MEDIA RELEASE: Intermediaries applaud South Africa’s top insurance brands

The 19th annual FIA Awards were presented on 8 June 2017. The following media release was subsequently issued by the FIA:

Media release

Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA)

9 May 2017

Intermediaries applaud South Africa’s top insurance brands

In a ‘best of the best’ celebration held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg on 8 June 2017, the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) announced the 2017 FIA Awards winners. The Awards celebrate the financial services brands that provide the best product, relationship and service to the country’s financial advisors and insurance brokers.

“Our 19th FIA Awards is not only a celebration of exceptional insurance brands; but an opportunity for us to highlight the value that intermediaries bring to the table by ensuring good financial outcomes for consumers,” says Lizelle van der Merwe, CEO at the FIA. She adds that the appointment of Ask Afrika as the 2017 FIA Awards survey partner was intended to bring the association closer to consumers who are recognised by the FIA as the most important component in all financial transactions.

The FIA Awards are fiercely contested and the winners are not only recognised as companies that go ‘the extra mile’ for South Africa’s insurance brokers and financial advisors; but those that truly have the consumers’ interests at heart. Awards are given in each of 10 categories to reflect the main financial advice disciplines that FIA members are active in, namely employee benefits, financial planning (life & investment); healthcare (health insurance & medical schemes) and short term insurance.

Over the following paragraphs we will share the names of the #2017FIAAWARDS winners along with a layperson’s introduction to the sectors of the economy relevant to each of the FIA’s financial advice disciplines.

Announcing the #2017FIAAWARDS Winners

In the field of short term insurance

“Short term insurance, referred to as property & casualty insurance in the US or general insurance in other country markets, covers individuals and businesses against accidental loss or damage,” says Gareth Stokes, Head: Brand & Communications at the FIA. “Your ‘average Joe’ will insurer his house, household contents and motor vehicle while a firm would buy insurance for assets (buildings, machinery and vehicles) as well as complex cover for business interruption and liabilities”.

The short term insurance industry is a major contributor to the country’s GDP with millions of insureds contributing upwards of R120 billion in annual premiums to the sector – more than 80% of this premium is ‘introduced’ by insurance brokers. “Insurance, especially in the business sector, can be extremely complex – which explains why virtually all commercial and corporate insurance is advised by short term insurance brokers and risk managers,” says Stokes. He adds that some two thirds of individual insureds prefer the advised route when they buy insurance because they understand that brokers have the necessary experience to assess their needs and to source appropriate cover at the right price.

When disaster strikes, the insurers step in, paying out upwards of R80 billion each year to put consumers back into the same position they were prior to a loss event. “Few people pause to consider a country without insurance; the reality is it would grind to a virtual standstill as banks remove financing from businesses and individuals alike,” says Stokes. The insurance brands that offer the best all round package of product, relationship and service to FIA member brokers are:

Short Term Insurer of the Year – Personal Lines: Santam

Short Term Insurer of the Year – Commercial: Renasa

Short Term Insurer of the Year – Corporate: Santam

Underwriting Manager of the Year: Leppard Underwriting

In the field of life insurance and investments

“FIA members in the financial planning discipline advise their clients on a range of financial products, under the life (risk) and investment headings,” says Stokes. “Life insurance includes death, dread disease & disability and funeral covers; investment savings comprises monthly contributions to endowments, retirement annuities, unit trusts and tax free savings plans; and investment lump sum includes single contribution retirement annuities, living annuities, and preservation funds”.

The importance of good financial advice becomes apparent when you consider the size of South Africa’s life and investment market. According to True South Actuaries & Consultants’ ‘2016 Insurance Gap Study’ the life cover held by South Africa’s insured consumers stood at R20.365 billion; much of it originating from the intermediated distribution channel thanks to the tireless activities of employee benefits consultants and financial advisors. The Association for Savings and Investment South Africa meanwhile estimates total regulated household savings in excess of R9 trillion, including R4.4 trillion in retirement funds; R1.9 trillion in collective investment schemes; and R2.6 trillion held by life insurance offices.

“The life and investment universe is complex and mistakes in product selection or the timing and frequency of contributions to such products can make a world of difference to consumer financial outcomes,” says Stokes. He says that consumers should seek the assistance of an advisor to draw up a life financial plan as early as possible, thereby ensuring that their life and savings needs are considered. Financial advisors have a range of products they can turn to to implement the financial plan, with the brands that offer the best combination of product, relationship and support to FIA member brokers being:

Long Term Insurer of the Year – Risk: PPS

Product Supplier of the Year – Investment Product Lump Sum: Allan Gray

Product Supplier of the Year – Investment Product Savings: Allan Gray

In the world of employee benefits

“Employee benefits products include umbrella products (retirement funds), risk benefits and investments for institutional groups such as a fund or an employer,” says Stokes. “This is a specialised area of financial advice typically performed by employee benefits consultants or financial advice practices”. An FIA member in this segment of the market will advise his or her client, the employer group, on the best mix of benefits for the employees of that group. The financial services brand chosen by FIA members as the best at product, relationship and service in the employee benefits market is:

Product Supplier of the Year – Employee Benefits: Sanlam EB

In the world of healthcare

“Although the cover offered by South Africa’s private medical schemes is hardly universal, we cannot ignore the 8.8 million beneficiaries who currently enjoy protection from 83 medical schemes,” says Stokes. There are 60 ‘open’ medical schemes where existing members are represented, and new members introduced, by medical schemes brokers. According to the Council for Medical schemes there are 2214 broker organisations and 8688 individual brokers in this sector, which collects around R151.6 billion in annual premiums.

