Connect with us

Entrepreneur Today

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

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

Entrepreneur Today

Empowering Township Entrepreneurs

Big drive to bring ideas to life in the townships this Global Entrepreneurship Week.





As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Experian teamed up with Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva – two organisations responsible for supporting township communities – to assist entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.

The annual event ‘Tshogo’, which took place in Tembisa yesterday (Thursday, 15 November), is the culmination of roadshows in Gauteng’s populated townships, such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These involved up-and-coming start-ups pitching their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, including Simon Rudman, Social Innovation Lead at Experian SA.

Twenty winners received funding to the combined value of R280 000 to kickstart their business venture, while our others received marketing packages to equip them – and their ventures – further.

“Throughout the competition we were greatly inspired by each and every one of the entrants. There is definitely no scarcity of bright ideas,” says Rudman. “By keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind and providing continuing support, we can grow the township economy for the greater good of the country.”

Experian is pleased to support Rhiza Babuyile, by providing the JoZi Business Hub participants with career counselling as well as credit and financial education aimed at empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their business and to make smart credit decisions.

“We believe data has the power to transform lives and societies for the better and our corporate social responsibility programmes pioneer how we use our business skills, products and services to promote financial education, financial inclusion and support small business entrepreneurs.

Related: FNB Kicks-off Global Entrepreneurship Week By Engaging Township Entrepreneurs

“These engagements also provide a great opportunity for us to include the entrepreneurs in our solution development process. Their feedback is invaluable in helping to shape products which will hopefully contribute to their success”, adds Rudman.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to live and drive economic growth. The JoZI Business Hub’s Tshogo roadshow could not be a better example of this in action.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips

Closing Date: 30 November 2018





Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme provides South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure.

Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.

Applications for the Global Exposure trips are now open to ALL entrepreneurs – regardless of sector – who meet the criteria. Closing date is Friday 30 November 2018.

Applications link:

The programme itinerary and each trip is customised according to the profiles of the candidates, stage of business and specific sector.

By way of example, Investec recently sent 14 entrepreneurs from South Africa to Berlin to meet people doing Out of the Ordinary things in textiles:

Related: En-novate Goes Toe-To-Toe With The Best In The World

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Business Lessons From Women For Women: If You Have To Fail, Fail Forwards

Lessons from three young black South African women on how they have turned an idea into a profitable business.





Just 70 years ago, black women in SA were largely regarded as legal minors with no power to open bank accounts, lease property or conduct legal transactions without their husbands’ permission. Some remnants of this legacy remain, but, increasingly, traditional roles are being subverted and women are building businesses.  However, women entrepreneurs still remain part of a small minority of thriving business success stories.

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found women in early-stage entrepreneurship decreased by 15.7% in 2018 and only 18.8% of all business owners in SA are women. Suffice to say there’s more to be done, and a lot of it starts with support. When Lebogang Ndlovu, owner of Amare Beauty Hub, announced her intention to start a small business shortly after matric, her parents weren’t happy. She forged ahead despite the lack of support and tenaciously founded three different ventures, which all, unfortunately, failed. She then decided to attend consumer financial training offered by Santam through Mzansi Financial Education. From this training, she learned to ‘fail forwards’ and started her current company – a highly successful Soweto-based spa. She credits the support and mentorship she received as imperative to this success.

That says Tersia Mdunge, Santam’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, is what Santam’s Consumer Financial Education (CFE) is all about, “To grow entrepreneurship, South Africa needs to provide enabling conditions, opportunity and support. As the cornerstone of our economy, it’s pivotal we do so. At Santam, our Consumer Financial Education and Mentorship programme helps young, black entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their ideas into tangible businesses. We’ve assisted 1 595 individuals so far, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to do so.”

Although Africa has the highest growth rate of female-run businesses globally, according to the World Bank, South Africa lags behind countries like Ghana.

