South Africa Insurance


In South Africa insurance companies are plentiful.The insurance industry is well regulated through the Financial Services Board and the South African insurance market can be described as competitive. Numerous local and international insurance providers offer a wide range of insurance products for locals and foreigners residing in the country. In South Africa insurances can be taken out in various forms:

Types of Insurance

An insurance, in general, will transfer the risk or chance of loss from the insured to the insurer. The insurance company accepts the risk or chance of loss and enters into an agreement (written contract) with the client to pay out a certain amount of money in the case of an unexpected event is happening. There are a variety of insurances one should consider especially when moving to South Africa. 

  • Property or Home insurance
  • Household insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Health insurance or Medical cover

Expats living in South Africa will have special needs and requirements to all the above named insurance types, therefore we have set up a special page: Read more about specific Expat Insurances here


Long-Term and Short-Term Insurance

There are two kinds of insurance, long-term and short-term insurances, which need to be considered regarding the protection of your own person and/or family and the protection of personal goods and items or business interests.

  • Short-Term Insurance covers eventualities in regards to a person’s belongings and thus covers personal property when taking out car insurance, household insurance, home insurance or business insurance.
  • Long-Term insurance is an insurance that is directly linked to an insured person’s life or wellbeing. This type of insurance is usually paid over a long period of time and includes life insurance, disability insurance and income protection insurance. This insurance will pay out an agreed amount after a defined event has taken place, such as in the event of an accident that results in disability, unemployment or death of the insured person.

South Africa Insurance Companies

Among the biggest short-term insurance companies in South Africa are:

  • Absa
  • AIG
  • Hollard (acquired Etana in 2013)
  • Mutual & Federal
  • OUTsurance
  • Santam (more than 20% of market share)
  • Zurich

Among the biggest long-term insurance companies in South African are:

  • AIG
  • Alexander Forbes
  • Discovery
  • Hollard
  • Liberty
  • Old Mutual
  • MMI (Metropolitan, Momentum)
  • Sanlam

The regulatory framework of the financial services sector in South Africa is sound, assessments and benchmarking according to international norms are currently introduced in the insurance sector. 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).

South Africa Insurance Tips

  • There are many local insurers, insurance brokers and international insurance companies in South Africa and the insurance market is competitive. It is highly recommended to get quotes from various insurers to compare your offers. Therefore shop around and compare like for like. As several direct insurers (insurance companies without intermediaries or brokers) are settling in the local market, it is advisable to compare premiums in detail.
  • Always make sure your information is handled with care. It is highly recommended not to give away information freely or on the phone, but instead get proper face-to-face consultations with recommended and experienced insurance brokers. Direct insurances are entering the local market, it is advisable to compare premiums in detail.
  • You can contact the short-term insurance industry’s ombudsman’s office if you want to lodge an appeal regarding a dispute with your insurance company. The ombudsman’s office will assist in dispute resolution with insurance companies and is free to insured clients. On their website they also lots of useful information regarding lodging complaints.
  • Insurance fraud is high in South Africa, false claims and applications happen as identity theft is a crime which occurs also here more and more. Make sure your documentation is safeguarded, especially original documents and policies need to be stored at a safe place, preferably at your bank’s safe deposit.
  • The South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB) has established a fraud hotline which is managed by Deloitte and can be reached at 0860 002526 if you suspect fraud or have been a victim of fraud.

Image Credit: shutterstock.com

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