This week’s column is a little different – we’re publishing a feature which appeared in the March edition of COVER magazine.
“We are talking all things motor with Ian Georgeson, Cross Country Insurance Consultants. An exciting topic to explore, as South Africans are very much into their 4X4’s
Tony: For those people that might not know, Cross Country or CCIC, please give us some background.
Ian: We have been around for a while, having launched in 1998, from a shared vision with SA Eagle. We started by launching a product called the All Terrain Insurance Plan, a product designed to cater for the policyholder who had an outdoor interest.
The emphasis was to share a common passion, for both CCIC policyholders and the brokers who appreciated the outdoor pursuits. I think the advantage of the All Terrain project was the ability to design a product for the outdoor enthusiast, enabling us to ensure any number of risks in the outdoor pursuits. The project enabled us to communicate to our customers with whom we shared something in common and to secure a long term relationship, which is very important.
We subsequently set up an association with Renasa 12 years ago, which has really benefited us and enhanced our product range and resulted in growth in our business.
We did hit a couple of milestones over the last 18 years, first implementing the ITC platform in profiling prospective clients and being able to integrate this into our ratings platform. I think we were one of the first companies to serve a 24/7 app for medical emergencies, breakdowns, accident reporting and activation. Also, eight years ago, we started the implementation of a telematics platform, enabling us to utilise driver behaviour algorithms, and cost premiums individually.
Tony: Now the 4X4 is basically a private, individual vehicle, but obviously, there are different risks faced by the drivers as well as the brokers who are insuring them in this environment. Can you give us a breakdown as to how you view these risks?
Ian: As I mentioned, our brokers are really the first contact with the policyholder. Through product orientation and training we assist the broker in understanding the difference in cover between the standard and the 4X4 vehicle. We give an overview of the correct cover, competitive pricing and excess structures and again, value added products, which are important to minimise loss and are not included in the normal cover. Here relationship and great service is king.
It is very important for brokers to carry out a comprehensive needs analysis with their clients. The risks in this market segment are very different to normal motor risks. This does not mean that the policyholder is excluded from the normal motor risks. They still operate a motor vehicle, use public roads and therefore subject themselves to the same level of risk as every vehicle owner. The main risk is the loss and damage to an asset by additional exposure travelling outside RSA territories. Also not having the correct cover in place when using the vehicle off road and in an organised off road event.
Medical assistance and evacuation of the driver and all the passengers, not one or two, all passengers, are other risk prevention factors. The broker should be able to anticipate any risk exposure and offer an unparalleled recovery programme in risk mitigation.
It’s important to note that there’s an entire set of risks that fall wide of the normal. For example, a mechanical failure of a vehicle parked in your garage is a big inconvenience. However, the mechanical failure of a vehicle parked under a tree, outside RSA, is potentially a bigger headache. We have all these things set up for risk mitigation and it is very important that the broker actually utilises this for their clients.
Tony: How does the broker fit into this process? Does he/she need to be knowledgeable about the 4X4 space?
Ian: We have a broker network of about 600 brokers countrywide and have very close relationships with about 160 or so of them. Generally, these brokers do have specific knowledge of 4X4 insurance. We also have a training portal for the broker to assist in product training, which is very important. Over time, we have built strong relationships with many associations in, 4X4, Hunting and Classic car sphere. We involve our brokers in these groups to foster new business and gain knowledge for our product development and possible risk exposure.
For us, driver training, eventing and sponsorships are integral for awareness and branding. Again, we involve our brokers in these programmes as they will have access to the club and association members and be able to utilise our products with them. So it’s a huge network and as I said, we have nurtured these relationships over many years.”