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The Biggest Global Trends In The Insurtech Space Currently…

The potential is huge, and insurers who offer world-class end-to-end ecosystems with the latest in insurtech solutions will be well-positioned to be the chosen provider to a market that’s currently relatively untapped.





Emerging market insurtech companies are set to play a major role in the predicted rise of premium growth across the global insurance industry – an expectation which has motivated Sanlam to become the first South African insurtech partner to Plug and Play, the largest global innovation platform, based in Silicon Valley.

Munich Re’s prediction that the insurance industry’s growth will outperform the global economy in 2018/19 with global premium growth of over €460-billion, has therefore resulted in the potential creation of an African hub for Plug and Play, which is set to see ripple benefits with win-win scenarios for global start-ups and African insurtech companies.

“The market landscape in South Africa is in a unique position to embrace startup solutions in providing innovative products and services to customers,” said Plug and Play Founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi. “We’re delighted to be partnering with Sanlam and feel we have much to learn from one another.”

As part of it’s anchor partnership, Sanlam and Plug and Play are hosting an inaugural Innovation Conference on 23-24 October 2018 in Cape Town, attracting speakers such as tech expert Arthur Goldstuck as well as Sanlam’s Head of Design, Jack Kruger and Peter Castleden, CEO at Indie.

Sanlam has received strong recognition for its backing of first-of-its-kind solutions like Go Cover, which offers on-demand accidental injury and death cover, and Indie Fin – a digital-first insurer which simplifies life insurance for ‘the mobile generation’. Both provide quick, easy offerings with slick user interfaces. They demonstrate an iterative, agile approach to product development, with fast execution and performance-aligned revisions. Agility is a buzzword in business currently, and it’s one of the predominant benefits of insurtech solutions.

The conference will cover key insights into how to harness these solutions to deliver a cohesive client journey. Ahmed Banderker, Chief Executive of Sanlam Business Development, is convinced that Sanlam’s sustained market relevance is the result of its ongoing ability to innovate. “This year Sanlam turned 100. You don’t become a centenarian by being complacent.”  He says Plug and Play gives the company access to an extensive ecosystem of strategically-aligned start-ups who will play a pivotal role in boosting Sanlam’s digital transformation journey.

Related: Trends To Fast Track Your Business In 2018

Banderker lists some of the biggest global trends in the insurtech space currently: 

  1. The evolution of ecosystems: An ecosystem is defined by McKinsey as ‘an interconnected set of services that allow users to fulfil multiple needs from one, integrated experience’. In its report, McKinsey predicts that by 2025, ecosystems will be responsible for 30% of global revenues. Insurtech start-ups are pivotal partners for insurers looking to move to the ecosystem space – a space Sanlam already operates in, especially in conjunction with short-term insurer Santam.
  2. The Internet of Things: The IoT refers to Internet-connected devices, vehicles and so forth, that can ‘connect, collect and exchange data’. For insurers, the IoT offers phenomenal potential in terms of product and user-experience personalisation, streamlined client interactions and data collection. According to Deloitte, 80-million smart home devices were delivered worldwide in 2016, with over 600-million expected to be in use by 2021.
  3. Changing customer expectations: With the rise of the IoT, robotics, artificial intelligence and automation, customers are expecting more. People expect an omni-channel communication approach via the channels (like WhatsApp, email) they naturally gravitate towards. They expect immediacy. They are starting to respond positively to robo-advice. They’re motivated by gamification – especially in the financial education space. From a gamification perspective, there’s much work to be done in the consumer education space around financial literacy, in the South African market especially. In terms of immediacy, it may soon be a case of simply sending a ‘selfie’ to an insurer, who’ll have the facial recognition software required to assess a client’s longevity just from a photo.
  4. Advanced analytics: In the insurance space, big data and analytics are particularly important. Everything is based on data so a focus of insurtech is not just how to capture it, but how to intelligently use strategic insights to streamline underwriting, lower costs and enable online distribution capacity.
  5. Microinsurance: Insurtech has positive implications for micro-insurance, which aims to offer affordable cover to low-income households. Automation and robo-advice, for example, are helping to bring down insurance costs, potentially making products more accessible.
  6. Personalisation: Data and analytics are driving mass policy personalisation at an increasingly granular level. Sanlam’s acquisition of BrightRock– a personalised, needs-matched life insurance provider – is testament to its belief in personalisation as an upcoming necessity. Personalisation of user experience is another focal point.

