 2004, 1st For Women offers lower insurance premiums and other benefits for women in South Africa.
- Affinity Health: Established in 2011 with a goal to capture the opportunities in the health insurance market and offer affordable private health care to all South Africans, Affinity Health is a specialised supplier of long-term health insurance products. They provide cover.
Other insurance companies in South Africa
Including the above, the list of insurance companies in South Africa, who are reputable and well-known, also includes, but is definitely not limited to:
- AA Car Insurance,
- Alexander Forbes,
- Auto & General,
- Doves Funeral,
- Momentum and
- Standard Bank Insurance.
With so many insurance companies in South Africa, hopefully this article has helped to make things clearer on the biggest players. This article is in no way an endorsement of the insurance companies listed and their offerings.
Thus, we suggest sitting down and doing your research properly if you are in the market for insurance.