mobile menu mobile search

Best and worst insurance companies in South Africa

Best and worst insurance companies in South Africa

The Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance (OSTI) has released its report for the 2014 calendar year, revealing South Africa’s best and worst short-term insurers.

The OSTI is an independent body to which clients can complain if they believe they have been treated unfairly by their insurer.

The OSTI included statistics on the number of complaints it received per 1,000 claims handled by an insurer, as well the overturn rate by the Ombudsman.

The overturn rate shows how many claim decisions by the company were overturned by the Ombudsman.

“If a high overturn rate is registered, this may, but not necessarily, indicate that the insurer is not treating its customers as fairly as it should.”

“However the overturn rate should be treated with considerable caution as a high overturn rate can also be indicative of a high degree of co-operation being received by the ombudsman’s office from a particular insurer in resolving a complaint to the satisfaction of the customer,” the OSTI said.

The industry average overturn rate is 31%

Overall, the Ombudsman said it received 10,253 complaints in 2014, up 9.5% from 9,368 complaints in 2013, and from 9,144 complaints received five years ago.

The rand value of complaints resolved in favour of the insured was down to R116 million, from R119 million 2014, and R136 million in 2009.

Majority of complaints related to motor insurance at 46.9% (4,807 complaints), followed by houseowners’ insurance at 20.9% (2,148 complaints).  The “miscellaneous” category accounted for 17.4% of complaints.

The tables below show complaints per 1000 and the overturn rates of the 20 insurers which drew the most complaints during the review period.

Top insurers by ombudsman complaints per 1000

Insurer Total claims Complaints received by Ombudsman Ombudsman complaints per 1000
NMS Insurance 74 021 0 0/1000
Vodacom 65 073 49 1/1000
Renasa Insurance 41 656 53 1/1000
Santam 425 617 680 2/1000
Hollard Insurance 331 825 632 2/1000
Outsurance Insurance 290 010 493 2/1000
Centriq Insurance 82 918 153 2/1000
Guardrisk Insurance 159 333 497 3/1000
Discovery Insure 53 015 170 3/1000
Alexander Forbes Insurance 52 519 179 3/1000
Absa Insurance 275 588 1 037 4/1000
Mutual & Federal Insurance 155 598 599 4/1000
Standard Insurance 119 506 523 4/1000
Auto & General Insurance 109 490 408 4/1000
First for Woman Insurance 47 700 173 4/1000
Dial Direct Insurance 57 991 265 5/1000
Nedinsurance 57 337 294 5/1000
Budget Insurance 65 559 362 6/1000
Miway Insurance 84 186 569 7/1000
New National Assurance 38 249 521 14/1000

Top insurers by overturn rate

Insurer Total claims Complaints received by Ombudsman Overturn rate
Outsurance Insurance 290 010 493 13.8%
Miway Insurance 84 186 569 22.6%
Discovery Insure 53 015 170 22.8%
Standard Insurance 119 506 523 23.9%
Mutual & Federal Insurance 155 598 599 26.6%
Alexander Forbes Insurance 52 519 179 26.8%
Santam 425 617 680 29.3%
Hollard Insurance 331 825 632 30.8%
Nedinsurance 57 337 294 32.1%
Renasa Insurance 41 656 53 32.8%
Budget Insurance 65 559 362 33.2%
Auto & General Insurance 109 490 408 33.3%
Vodacom 65 073 49 35.7%
Dial Direct Insurance 57 991 265 37.2%
Centriq Insurance 82 918 153 37.4%
Absa Insurance 275 588 1 037 38.9%
First for Woman Insurance 47 700 173 39.4%
Guardrisk Insurance 159 333 497 39.4%
New National Assurance 38 249 521 47.0%
NMS Insurance 74 021 0 n/a

More on insurers

SA insurance premiums reach R110 billion

Best and worst life insurers in SA

Is the OUTsurance Life OUTbonus worth it?

BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
Join the Conversation
  • rburg

    Complaints or claims (second column)?

    • McTSA

      Complaints about claims rejected, repudiated or not settled in expectation of the insured.

      • Donavan Aarons

        mmm so high rejection rate could also be a positive. So many people abuse insurance that it drives up the cost for the rest of the honest clients

    • Johan

      It is total claims received by insurer. The report is on their website.

  • McTSA

    NMS Insurance = Multichoice

    I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t a single complaint received.

    • Boba Fett

      They don’t even bat an eyelid if you take in a decoder that is faulty. Even if you don’t have insurance with multichoice if you take in a faulty obsolete decoder they imediatley replace with an upgrade. Everyone hear gives multichoice stick about the programmes or movies or whatever they feature as well as the cost of it all, but never a complaint of bad service or non delivery of service. They certainly do know how too look after customers probably the best in Africa. And no I’m not supporting them just an observation.

      • Leenesh Singh

        I think it’s just in their best interest to make sure we have working decoders, so they can collect the subscription fees.

      • Jango Fett

        Multichoice apparently replaced all old decoders for R50.00 or R100.

        They didn’t tell us about it, nor did they advertise it to their customers. We had to buy a new dstv hd decoder in December for like R600 to be able to watch DSTV again because they didn’t want to reactivate our old smart card for the old decoder.

        Great company hey?

