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Protests keep Sasria in business as insurance profits nearly double

Sep 26 2018 13:06
Khulekani Magubane

If the prevalence of violent service delivery protests is on the rise, there is one state owned entity that is staying in business as a result: Sasria.

Sasria – the government's go-to company for short term insure against lost or damaged assets – has seen its profits jump from R543m in the 2016/2017 financial year to over R1bn for the year ended March 31, 2018, according to its 2018 integrated report.

The report was tabled in Parliament by Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene last week.

The state-owned company is a short-term insurer that offers special risk cover to government entities and individuals owning assets in South Africa.

As it states on its website: "Sasria SOC Ltd’s core business is the provision of short-term insurance for riots, strikes, terrorism, civil commotion and public disorder to businesses and individuals."

Sasria managing director Cedric Masondo said in the report that the gross written insurance premiums of the company increased by 8.2% to R1.9bn.

“Gross insurance claims amounted to R663m, 13% below the prior year. The number of claims increased by 32.4% and severity increased by 14.5%. The biggest drivers remain service delivery related protests,” said Masondo.

He said profit before tax was R1.367bn, which was 83.7% up from 2017. Assets under management increased by 11.7% to R7.6bn, he said.

“Our premium growth over the past four years has averaged above inflation and has stayed at 2% more than industry growth,” Masondo said.

Sasria’s integrated report cited Municipal IQ data which showed that there were 144 “major service delivery protests” in the year to June 2018.

This is compared to 173 major protests in 2017, and 137 protests in 2016.

“Service delivery protests have become the number one tool for disgruntled communities to raise their concerns with municipalities and government officials. The first quarter of 2018 recorded a busy, if not unprecedented, service delivery protest tally, spurred on by an eventful March,” Masondo said.

Sasria’s net cash from operating activities increased from R659m in 2017 to R729m in 2018. Cash equivalents at the end of the year when taking investing activities into account made up for R1.9bn, down from R2.7bn in 2017.

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