Insurers must put the S into ESG, suggests Sapphire, and respond to changing demandsGary Corke, CEO, Sapphire Risk Transfer

Insurers must put the S into ESG, suggests Sapphire, and respond to changing demands

With any physical damage, there is usually a mental health trauma running alongside it – but too often insurance products focus on the physical and financial element alone, without any provision for the mental trauma suffered of those individuals impacted.

However, a new product has come onto the market. Sapphire Risk Transfer has enhanced its new,   standard corporate property crisis management product, Azure,  by adding a focused trauma service that delivers a a human indemnity aspect through service provider  MBL Global.

So far the enhanced product has been launched in South Africa, but CEO Gary Corke has plans to expand into Mauritius, Botswana and also into Bermuda. Next year he has Australia and France in his sights.

He stressed: “I am not an expert in mental health – it is an extremely serious area, but there was a gap in the market to provide care to those who need it.

“Standard offerings are always about replacement. If an office burns down, the insurance will cover the rebuild costs but what about the impact on the people who work there and have had their lives turned upside down.”

From an individual kidnapping to industrial-scale disasters, the MBL solution provides a socially responsible, coordinated turnkey solution to those affected in dealing with one of today’s most pressing problems worldwide – mental health.

The MBL service allows insurers and MGAs across the world to deliver a coordinated, comprehensive rapid response and post-event counselling service, providing targeted and event-specific one-to-one, virtual, group and telephonic post-event case management as required to those in the vicinity psychologically affected, returning them to the state of mental health they enjoyed prior to the incident.

Mr Corke added that, with people becoming more open about mental health challenges, the demand for help was growing.

“It is not just the business that suffers after an insured event but the people who were there, from workers and shoppers to witnesses.”

The aim is to add a Human Indemnity offering onto more traditional insurance products, such as political violence, through enhanced wordings.

If there is sufficient interest, the indemnity aspect may emerge as a standalone product. “Make no mistake, these types of products are driven by demand. It is on offer to larger corporate clients to start with but there is no reason why it cannot work for smaller companies too,” said Mr Corke.

“We in the insurance industry will be put under more pressure in the future to come up with answers on what we are trying to do in terms of ESG,” he added.

Mr Corke admitted that cost can be an inhibitor when it comes to product development but as an online operation, he said, they can drive costs down as much as possible to ensure the insurance cover if affordable and accessible as far as possible.

He is also encouraging other insurers to take up the product and add it on to their existing covers.

Responding to questions about the ongoing debate over the use of fossil fuels and the dependence on fossil fuels across Africa, Mr Corke admitted: “Africa cannot survive without fossil fuels but I understand the drive towards renewables. We can’t automatically stop giving solutions for people but we can explore other opportunities.

“We need to find solutions that differentiate ourselves and our products going forward if insurance is to remain relevant,” argued Mr Corke.

He also suggested there is a real opportunity for smaller players. “We can be nimble and respond quickly to demand from customers,” said Mr Corke. “We do not have to deal with legacy systems and we have the flexibility to adapt as required.

“I just think that for us to be a sustainable organisation going forward, we have to compete on things other than price.”


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