The Affinity Group was established in 2003 to service the needs of the insurance industry through bringing together innovative value added products and controlling claims costs
The Affinity Group is duly licenced and is a duly authorised Financial Services Provider. Having been in the insurance industry Shaun Waso was ideally positioned to see where the opportunities were evident for insurers seeking to differentiate their offer, and how this can be achieved whilst driving down claims and other associated costs.
Affinity’s Managing Director, Shaun Waso has long history in insurance, starting with Auto and General in the early 90’s and ending with PG Glass before starting up the Affinity Group. I spoke to Shaun about his business, the journey up to now and his thoughts on the value of Affinity benefits.
Where does the real value add lie for the insurer when it comes to Affinity and loyalty benefits?
Value adds have become an obvious inclusion when insurers consider service options to complement their existing short term insurance products. Initially the Value Added Products (VAP’s) were seen as a means to differentiate standardised product offerings in the insurance market, but it is a necessity as the typical VAP services are included on the most short term insurance offerings. The offer has become table stalkers or “a ticket to the game.”
Affinity takes a unique approach to the implementation of our VAP solution by recognised that the most significant impact we can have on our client’s bottom line is the management of accident towing. We have therefore focused on the establishment and maintenance of a superior network of towing service providers, state of the art case management software and continuous staff training. We achieve remarkable results controlling costs and in minimising vehicle delivery delays. We deliver the accident damaged vehicle to the correct panel beater to drastically reduce claims turnaround time. Our own 24 hour call centre providers for a single point of contact for all our clients VAPS requirements by providing our own specialised services and hosting specialist outsourced services.
When looking at these value-added benefits, which are the ones most taken up?
Roadside assistance is the most utilised of the traditional insurance related VAPS. We have seen a rise in the popularity of our Designated Driver product whereby a client can order a service to take the clients and their car home if they suspect they have over indulged.
You manage incidents on behalf of clients as well. Where do insurers save most?
Undoubtedly, the most crucial service to manage well is the Roadside Accident Assistance service. The service impacts directly on the insurer’s bottom line if the costs of towing is not well managed and the policyholder’s customer experience is a negative one.
What about neighbouring countries? Is it possible, with regulation and border issues to expand there?
With an increase in cross border vehicle travel, we are cognisant of the need to have support for policyholder’s vehicle outside the borders of SA. Affinity is currently busy with a very exciting project involving two of our neighbouring countries. We will be able to share more detail in the coming months.
What is your most memorable incident?
Some years ago we had two members stranded on a mountain pass in the Eastern Cape during a bitter cold winter spell. The occupants of the vehicle were not prepared for a night on the mountain and with a broken down vehicle, they had very little to keep their body temperature from dropping. Our call centre was frantically looking for help and after all manner of possible responders (mountain rescue, SAPS, tow trucks, emergency helicopter) could not assist because of weather conditions, we connected the pair with a doctor telephonically to help them understand how to combat hypothermia until rescue was possible. At about 5am in the morning we received a word that a minibus taxi came past and picked them up and dropped them off at the nearest SAPS station.
No emergency service was willing to attempt the recovery under the prevailing weather conditions, but a minibus taxi was going about its business as per normal!