Related: 3 Tech Trends Your Franchise Should To Keep Up With During The 2018 Restaurant Revolution

Banderker says, “Our Plug and Play partnership means we can present a problem statement and start-ups across multiple verticals will pitch solutions. So a problem that may seem to sit in the insurtech space could be solved in the Fintech or Retail vertical. Access to this kind of ecosystem is invaluable. The beauty of startups is the agility they offer in creating intelligent solutions to specialised problems. This modular approach catalyses speedy solves. Then you put all the solves together and you have something truly unique to offer clients. Which is what our client-centric approach is all about.”

In terms of South Africa and Africa at large, there’s incredible opportunity for insurtech innovations. Goliaths like Google are working hard to cheaply solve connectivity access issues and it’s inevitable that data costs will come down. This has big ramifications in a country like SA, where more than half the population own smartphones. The potential is huge, and insurers who offer world-class end-to-end ecosystems with the latest in insurtech solutions will be well-positioned to be the chosen provider to a market that’s currently relatively untapped.

For more information on Plug and Play and Sanlam, visit

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Entrepreneur Today

What Franchises Need To Lookout For From Budget Speech

Franchise business owners are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the 2019 National Budget Speech to be delivered by Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, as they seek more opportunities to increase their contribution to GDP.





Morne Cronje, FNB Head of Franchising, says the Budget Speech is an important economic indicator that franchises can use to gain insight on the government’s plans on spending and economic growth for the year ahead.

He highlights potential National Budget Speech outcomes that could boost confidence of franchises:


Any form of relief that is likely to bring positive change, rebuild confidence and address some of the key challenges impacting consumers will be welcome by franchises.

Cronje says consumer spending contributes a significant portion to the profit margins of franchises especially in the food sector.

Economic growth

Rating agencies are keeping a close watch on South Africa’s performance and prospects for growth, which will impact our Sovereign ratings for the rest of the year.

Measures that the government puts in place to promote economic growth this year will be of interest to franchises.


Franchise owners will be looking to benefit from regulatory changes that aim to improve growth, operating environment and enhance participation in all facets of the formal economy.


Based on the Mid-Term Budget Review in October 2018, there’s likely to be no major shake up from a business tax perspective. The anticipated relief in tax will go a long way to boost the profit margins of franchisees.

Infrastructure investment

Spending on infrastructure creates vast opportunities for franchise business owners, as well as job creation in the country. The government has signalled an intention to partner with the private sector to develop an infrastructure fund to increase investment in public infrastructure.

“Franchises that operate in South Africa should prioritise the National Budget Speech as key decisions announced by the minister have a direct impact on their growth,” concludes Cronje.

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Entrepreneur Today

5 Businesses You Should Start in 2019

Here’s the lowdown on consumer and technology opportunities in 2019 and beyond.





Savvy entrepreneurs should keep a close watch on consumer and technology trends in 2019. This, according to Silvertree Internet Holdings Co-founder and MD, Manuel Koser. Having invested in and grown a number of highly successful South African brands (among them,,,,,, and Silvertree’s management team sees several business opportunities set to grow exponentially over the coming decade.

Here’s the lowdown on consumer and technology opportunities in 2019 and beyond.

1. Indigenous and ethical: Personal and home care products

2019 Sees growing potential for personal care products – ‘Those with local and indigenous ingredients, ethical sourcing which is kind to nature and the body,’ Koser explains. ‘There is a lot of room to play in the African haircare market particularly, as it’s often overlooked by the major FMCG companies.’

The Silvertree MD also sees increasing room for innovative natural home cleaners as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious. ‘Until now, it was all about the well-known cleaning products the major chemical manufacturers put on the shelves. Now, there’s increasing space for new, exciting entrants.’

2. New beverages

‘Locally-sourced ingredients and an earth-first mindset will also play an increasing role in the consumer beverage market. Add to this the fact that major soft drink manufacturers will struggle to produce drinks for increasingly health-conscious consumers. They’re often just not quick enough to adjust to changing consumer tastes – particularly the tastes of millennials. Think less about a standard fizzy drink, but rather one that’s kind to the body, with natural ingredients. Non-alcoholic: water plus, say, cucumber, or another indigenous ingredient. The market for this will grow.’

3. Ethical snacking

Plant-based, vegan, ancient grains, ethical, protein-rich snacks – these are just some of the trends Koser sees dominating in the snack segment in 2019 and beyond. It’s about unique, tasty, functional foods that cater to the modern, time-starved consumer, Koser explains.

4. Buy, sell and compare online

In the technology space, marketplaces, e-commerce sites and classifieds will all gain momentum in 2019 and beyond. This encompasses aggregators as well as more unusual online businesses, which are increasingly able to find and reach consumers interested in niche products and services.

‘Consider an online ice-cream business. Once, something like that would have been unthinkable,’ Koser explains. ‘But as consumers demand greater choice, room for niche products like this grows.’

