When the Heavy Haulage division of Santam, South Africa’s leading heavy vehicle insurer, held a truck day forum in Johannesburg for its national brokers, FleetWatch Editor, Patrick O’Leary, was invited as a keynote speaker to present some of the risk issues facing the industry. With the accent of the day being on road safety, he readily accepted and came away most impressed with what Santam is doing to help its brokers get closer to the coal-face problems of the trucking industry.
The request from Santam was not only to update the delegates on safety and other issues facing truckers, but also to lead the delegates around a full rig so as to show them where some of the common faults are found on trucks and what a pre-trip inspection should basically entail.
To ensure we got a ‘good’ roadworthy truck for the demonstration, we called on Barloworld Transport to supply one of their Manline tautliners which arrived on the day, on time and in the excellent condition we expect from an operator of this stature. Thanks for that Barloworld. You added much value on the day. One of our Brake & Tyre Watch partners, George Hartman of BPW Axles, was also roped in to help O’Leary lead the brokers through the demonstration. Thanks to you too for that great input.
Sitting in on the various talks during the morning, it was clear that Santam has a genuine desire to get closer to its trucking customers with Anton Cornelissen, Head of Santam Heavy Haulage, urging the brokers to get to grips with the real challenges facing truckers today and to look on themselves as partners in helping clients meet those challenges.
He outlined some of these as being a lack of skills which, he said, is viewed as one of the key constraints to the growth of business operators in South Africa; infrastructure failure which adds to the maintenance bills of operators; increasing fuel and e-toll costs as well as uneconomical insurance pricing and structures.
Like it or not, there is a general perception among many transporters that insurers are not on their side with one transporter complaining to me some time ago that “when you submit a claim, all they do is find ways not to pay.” Ouch! That is hardly a partnership relationship which is exactly what Santam is trying to move away from.
It is thus this day was more focussed on looking at things from behind the operator’s desk rather than from behind the insurer’s desk. It was all about understanding a client’s business with Cornelissen capturing this in his comment that: “Not understanding your client’s business could lead to giving wrong insurance advice which could, in turn, lead to serious financial losses from which the business might not be able to recover.”
Certainly, as outlined in one of the speeches, there are equally daunting challenges facing the insurance sector but that was for another day. This day was about nurturing a win-win relationship between brokers and clients based on mutual trust and no surprises. And isn’t that what is needed in this industry. Hats off to Santam Heavy Haulage for promoting this to its brokers.