What is Alexander Forbes?
Alexander Forbes began in the 1930s as a small life insurance and pension brokerage firm. It is now a leading, multi-faceted provider of financial and insurance services for individuals and businesses in many locations in Europe and Africa, and is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. The current brand of Alexander Forbes Insurance was launched in May 2011. Alexander Forbes is also to be found listed as AFI, and it also includes or operates through various subsidiary companies.
According to the AF website, Alexander Forbes is BEE compliant, and they pride themselves on their level of communal involvement and positive working atmosphere, offering workers a 24-hour telephone helpline for support with emotional and family problems, as well as more tangible remunerations and rewards.
Where can I find an Alexander Forbes office?
Besides their head office in 115 West Street Sandown, Johannesburg, Alexander Forbes has offices in fifteen major cities across South Africa, including Cape Town (Block A, The Boulevard, Searle Street, Woodstock), Durban (10 Torsvale Crescent, Torsvale Park, La Lucia Ridge off Est), East London and Bloemfontein (Corporate Park 8 – 10, Reid Street, Westdene), all of which offer customer support for the full range of Alexander Forbes insurance and financial services. Alexander Forbes also has interests outside of South Africa and are active in Namibia, the UK and another six countries in Europe, as well as one in Abu Dhabi. Trading as AFI and Guardrisk, Alexander Forbes recently extended their African network of subsidiary businesses to eleven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Swaziland, Kenya, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe. Based on information from the AF website, Alexander Forbes oversees the largest network of offices in Africa.
Alexander Forbes South Africa
Within South Africa, Alexander Forbes provides mainly financial, risk and insurance-related services. These include retirement fund administration; actuarial and consulting services; medical scheme and health-related consulting services for businesses and individuals; and individual financial and wealth advice.
Alexander Forbes’ insurance services division is one of the largest corporate risk and insurance brokers in South Africa, and is itself made up of two arms: Alexander Forbes Insurance provides a range of motor insurance and home insurance products (for more details, see below); and Guardrisk, which offers short-term and life cell captive insurance administration and facility management.
Alexander Forbes Insurance Services
Alexander Forbes insurance services offer accident and disability policies; life and health assurance; home insurance and car insurance. Their home and car insurance packages cover a wide range of options: comprehensive cover packages, motor-only packages, those marketed at the general market, and packages intended for premier and high net worth individuals. Alexander Forbes also offers business insurance, with the option of bundling together business, home and car insurance policies into one discounted package. According to Alexander Forbes’ website, they are fully compliant with the Financial Advisors Intermediary Services Act (FAIS), and all their consultants are accredited.
Alexander Forbes Car Insurance policies
Alexander Forbes offers a wide range of car insurance policies. All of Alexander Forbes’ motor-insurance and comprehensive policies can be paid for by a yearly lump payment or by monthly debit order, and if of course you have additional security precautions in your car or home, and low mileage usage on your car, then you will receive premium discounts and reduced excesses rates. Equally, Alexander Forbes gives you the option of increasing your voluntary excess in exchange for lower monthly or yearly premiums. All of Alexander Forbes’ car insurance policies offer new vehicle replacement in the event of a full loss in the first 12 months of registration, and retail value settlement (rather than market value) in the case of a full loss after 12 months. They also include third party insurance. Of course, it is important that you read the small print to make sure these conditions apply to your policy.
Motor only Insurance Policy options:
Alexander Forbes’ basic motor-only insurance policy is ‘Easisure’. It offers a new vehicle replacement should you lose your car entirely during the first 12 months of registration, and a retail value settlement after 12 months; emergency and roadside assistance within RSA; and the option to pay monthly or annually. It also promises to use only approved panel-beaters and genuine parts in the case of vehicle damage, prompt and professional claims handling, and offers various add-ons of voluntary excess and courtesy car hire.
- Meridian MotorExec and Meridian for Mercedes Drivers:
For a premium car insurance only policy, you can choose ‘Meridian MotorExec’ or ‘Meridian for Mercedes Drivers’ which appear to be the same policy, differing only in the make of car covered by the policy. Both offer full off-road protection for SUVs; cover for accessories and factory-fitted audio equipment; the backing of national dealership networks and the promise to use only approved panel-beaters and genuine new parts. As well as the Alexander Forbes’ standard motor insurance benefits (see above), the ‘Meridian’ policies include the added support of a rental car for up to 60 days, including a courtesy car for two days per annum while your car is being serviced. ‘Meridian’ policies also offer emergency medical support, roadside assistance, and home assistance benefits, and the waiver of theft and hijack excess in exchange for the fitting of approved tracking devices.
Comprehensive Insurance policies:
Alexander Forbes recommends combining your car insurance, building insurance and content insurance for a better discount, and offer five different comprehensive insurance options. All of Alexander Forbes’ comprehensive policies offer 24/7 access to emergency assistance services within RSA, and a complimentary courtesy car following theft or hijack. All policies also include the option of adding on watercraft cover at competitive rates. Again, all subject to the terms of your individual policy.
