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Supporting clients 2 October 2020

Insurance acts as a safety net during a crisis

We made upfront payments and settled our service providers' invoices immediately

Insurance has played a significant role in helping individuals and businesses to weather the COVID-19 upheaval. With claims volumes up dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, Standard Bank provided clients with various relief measures and also increased its capacity to process claims. 

The bank has seen a marked increase in call centre volumes, with a threefold increase in calls related to funeral policies, and numerous requests for additional insurance cover, including retrenchment cover. This suggests heightened awareness of the role that insurance can play in protecting businesses and individuals from unforeseen events.  

Since the early days of the pandemic, Standard Bank has taken various steps to ease the burden on businesses and consumers. For instance, recognising that clients were using their vehicles less during the lockdown period, the bank provided 25% rebates on car insurance premiums between 27 March and the end of May 2020, and a 10% rebate for June 2020.  

It also provided a 10% discount on excess payments for home and car insurance claims, waived credit life premiums on all student loans, and granted funeral plan customers additional leeway on missed premium payments to ensure that they retained their cover. 

We have also been proactively reaching out to clients who are struggling to make loan repayments to remind them that they may have valid credit insurance claims. 

And while the credit insurance policies of some clients only included cover for retrenchment previously, Standard Bank took the decision to expand their cover to also include loss of income. In the first seven months of 2020, retrenchment claims linked to the bank’s credit book doubled year on year as many companies were forced to downsize or close. 

Standard Bank believes that taking extraordinary steps to assist clients and companies to preserve jobs is an imperative in the current environment, and that the measures it has implemented are also mutually beneficial.  

In addition to assisting clients, we made upfront payments and settled our service providers' invoices immediately to improve their cash flows.  

Meanwhile, our insurance teams had to quickly adapt to the new environment, with the vast majority working from home.  

Teams have adapted well to new ways of working. To maintain close relationships and morale, and to ensure a healthy work-life balance, we have held virtual coffee meetings with no agenda, and we have blocked out time in people’s diaries to ensure they are able to spend quality time with their families. 

The result is a more flexible, agile and trusted workforce. Employees and their clients have quickly adapted to digital channels. Processes including client onboarding have become highly digitised.  

Despite the embrace of technology, client relationships have deepened and human connections remain central in our industry.