Insurers reward clients for taking the eco-friendly approach

By Staff Writer
South African insurance companies are rewarding efforts by their clients to be more environmentally aware. Consumers who actively look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and make use of renewable energy products are set to be rewarded with lower insurance premiums.

According to Delouise Marias, Head of Personal Lines at Pinion Insurance Brokers - an Aon group Company; lower premiums is one way South African insurers are hoping to incentivise clients to invest in more environmentally friendly lifestyles. "We are working with insurance companies to offer "green" products, and encouraging the uptake of these by rewarding savings and low priced coverage to customers willing to make environmentally friendly decisions about the way they live."

She says recent studies have shown that customers who are doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment and preserve the planet use fewer natural resources and also tend to be healthier and drive less. "Insurance companies consider people within this bracket to be of lower risk and therefore are less likely to file a claim. Motorists who drive hybrid vehicles in particular are viewed as low risk, so insurers are looking at offering special coverage for drivers of these vehicles going forward."

She says Pinion has now partnered with an insurer to offer clients the opportunity to replace a burst geyser with a new solar geyser. "Clients who install a solar geyser can also take advantages of the electricity rebates from Eskom for using solar power," says Marais. All paper work is taken care of on behalf of the client and pay-in amounts can be as low as R3000.00 for the first approved instalment of a brand new solar geyser.

According to Marais, this is not only to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour in clients, but also due to the insurance advantages of solar geysers. "Solar geysers are generally placed outside the house. As such, they are less likely than normal geysers to cause major damage if they burst, resulting in smaller claims overall."

Currently, approximately 20% of the money spent on a solar geyser is returned by Eskom to the purchaser. Furthermore, Eskom provides an approximate saving figure of between 30% - 50% on the electricity portion of the water & electricity bill in the case of approved solar geyser replacements. To give an example, if a monthly electricity portion equates to R1000.00 rand a month then by installing a solar geyser, clients could save R3600.00 per annum.

"The rebate for installing solar is a limited fund. When it is exhausted, there will be no more available. This is another reason why we are encouraging our clients to consider their energy situation now," explains Marais.

With the growing interest in solar water heaters, most insurance companies insure solar water heaters like any other household item. However, Marais warns that not all systems available on the South African market comply with the standards demanded by the insurance industry. She advises homeowners to ensure that they understand their insurance company's policies on solar water heaters so that they can be assured of total cover in the event of needing to file a claim.

Marais comments that in the high net worth space, South African clients are actively looking for ways to go green and are increasingly choosing companies and brands that enable them to do so. "A sense of social consciousness drives our clients and environmental sustainability has become a primary discussion point among them."

"We believe that companies who offer a green strategy and personalised green solutions for clients, are not only taking steps to combat climate change but also have a competitive advantage in the marketplace," concludes Marais.

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