Stephen Cranston Associate editor

It isn’t much fun writing up the results of such an irritatingly well-managed company as Santam. Its main problem last year, the property insurance book, has swung back to profit as it persuaded more of its clients not to resort to arson. The motor book, run as a loss-leader by most of its competitors, brought in R513m of underwriting profit. The only sector at which anyone can point fingers is its liability business, which went R49m into the red — but much of this was because of R100m in liability claims for its large food-processing clients over the listeriosis outbreak. As Santam insures 85 of the top 100 JSE companies, it is rarely far from such battles. Perhaps Santam is not seen to be at the cutting edge of technology: it often treats its MiWay subsidiary as the guinea pig for insurtech innovation. It still relies on its agents meeting clients in coffee shops and filling out application forms with fountain pens. But CEO Lizé Lambrechts says it isn’t actually as Victorian as it...

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