Old Mutual Insure has announced a comprehensive plan to support customers and small businesses through the coronavirus lockdown and the months to follow.
In a statement on Friday (3 April), the group said that the support plan has a number of key elements, including:
- Ongoing customer relief of up to R300 million
- Establishment of R50 million fund to assist SME customers and service providers
- Leveraging buying power and financing to support service providers
- Collaborating to support communities.
“We recognise the long-term impact a disruption of this nature can have on personal finances and business operations,” said Garth Napier, managing director of Old Mutual Insure.
“Beyond immediate survival, history has taught us that our COVID-19 response also needs to equip customers, service providers and communities to rebuild and prosper in the challenging – and changing – months and years that lie ahead.”
Throughout the lockdown, Napier said that Old Mutual Insure will remain open for business and we have built a complete off-site service solution able to support customers and partners. “
He said that there are several options available to customers in the short term (1 to 3 months):
- A premium deferment option, with a delayed pay-back over a set period
- Leniency on missed debit orders were customers have lost or have experienced reduced income because of Covid-19 and this has necessitated deferment of payments.
- Reducing premiums by allowing customers to amend cover temporarily if, for example, a second car or a closed business won’t be used during lockdown.
- An immediate relief program for our iWYZE motor insurance customers, who can register on the wyzeHUB before 30 April 2020 to activate a three-month 7.5% discount on motor premiums.
To support this, Napier said that Old Mutual Insure has established a ‘Help U’-team of 50 employees with the sole purpose of reviewing premium relief requests across all commercial, agriculture and personal lines business.
Pro-active monitoring will allow the team to focus on “providing guidance and interventions to assist customers to maintain and manage essential and relevant covers,” he said..
In the longer term, Covid-19 is likely to result in a weak and most-likely recessionary post-lockdown economy and a weak exchange rate as a result, therefore “premiums are likely to increase in the coming months,” said Napier.
In recognition of the additional pressure that this will place on customers struggling to manage the impact of Covid-19 in a weak economy, Old Mutual Insure has taken the decision to “keep premium increases low over the next twelve months,” he said.
He said that Old Mutual Insure will also be giving doctors and nurses premium discounts and excess waivers during the next three months.
The above-mentioned customer relief options are expected to equate to an amount of approximately R300 million, over the next 12 months.
Old Mutual Insure said it has set aside R40 million to assist qualifying SME in remaining solvent.
“These interest-free loans will be granted to qualifying businesses and will be administered by the Old Mutual Masisizane Fund in partnership with Old Mutual Insure,” said Napier.
In addition, Old Mutual Insure’s own suppliers and service providers experiencing difficulties over this time will be assisted to sustain operations, he said.
To this end, Old Mutual Insure has set aside R10 million. Business partners who are unable to operate will be directly supported to survive the impact of the Covid-19 disruption.
For example, all micro-enterprises supplying or servicing Old Mutual Insure, like canteens, cleaning services and car wash teams, will be supported with provisional funding during the lockdown and in the weeks that follow, Napier said.
He said that Old Mutual Insure’s payments process is also being accelerated to ensure outstanding payments are made within three working days after invoices are submitted.
All previously scheduled payments will also be released earlier than the scheduled date.