Here, three women entrepreneurs from Johannesburg share their entrepreneurial journeys and the difference mentorship made:

1. Lebogang Ndlovu, owner: Amare Beauty Hub


Although young, Ndlovu knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur after matric. It was tough convincing her parents to get on-board. “I come from a typical black family background where the norm is to be employed and not create employment.”

After getting her parents on-side, she used the allowance they provided to start a home executive concierge service. That, unfortunately, failed, and she tried two other ventures, which also didn’t last. It was then that she decided to attend Santam’s training. She did thorough research before jumping into yet another business. She realised that, “It does not matter how many times you fail, learn from your mistakes and move along.”

Ndlovu finally found her passion in beauty. She currently runs Amare Beauty Hub in Soweto; a fully-fledged beauty and health spa that focuses on “beauty on a budget”. With her business partner, she’s already considering expanding the business into micro-franchises to empower other women who are interesting in the beauty industry.  

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Business Women To Watch

2. Nthabeleng Nhlapho, owner: Afro Kids Salon


Before 2016, running her own business was just a dream for Nhlapho, even though she always knew that she was an entrepreneur at heart, because of her family background.

“Getting into business has always been an idea I have toyed with, and after many years of procrastination, I finally decided to take that leap of faith. My dad’s side of the family is quite entrepreneurial as a number of my brothers have started and are sustaining their own businesses. So, in a sense, I think I was born to be an entrepreneur.”

After doing research, Nhlapho saw a gap in the market for an ethnic hair salon for kids. Having a daughter with ethnic hair herself, Nhlapho says, “It became apparent that many mothers like me are uncomfortable with having to take their young daughters to adult hair salons where the environment is not conducive for little budding minds, and stylists do not have the patience with children.”

Nhlapho’s Afro Kids salon is based in Sandton. She opened her door in September 2016 soon after she attended Santam’s training sessions. She gives credit to the mentorship she received and to support from friends and family for her success.

3. Phumzile Nala, owner: Pumzi’s Pretty Petals


Phumzile Nala’s grandmother inspired her love for flowers. “My grandmother loved flowers and used to do flower arrangements at friends’ and family events, which is where I was introduced to flower arrangements.” 

Nala attended the Santam CFE workshops in Vilakazi Street in April this year. Her mentor, Martine Solomon, says, “Phumzile started the training with the hope that she would go into public speaking and training and development, however, that changed when she realised her passion for flowers. Phumzile was very helpful during her time in the programme, assisted with the roll-out of the CFE programme as well as CFE training and development.”

Now, Nala is a proud owner of a beautiful flower shop in Roodepoort called Pumzi’s Pretty Petals. In just six months, the business is showing steady growth. Nala’s other mentor, businessman Donnie Koetzee, played an instrumental role in this growth, helping Nala buy stock and get through start-up hurdles. Nala says, “At the beginning, I went through a lot of teething problems and had to take credit in order to keep the shop open.” 

Even though Nala cannot compete with big retailers in terms of pricing, she gives her clients a far more personalised and meaningful experience. “We take time to teach our clients about our different offerings, and that is something they will not find in bigger stores.”

Nala found her unique value proposition, which is something that all entrepreneurs need to identify in order to compete. She also gives credit to social media as she makes use of it to advertise her flowers. Her dream is to open four stores in the four major cities of South Africa.

This programme is a direct response from the Department of Treasury for financial services companies like Santam to educate their clients and prospective clients on financial knowledge.

“We went above and beyond what is required of us and turned this into a successful initiative that empowers many to fulfil their dreams. Our programme has been dedicated to empowering our people to becoming financial savvy consumers and entrepreneurs. We have also made it our mandate to focus on risk management and understanding business insurance. Many small businesses do not consider the risks that come with running a business and how they would bounce back if they would be faced by a law-suite for instance;” concluded Mdunge.

For those who would like attend Santam’s Consumer Financial Education, please look out for an invitation on Santam’s website, the requirements are that as a consumer you need earn less than R250 000 and as a business owner, your business need to have a threshold less than R10 million.

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.