  • Giovanni Gaggia

    Interesting read, but for me, this does not show an accurate picture at all, they should have also added how may customers they each have, obviously a company with 10 million clients, will get more complaints than a company with 1 million clients. Simple law of averages… if they don’t want to release number just show the percentage…

    • Johan

      The first table’s heading is wrong. The second column should be “Total Number of Claims” and not “Total Number of Complaints”. That should give you a very accurate picture in terms of size (you can’t count “clients” because different short-term insurance risks/products have different claim rates … if you just insure cell phones against theft and somebody else does insure cell phones against damage AND theft the second one will have on average more claims per customer).

    • Donavan Aarons

      exactly, Statistics can only be compared in percentages

    • aZAsolve

      Since the “overturn rate” is a ratio, I think it is a good way of comparing the quality of the claims decisions of companies that write business with identical profiles. Apples with apples, in other words.

    • MarvinTheParanoidAndroid

      Total Claims is generally proportional to number of customers. In the cases that it doesn’t match up exactly you’d be off by less than a stand error margin (say … 5%?)

      The stats are they are are far more useful thank you think: it gives you the insight into which companies are fair and which are likely to rip you off.

      For example: You are far less likely to complain with outsurance, but when you do you are far less likely to get your money than with New National. This points to outsurance being more honest with you than New National (who I hate with a passion).

  • Leon Claassen

    No surprise at the number of complaints for Dial Direct and Auto & General. The Telesure group are the biggest criminals I have ever done business with… They should join up with old Jacob they way they do business!!!

    • Ga77a

      Hahaha. They already have.

    • Rene Fourie

      Next to Indwe, Auto & General has been one of my worst mistakes ever.

      I am sure Indwe would be right on top of this list, if they had more clients.

      My move to OutSurance? most def one of my best decisions ever.

  • Brakpanpolisie

    Im worried not seeing my insurance company on here. Better phone my “broker”

  • Donavan Aarons

    Title should be “Best OF the worst insurance…”

  • On_meth

    Shouldn’t these insurers be categorized by the products they offer. Insurance for a decoder is extremely different ballgame to insuring a car.

  • Chris

    I wish they do an article about the Hippo. So many people think that they actually get a “comparative quote” when they do a quote via All the companies linked by Hippo are underwritten by the same company!

  • RenierZA

    Here are the results if you combine both tables to see how many of all claims are overturned.

    NMS Insurance

    Outsurance Insurance


    Renasa Insurance


    Hollard Insurance

    Centriq Insurance

    Discovery Insure

    Alexander Forbes Insurance

    Mutual & Federal Insurance

    Standard Insurance

    Guardrisk Insurance

    Auto & General Insurance

    First for Woman Insurance

    Absa Insurance

    Miway Insurance


    Dial Direct Insurance

    Budget Insurance

    New National Assurance

  • EarToTheGround

    My house insurance (Not contents) is through ABSA (not for long either) …Not that I use my house insurance much, but, when I do …man …ABSA insurance sucks !!

    My mother-in-law is also with them and she has also had numerous occasions where ABSA just under-assesses the repairs and just deposits a “tip” into her bank account for her to do all the dog work of arranging someone to do the repairs. The worst part is, she is a widower and a pensioner !!

    The contractors they have sent out are pathetic and I always end up phoning ABSA and complaining about workmanship, having to get them back just to do the job right …the second time around.

    On occasions …. ABSA just sends out an assessor that WAYYYYY under quotes the costing for the repairs and then deposits that money into my bank account so that I now have to organise someone to do the repairs (obviously now cheap cheap thanks to the assessor)

    I know there are many crappy insurers out there but to keep your sanity, stay away from ABSA insurance !!!

    • And Absa is the most expensive insurance. Way too expensive. All bank insurances are very much over the top compared to ‘normal’ insurances.

      • John

        Marlies you dead right….Absa was R2400 and Santam was R750

    • John

      Do yourself a favour and get quotes from some of the well known and you will fall on your back.Mine was about 30% of Absa premium with Santam.Try to get them off your name …..well good luck had to approach the Ceo’s secretary to get them to stop.They don’t answer your emails.

  • strange

    Discovery Insure is the best for sure…

  • Insurance companies should be measured by the complaints against claim ratio. This will paint a better picture of how many consumers is misinformed about there policy and with less than regular policy rules (some ridiculous). For example, how many of you knew that King Price stipulate in their policy that even if you have one beer that your claim will be repudiated? It will also state how many insurance companies do not explain their policy in detail, but rather have consumers read thru a 20 page policy with an already rat race we live in.

    • Tech-Head222

      I just cancelled mine today.

      Found out my excess was 10k, asked for the recordings when I took out the policy cause I couldn’t remember and guess what, 3 weeks later I’m still waiting.

      Went to an outsurance in a matter of minutes, just need to finish my cover for this month

  • Daniel Vollgraaff

    Even the top ones, some of them I have tried, and nope not good either. So I agree with @@donavan_aarons:disqus , “Title should be “Best OF the worst insurance…””

    Can anyone suggest where we can perhaps get better insight to which Insurance company the public prefers? I found some comparison websites, such as or

    But that is only comparing.

Join our newest FREE BusinessTech newsletter today!