“Healthcare brokers have a difficult task to keep their clients informed about a complex environment where scheme options, scheme benefits, designated service providers and prescribed minimum benefits are continuously evolving,” says Stokes. “Against this backdrop it is imperative that the medical schemes provide backup and support to FIA members.” In 2016 the FIA added another category in its healthcare section to acknowledge suppliers of gap cover plans; hospital cash plans; and / or primary healthcare insurance policies. The brands going out of their way to assist the FIA brokers in these categories in 2017 are:

Product Supplier of the Year – Healthcare: Momentum Health

Product Supplier of the Year – Health Insurance: Stratum Benefits

“The FIA would like to congratulate each of the finalists and category winners in the 2017 FIA Awards. Your performance is an acknowledgment of your commitment to the intermediated model of financial product distribution – and more importantly it underlines your promise to consumers that you will continue to deliver exceptional financial outcomes underpinned by good financial advice,” concludes Van der Merwe.


For additional information or interview requests:

Gareth Stokes

FIA Communications Manager

073 373 3580


The FIA is proud to introduce the finalists of the 2017 FIA Awards, listed alphabetically under each of 10 awards categories:

In the world of short term insurance

Short Term Insurer of the Year – Personal Lines

Your finalists are Auto & General, Hollard, Momentum, Renasa and Santam

And the winner is… Santam

Short Term Insurer of the Year – Commercial

Your finalists are Auto & General, Guardrisk, Hollard, Renasa and Santam

And the winner is… Renasa

Short Term Insurer of the Year – Corporate

Your finalists are Bryte, Hollard and Santam

And the winner is… Santam

Underwriting Manager of the Year

Your finalists are CIA, KEU, Leppard and Paladin

And the winner is… Leppard Underwriting

In the world of life & investments

Long Term Insurer of the Year – Risk

Your finalists are Hollard Life, Momentum and PPS

And the winner is… PPS

Product Supplier of the Year – Investment Product Lump Sum

Your finalists are Allan Gray, Liberty and Sanlam Glacier

And the winner is… Allan Gray

Product Supplier of the Year – Investment Product Savings

Your finalists are Allan Gray, Old Mutual Wealth and Sanlam Glacier

And the winner is… Allan Gray

In the world of employee benefits

Product Supplier of the Year – Employee Benefits

Your finalists are Liberty Corporate, Momentum EB and Sanlam EB

And the winner is… Sanlam EB

In the world of healthcare

Product Supplier of the Year – Healthcare

Your finalists are Discovery Health, Fedhealth and Momentum Health

And the winner is… Momentum Health

Product Supplier of the Year – Health Insurance

Your finalists are Sirago and Stratum Benefits

And the winner is… Stratum Benefits


The Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) represents, protects, promotes and furthers the common interests of its members, South Africa’s risk and financial advisers. FIA members benefit from the support of an influential organisation with the necessary stature and legitimacy to represent their interests at the highest level, including at the regulators, industry bodies and product suppliers. All members of the FIA are authorised financial services providers or representatives of such providers. Members must adhere to all the requirements prescribed by the FAIS Act and its regulations. In addition, our members are bound by the FIA Code of Conduct, which further aligns the organisation with the financial services regulatory landscape. The FIA enjoys a large and steady national membership comprising financial services intermediaries who cover the broad spectrum of financial planning. We represent more than 12000 licensed employee benefits consultants, financial advisers, medical schemes brokers and short term insurance brokers throughout Southern Africa. To find out more about the FIA visit or contact head office on 012 665 0085.

About Ask Afrika

Ask Afrika has a reputation as a thought leader in service measurement. Their Ask Afrika Orange Index® is SA’s most widely referenced customer service benchmark since 2001 with comparisons across 33 industries and 135 companies in 2016. All research undertaken by Ask Afrika is underpinned by reputational validity and is audited externally and internally to ensure complete transparency and validity. The FIA Awards results will be externally and independently audited by BDO and Dr Ariane Neethling, an independent auditor and statistical expert. Ask Afrika is ESOMAR compliant and ascribes to the ICC/ESOMAR International Code of Conduct.

About the FIA Awards

The FIA Awards has a rich history as South Africa’s most comprehensive ranking of financial product suppliers that are active in the intermediated distribution environment. It is a survey of FIA Member brokers to assess their experience of product suppliers under the headings product quality, service quality, relationship quality and overall satisfaction. The 2017 FIA Awards represent the 19th time the Awards will be hosted.

The FIA Awards serve as a reminder of the complex relationships that exist between advice givers and product suppliers as they join forces to deliver the best possible financial outcome to consumers. An Award is given in each of 10 categories to the product supplier that ranks highest on a comprehensive ‘whole of FIA membership’ broker satisfaction benchmark survey. Awards are issued in each of 10 categories, per the list of finalists contained in this document.