- The Alexander Forbes ‘Priceless’ Insurance Plan
Alexander Forbes’ ‘Priceless’ is a comprehensive insurance plan marketed at families in the middle to upper income bracket, and boasts a wide range of covers. This policy includes motor insurance, cover for buildings and content (including accidental damage to buildings), sports equipment when in use, up to R50,000 on home business assets, and up to R50,000,000 in personal liability cover (based on 2013 terms and conditions).
- The Alexander Forbes ‘Platinum Woman’ Insurance Plan
‘Platinum Woman’ is Alexander Forbes’ comprehensive insurance policy for the female market. Along with all the same general cover for motor insurance, buildings and contents, home business assets, worldwide all risks and personal liability as in the ‘Priceless’ insurance package, Alexander Forbes’ ‘Platinum Woman’ package takes 50% off the regular cost of driver cover for car insurance, in recognition of women’s general lower-risk driver status. The plan of covers many other areas of a women’s day to day needs such as automatic handbag contents cover, breast cancer policy, complimentary hijack prevention training and more.
- The Alexander Forbes ‘55-plus’ Insurance Plan
For customers who are retired and over 55 years of age, Alexander Forbes provides a tailor-made short-term comprehensive combined insurance policy called ‘55plus’. Alexander Forbes’ ‘55plus’ package waives the basic excess that is usually payable upon making a car insurance claim, and offers wider cover and lower-cost premiums than the traditional policies. It also includes all the other covers mentioned in the ‘Priceless’ and ‘Platinum Woman’ policies (subject to T&C).
Alexander Forbes Premium Products:
- Envoy Insurance Package:
The Alexander Forbes ‘Envoy’ insurance package is a comprehensive package intended for individuals of high net worth, and it promises wide coverage, few exclusions, competitive prices and personal attention to reduce the amount of time the policy-holder would need to spend dealing with a claim, should that arise. In addition to those aspects common to the other comprehensive policies, the ‘Envoy’ policy provides you with a rental car for 30 days following the loss of your car, and, in the event of a car insurance claim, it promises to use only manufacturer-approved panel-beaters and genuine new parts.
The Alexander Forbes’ ‘Envoy’ policy includes discounted car insurance rates for mature or female drivers, and for anyone holding a current advanced driving certificate. It also proffers a no-claims bonus system, by which the payable premium reduces after each year that passes without a claim. Alexander Forbes’ ‘Envoy’ policy-holders can settle claims below R5000 on a fast-track basis with limited paperwork. For peace of mind, as well as being underwritten by Alexander Forbes Insurance Company Limited, ‘Envoy’ policies are reinsured with three of the largest insurance companies in South-Africa: Santam, Hollard and Munich-Re, to protect your policy by spreading the risk.
- Collector’s Cars Insurance Policy:
Alexander Forbes ‘Collector’s Cars’ policy is a comprehensive motor insurance package for owners of classic and collector’s cars. As well as all the aforementioned car insurance benefits, the Alexander Forbes’ ‘Collector’s Cars’ policy assures an insurance payout of the ‘agreed value’ of the car; promises to only use approved panel-beaters and genuine parts in the case of needed repairs; and offers the option of buying the salvage in case of write-off. This policy applies only to cars which are over 20 years old and are not used as an everyday vehicle, along with other restrictions. To ensure your protection, the ‘Collector’s Cars’ policy is underwritten by AFI, and reinsured by other leading South African insurance companies.
Alexander Forbes Website Review:
The Alexander Forbes’ website is nicely laid-out with suitably business-like, yet uplifting colours and images. There are many options to sift through on the home page, but they are organised well enough that it is not difficult to find the car insurance options. Each section is about as accessible as you could expect it to be when dealing with such a multi-layered organisation.
Alexander Forbes includes a helpful section of advice and support, which explains the various insurance bundle options and how to make a claim, gives advice on how to choose insurance cover, and includes a glossary of terms used in insurance. The ‘send me a quote’ box which appears on every page makes it possible to skip the bewildering array of glossy options and cut to the chase. However, nowhere on the website can you find a rough idea of how much an average monthly premium might cost for any policy, making it a little frustrating for the casual information-seeker who might not wish to share his or her email details in order to get an idea of how much a given policy might cost.
Alexander Forbes Customer service:
Every Alexander Forbes’ policy brochure stresses the ease of communication which their customers can enjoy, via phone, fax, email, or personal visit. Their customer service page is easy to find, and includes telephone and fax numbers and an email address. There is also a nifty ‘call me back’ box which pops up on every page you view but this is most probably to give you an insurance quote and not service.
Despite the companies ‘top service promise’, they have a poor overall rating on Hellopeter (one of the most popular service review websites in SA), with a ratio of complaints to compliments of almost three to one, mostly concerning feedback and level of responsiveness and other customer service issues. That said, most of the complaints do show an online response from an Alexander Forbes’ customer service representative. Considering the volume of business which a company the size of Alexander Forbes must process every day, to have three complaints for every compliment is not as bad as it might seem.
Alexander Forbes is a large, complex, and multi-faceted company which has clearly put a lot of thought into shaping their insurance policies and packages to the needs of carefully thought-out target markets. They seem easy to contact, and their website is fairly easy to navigate. They are comprehensive in describing both the restrictions and benefits of their insurance packages, and offer good advice and support on the Alexander Forbes website
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