New Market Research Report: South Africa Insurance Report Q3 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Tue May 27 2014

The challenges and opportunities that dominated 2013 will continue to prevail in 2014. Many of South Africa's leading life companies will achieve good growth in premiums and/or profits thanks mainly to product innovation. In the non-life segment, particular niches may achieve strong increases in premiums. Non-life insurers will continue to deal with inflation in claims and other expenses. In both of the main segments, the process of gradual consolidation will continue. In general, though, non-life penetration remains in a downtrend.

We see some growth potential in the life segment due to the fact that most South Africans who can afford the savings (and protection) solutions that are offered by the country's substantial and sophisticated insurers are already customers. This will provide further opportunities for innovation in terms of products and distribution channels. The leading life insurers will also make progress in developing attractive products for the Mass Foundation (low income) section of the market. However, the challenging economic environment and a continuing downtrend in non-life penetration will remain problematic for the country' s non-life insurers.

Full Report Details at

The Financial Services Board (FSB)'s solvency assessment and management (SAM) regime may require some players to strengthen their capital bases over the coming years. However, it is very difficult to imagine the problems will be insurmountable. SAM will take effect from the beginning of 2016. We remain of the view that more high-profile deals, following the merger that produced MMI Holdings, could well occur. As of mid-2014, the strengths of the world class (and predominantly indigenous) South African insurers are obvious. In the life segment, the main players have scale by any metric, along with advantages that include multi-channel distribution, targeted marketing strategies, capital strength and well recognised brand names.

Many of the leading non-life companies have the advantages that come from affiliation with the major life groups or other financial services companies. In both major segments, companies are working actively to control costs in face of a fairly difficult economic environment. Innovative and resilient to emerging markets risk, many of the South African companies are developing products that are tailored for the needs of low income groups and/or are expanding into other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Recent Developments

* The mixed performance of South Africa's economy has constrained household disposable incomes - which has been a challenge for both major segments.
* Non-life claims have been inflated as a result of natural catastrophes, fraud, and the impact of the slippage in the rand versus major currencies.
* Particular non-life niches have grown quite quickly.
* Low interest rates have crimped investment earnings for both non-life and life insurers.

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