Santam announced on Thursday that it has taken a minority investment in Paarl-based digital short-term insurance broker startup Ctrl.
South Africa’s largest general short-term insurer did not disclose the size of the minority shareholding it bought in the InsurTech startup.
Ctrl is South Africa’s first independent car and household insurance advice app.
The InsurTech startup is targeting the short-term industry, which will be an R115 billion gross written premium (GWP) opportunity by 2020.
The Ctrl app is currently still in its test phase and about to launch publicly.
The app enables users to request and accept quotes from different insurers, amend cover and get advice without having to make a call or an appointment.
Santam and Ctrl agree that technology offers an opportunity to enhance existing client and intermediary offerings, and will enable greater insights into consumer needs.
Pieter Venter, co-founder and CEO of Ctrl says that as an agile tech start-up they are excited to partner with an established insurer, almost a hundred years older than them, to give South African consumers the best of both worlds – innovation and trust.
“Founded in 1918, Santam is a trusted, household name with an excellent reputation and exactly what consumers want when it comes to insurance – reliability,” he says.
Ctrl, which employs eight people, was founded in 2017 by Pieter Venter, Francois Venter and Pieter Erasmus to create something that would make a difference in people’s lives.
As part of the beta users, Erasmus last month told TechFinancials that the startup has, however, launched an early registration process on its website and in a short period of time “we have signed-up more than 400 early registered members”.
Edward Gibbens, Executive head: Commercial and Personal at Santam, says they are excited about the possibilities that the partnership enables.
“Innovation is at the centre of what we do at Santam, and we are always on the lookout for new distribution channels and ways to innovate. This is exactly what Ctrl offers through the Ctrl insurance advice app,” said Gibbens.
“Digital technology offers an incredible opportunity for intermediaries. We are operating in exciting times and the prospects are endless. Intermediaries must be responsive and seek these lucrative opportunities.”
The three founding members of Ctrl each have extensive experience in the insurance and banking sectors and bring with them a wealth of career capital to the business.
Venter worked at ABSA Corporate and Investment Bank covering non-bank financial institutions which included the insurers.
Erasmus has more than 15 years of experience in the short-term insurance environment, focusing on broker distribution networks at Momentum, as well as sales and marketing.
Francois Venter, in his capacity as actuary, managed a range of investment products for retail and corporate clients at Momentum.
While, Ctrl’s Chief Technology Officer, Christo Goosen, is an experienced and well-respected software engineer with a special interest in data security.
“Independence is a cornerstone of our brokerage.“We have written an algorithm that recommends the best cover based on a client’s financial needs analysis and this could be from any one of the insurers that we’ve signed up as partners,” Erasmus explains.
“For now, our partners include Old Mutual Insure, Bryte, Brolink and of course Santam. We hope to add more insurers to the platform in future. We believe our users should have a choice. This is very much in line with the worldwide move towards consumer centric services and products.”