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History

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Following the enactment of the Insurance Act 1994, the enabling legislation permitting the setting up of private insurance companies was in place, thus giving birth to H Savy Insurance Co Ltd as the first private insurer to be licensed under the new Act.

The original promoters of the company were the local business group Simba Holdings Ltd (65%), Hollandia Reinsurance Co Ltd of South Africa (20%) and Harry Savy & Co (Sey) Ltd (15%).

H Savy Insurance Co Ltd opened its doors to the public in July 1995.  The company’s name owes its origin to one of its shareholders, namely Harry Savy & Co (Seychelles) Ltd.

Harry Savy & Co (Seychelles) Ltd was an old established insurance service provider and the local agent for Lloyds of London, which ceased insurance business in 1980 following the nationalisation of the insurance industry and creation of SACOS, the state-owned insurance company.

The adoption of the “Savy” name proved a very savvy marketing move as many old Harry Savy clients were quick to move their business away from SACOS to the new company which bore an old cherished and nostalgic name-tag.

From the outset, the new company adopted a very service-focused approach to business putting its employees and clients at the centre of its business strategy.  Its first commercial motto “Savy for Service” clearly demonstrated this philosophy.

To rapidly build expertise, the company recruited a core team of experienced and talented individuals, all of whom remain with the company as of today.  These include Lambert Woodcock, Veronica Lalande and Marie-Luce Mondon.  The late Annette Domingue also formed part of this pioneering team.

On July 1, 1996, the company took on board a new strategic partner, Mauritian Eagle Insurance Co Ltd.  This came about from a sale of shares by Simba Holdings to Mauritian Eagle to the tune of 15 percent of the company’s capital.

In its inaugural year, the company achieved R8.8 million of premium income, a performance which was most encouraging.  In the following year, a premium target of R10 million was set which was comfortably exceeded thus paving the way to an unblemished performance trend which has since seen premium income growing every year.  In the 2013-14 financial year the company posted the R137 million in general business income under very intense competitive conditions, firmly pushing it as the leader in the industry.

The entry of Mauritian Eagle into the company’s capital structure further increased H Savy Insurance’s growing reputation as a solid and progressive company with strong regional professional links.  Capitalising on its shareholders’ strength, expertise and wide insurance network, the company rapidly build its corporate business portfolio and such business has been a critical driver of the company’s profitability.

During its 20-year history, the strength and resilience of the company have repeatedly been put to the test.  In late 1996, not even two years after coming into operation, the company was implicated in the K Mart fire claim, a complex case that eventually resulted in a total pay-out of R9 million.   In December 2004, two major claims events shook the company – the tsunami incident and the flood claim.  These two unprecedented events resulted in loss settlement of some R25 million in the space of one financial year!

Since its formation, the company has paid over R320 million of claims whilst at the same time building its financial reserves. This large sum demonstrates the financial strength of the company and the robustness of the company’s reinsurance arrangements.

With a growing customer base, H Savy Insurance soon found itself under heavy pressure from its clients to offer life insurance products.  In 2004, the company responded to this call and began life operations with a menu of carefully-tailored products and launched them with re-insurance support from Africa Re.  To promote the new business line, the company adopted the commercial slogan “Winning People for Life” which has proved very successful at winning many new clients and it is the intention of the company to retain them for life.

Initially, the company considered life operations as an “accommodating business” but since 2008-09, the introduction of new credit life/mortgage products has seen a step-rise in premium income, thereby firmly establishing the life portfolio as a promising and profitable business centre.  In its inaugural year, life operations achieved a mere R0.35 million of premium income but in the 2013-14 financial year, the company achieved almost R10 million of income. Life premium income is targeted to grow inorganically in the future as new products are rolled out supported by increased sales efforts.