A map of the car insurance industry? That’s right, in the below article, we’re going to do something that has never been publicly done before – we’re going to map out the ownership layout of the South-African car insurance industry. Read on to find out why we’re going to do this and how understanding the intricate connections between the various car insurance companies will benefit you.
Insurance is boring. Why should I care about a Map of the Car Insurance Industry?
Let’s start by addressing the question of why a map of the car insurance industry is important for you. There are so many car insurance companies in South Africa that it can sometimes seem difficult to choose between them. As a consumer, this seems like a good thing because you’re getting lots of choices and therefore stand a greater chance of getting exactly what you need. Plus, if you’re not happy with one company, you can just move over to another. In reality however, things aren’t that simple. What most people don’t know is that many of the ‘independent’ insurance companies they know, aren’t really that ‘independent’ but are rather owned by another insurance company. So if you’re not happy with company X, and decide to move to company Y, you might not really be moving but just kind of changing the name of your insurance company. Also, if you think that your getting competing quotes from 4 different insurance companies, you might in fact be getting them from companies that are all owned by the same ‘mother’ company.
To be fair, we must point out that each registered company is an entity of its own (legally speaking), and that although a group of insurance companies may be owned by the same mother company, the level of service, prices etc. may vary greatly from each other. Either way, we thought it only fair that you know how all of these insurance companies connect. And that’s why we’re here, to unravel all those car insurance connections with our never before seen map of the car insurance industry!
That’s a good reason. Got any more?
In addition to the above reasons, there are also some financial benefits to knowing how companies are connected.
Say for example company A and company B are both owned by company C and offer the same car insurance policy, there’s the possibility that you could be getting a better price with one company than with the other, even though you’re getting the same product. On the other hand, maybe both companies offer the same product at the same price, but you get better extras (road accident assistance maybe, or entertainment bonuses) with company A, or vice versa.
Another example of how this may help you is that insurance companies often offer discounts for buying more than one policy. Say your home insurance is with company A, then buying your car insurance from company A should get you cheaper premiums. The catch is that even if you buy your car insurance from company B, there’s a chance that company B is owned, partnered, or underwritten by company A anyway.
Knowing where your car insurance policy is coming from is an important part of being an informed consumer. So let’s get down to business.
Disclaimer: All information was gathered from the websites of the respective companies, and we can take no responsibility for mistakes on their behalf.
Understanding the Language in Our Map of the Car Insurance Industry
Before we get to who owns who and an explanation of our map of the car insurance industry, there are a few basic terms that we should cover first.
“Own” = we mean that one company directly owns or controls another.
“Underwrites” = means that one company financially backs or guarantees the policies of another company. For example, if company A underwrites company B, then if company B goes bankrupt, then company A will take over the debts and obligations.
“Partner” = this is a bit of a ‘fuzzy’ definition. In general it means that whilst one company doesn’t own another they do have an agreement to work together in a certain area (though it’s not always clear how profits are split or who earns money from who).
Before carrying on, we suggest that you have our special infographic map in front of you. Click HERE to open our map of the car insurance industry in a new window
Group 1: The Telesure Car Insurance Companies
The Telesure Group was founded in 1998, and owns the largest number of South African car insurance companies. The group directly owns: Auto and General, First for Women Insurance, Budget Insurance (who in turn operate Prosper Insurance as a product line), Dial Direct Insurance, Virgin Money Insurance (who are underwritten by Dial Direct), Virseker and Unity (both of which are underwritten by Auto and General).
Auto and General not only underwrites both Virseker and Unity insurance, but it also partners with Woolworths Car Insurance and African Independent Insurance (who in turn partner with Oakhurst Insurance). Additionally, Auto and General underwrites FNB insurance (who you’ll hear more about later). However, and thankfully (in case something happens to them), Auto and General themselves are underwritten by another company, called MUA, which is part of the Hannover Reinsurance Group. To be clear, the Telesure Group does NOT “own” Woolworths Car Insurance, African Independent Insurance, Oakhurst Insurance, or MUA Insurance, these companies simply cooperate with other Telesure companies.
Group 2: The Hannover Reinsurance Group
The Hannover Reinsurance Group is a small one, owning and operating only MUA Insurance in South Africa. Though, as mentioned above, MUA underwrites policies offered by Auto and General, which in turn underwrites many other companies in the Telesure group.
Group 3: The Hollard Insurance Group
The Hollard Insurance Group owns Hollard Insurance, as you may have guessed. And Hollard Insurance underwrites the policies offered by both PPS Insurance and FNB Insurance (though as you may remember from above, Auto and General also underwrite policies for FNB). Hollard Insurance also bought back Etana Insurance in 2014.
Group 4: Old Mutual Plc. Car Insurance Companies
Group 5: The Sanlam Group
Group 6: Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings
Finally, Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings owns two South African car insurance companies: OUTsurance and Youi. Rand Merchant are also the underwriters for another two companies: Prime Meridian Insurance and CIB Insurance.
What About the Other Car Insurance Companies?
These aren’t all of the car insurance companies in South Africa. There are a further sixteen companies that have no connections to each other, or at least none that we could find. These companies are: Alexander Forbes Insurance, AIG Insurance, Momentum Insurance, Regent Insurance, Discovery Insurance, Absa Insurance, AON Insurance, Indwe Risk, Zurich Insurance, Standard Bank Insurance, WesBank Insurance, Ooba Insurance, New National Assurance, Kestrel Insurance, Saxum Insurance, and King Price Insurance.
1) AA Insurance are not currently offering insurance policies.
2) Integrisure state that they are underwritten by some of South Africa’s largest insurers, but do not specify company names. The underwriting company may be Santam but this is not confirmed.
Map of the Car Insurance Industry: Bottom Line
Sure, how car insurance companies are connected can seem a little confusing. However, if you really want to know who your policy is coming from, and how to better shop around, it’s important to know this information.
Main Subject: map of the car insurance industry
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