Yet, dabble online and seamless execution and delivery become make-or-break factors. ‘Many South African consumers use services such as Google, Amazon, Uber and Spotify daily – world-class products that function on a global scale. You can call an Uber and wait for just two minutes before getting a ride,’ Koser explains. ‘It’s quick and totally seamless. Consumers have come to expect that level of service across the board. Aligned to this is the fact that the millennial wave is currently hitting Cape Town right now, and Joburg secondarily, meaning a number of opportunities are opening up. Go after products and services in the right space and consumers will follow.’

5. Reinvent the wheel – and make it better

The final type of business entrepreneurs should keep an eye on is those that currently have low Net Promoter Scores. ‘This means that very few people like them, or the services they provide are of very poor quality,’ Koser explains. ‘Think of postal service providers or telecoms companies. With any monopolistic or oligopolistic structures, the service is often terrible because the heavyweights hold so much power. There’s a huge gap here.’

An allied approach for entrepreneurs is to assess opportunities for automation, or cutting out the middleman with technology. ‘Once, many markets – such as real estate were opaque, meaning you needed a middleman to help you transact. However, as the capabilities of technology have grown, markets have become far more transparent – making it easier for buyers to match with sellers safely. Today, a lot of this is easy to automate services – think about connecting a homeowner to a prospective renter through a digital solution where renters can be qualified, for example, in terms of their finances, personal information and criminal records. Quick and simple. And no middleman.’

The biggest opportunities here centre around where consumers spend the greatest amounts of time and money, Koser notes. ‘Housing and rent are always major costs. In terms of where consumers spend their time, on the other hand, much of it is, on a mobile phone, or PC.’

However, entrepreneurial success is never down to any one magic formula, Koser emphasises. Nor does Silvertree invest in prospective entrepreneurs solely on the basis of the product or service they offer. ‘It’s about passion, perseverance and tenacity as much as it is about the quality of the product.’

Silvertree Internet Holdings is an investment growth partner who aims to understand, grow and scale business, consumer and digital brands to unlock the brands’ exponential growth.

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Entrepreneur Today

What To Watch For In Tito Mboweni’s First Budget Speech

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa.





Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivers his first Budget Speech on 20 February at a difficult time for the South African economy. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa has done much to restore business confidence in his first year in office, GDP growth remains weak, government finances are in relatively poor shape, and renewed load shedding is hurting business confidence.

Judging from his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year, I expect Minister Mboweni — backed by the team in the National Treasury—to deliver a relatively cautious budget. Much of the focus will be on refinancing the state-owned enterprises and putting them back on to a sustainable footing.

We probably won’t see much in the way of radical thinking since the room for manoeuvre is so limited. Click each header below for an indepth video on the upcoming topics.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

Renewal of the country’s public healthcare system with a mandatory health insurance fund and free healthcare at the point of need has been the ANC government’s policy for years, but progress has been slow to date. There isn’t much money in the country’s coffers to fund something as ambitious as NHI, yet the government will want to show that it is advancing the concept ahead of the elections.

With an NHI bill to be tabled in Parliament soon, we could learn more about how NHI will be funded in this year’s Budget Speech — it’s still not clear whether we will pay for it through payroll taxes, VAT increases or other fundraising measures. As an initial step, we could see medical aid tax credits reduced (or at least not adjusted for inflation) to free up some funding for the NHI.

The Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)

The ETI Act came into effect on 1 January 2014; as a fan of this incentive, I was delighted that President Ramaphosa announced that it will be extended for 10 years another decade in his state of the nation address. However, I have also long argued that the scheme is not performing to its true potential because it is so complex for payroll managers to administer.

The introduction of the national minimum wage adds even more complexity— until and unless the ETI Act is amended, SARS is of the opinion that the National Minimum Wage will not qualify as a “wage regulating measure”. I hope the Budget Speech will announce steps to align the ETI with the national minimum wage and take other measures to simplify administration.

Tax hikes

I don’t expect any major increases to corporate or personal income tax this year since the taxpayer doesn’t have much more to give. I think the top 45% rate will remain unchanged, while tax bracket creep relief (to compensate for inflation) will be limited to lower income earners. It seems unlikely that the Minister will increase VAT again this year, given last year’s increase.

That means the Minister is likely to look at ‘moral’ taxes (sin and sugar taxes) to raise more money; we can expect another steep increase in the fuel levy. Perhaps we’ll also hear about efforts to improve SARS’ revenue collection after several years of under-performance. The agency seems ripe for a turnaround strategy, with high-powered team looking for a permanent chief to take the reins at SARS.

Follow us on @SageGroupZA on 20 February 2019 for LIVE expert insights from the annual Budget Speech.

For more information about Sage’s annual tax seminars, please visit:

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