A rosy future for specialist UMAs


Specialist underwriting managers have become an important component of the South African insurance landscape. They differ from the UMAs who provide conventional commercial and personal lines cover in that they offer a wide range of expertise on a variety of covers previously not catered for in the general insurance market

Short term insurers are under pressure to grow their market share and at the same time deliver profitable results to their shareholders – the specialist UMA provides a vehicle for them to achieve this with minimal addition to their overall operational costs.

It also allows them to offer a wider range of products, safe in the knowledge that these are underwritten by specialists who know and understand their market and who are motivated to provide them with the profitable growth they are looking for

Brokers a key component

The relationships that UMAs have with their brokers are critical to the success of their operations in view of the fact that UMAs may not deal direct. In order to achieve this, the UMA needs to provide their broker with advice and training on their products and service that is better than anything else they have ever experienced.

This not only motivates the broker to sell their product, but provides them with additional expertise they can use whilst competing for new business as well as a welcome additional source of income.

A quick look at KEU’s product focus provides valuable insights into the specialist UMA space. KEU underwrites covers for the film and entertainment industry and also offers prize indemnity insurance.

Huge potential in the film industry

Film insurance has great potential on the back of SA’s growing film industry. The country not only offers great weather and beautiful scenery, but the current rand to dollar exchange rate makes it very cost effective for overseas production companies to film here.

We are fortunate to have a number of competent South African production companies to assist these firms with the professional staff and specialist equipment that is required. Our Cape Town film studio is world class and we also have a film studio in Johannesburg, as well as a soon to be completed studio being built by our own Anand Singh in Durban.

Event liability and cancellation insurance

Following the passing of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act in 2010 it has become compulsory to have liability cover for all sports and recreational events. This cover is often only required for the period of the event and also requires specific extended liability cover.

KEU’s event liability policy has been created to meet these requirements. Event cancellation insurance is also available to provide protection against cancellations due non-appearance of the artist, guest speaker etc. or due to adverse weather.

Prize indemnity insurance

This product provides cover for the cost of prizes that can be won through a sporting achievement, a display of dexterity or sheer good luck. Cover can be provided under this ‘line’ for hole in one competitions, incentive bonuses for breaking athletic records, performance bonuses for winning championships or fishing competitions for tagged or weighed fish among others. Actuarial assistance is often required in calculating the chance of the prize being won so that an appropriate rate can be charged for this cover

Future UMA considerations

There is no doubt that the UMA is here to stay and that there will be continued growth in this market as there will always be something new or different for which insurance cover will be required. Covers for cyber-crime and other cyber-related risks are a prime example of this.

Centriq Insurance Company Limited and Centriq Life Insurance Company Limited are authorised financial services providers