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Dominating the direct life insurance industry

16 March 2016
3 minute read

Image of the 1Life logo

16 March 2016, Johannesburg – Annual research conducted by Swiss Re has indicated that 1Life has had the biggest market share by new business sold, year-on-year in the direct life insurance industry every year since 20101.

“Changing people’s lives is at the heart of what we do, we believe that financial solutions should change lives and not just the situations that people are in. This is why we offer simple and affordable financial solutions that create opportunities for a better life for our clients and their loved ones,” says Laurence Hillman MD of 1Life.

“Since inception in 2006, our business has had to overcome one of the biggest challenges – going up against the traditional players - those insurers that have now been around for 50 years or more,” adds Hillman. “We had to break the traditional mould, continuously improve on our products and services and change market perceptions around direct life insurance. Our challenge was to devise a model that stood out from the rest and educate customers around the ease of getting financial protection. A model that took the tediousness out of complicated underwriting processes and one that was tailored to meet the financial needs of each individual and their affordability. Today we are very proud of the value we deliver to our customers and our growing position in the market,” continues Hillman.

Some of the key brand drivers and differentiators that have catapulted the business’s success include:

  • Making processes simpler through sending and receiving claims documents via WhatsApp, having direct access to Home Affairs for claim documentation retraction, implementing HIV saliva testing conveniently from our clients local Link pharmacy to negate lengthy processing, and a unique underwriting process that is quick, easy and not reliant on the client undertaking a medical.
  • Opening up a variety of channels of engagement with the brand including: face-to-face, telephonic, online and mobile.
  • Creating unique products that address the specific needs of our diverse client base and that are tailored to their specific life stages and needs.
  • Offering free financial education and tangible financial assistance to our clients and all South Africans through our initiative Truth About Money.
  • Valid claim pay-outs within 24 hours to assist beneficiaries with immediate expenses across certain product lines.

In the early 1Life days, technology formed the backbone of the business as the need for products and services via different channels was growing rapidly in South Africa. 1Life are frontrunners in the industry having been the first insurer to sell long-term insurance products telephonically, via the internet and from mobile phones. 1Life was also the first to offer clients the option to manage their policies via the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) mobile platform by dialling *120*101#, and today the same technological innovation has driven the business successes over the past 10 years. “It is here that we believe we truly became the innovator in the sector. Built on a need to remain connected to the consumer, we have simplified many of our processes to ensure we remain leaders in long term insurance innovation and consumer-centric solutions,” says Hillman.
1Life has a 90% compliments rate on Hello Peter, compared to the industry’s 41% average. “This certainly stands testament to the fact that we are in the business of providing tangible solutions for our clients and treating customers fairly. Our philosophy will always be to put the needs of the consumer – as dynamic as these may be – first, making life less complicated for them and helping change their lives. This is our recipe for success and what has placed us in the position we are today,” concludes Hillman.

1 Statistics Based on Swiss Re Individual Risk Market Business Volumes Survey Reports 2010-2014 (2014 report released August 2015). 1Life Insurance Ltd is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 24769).

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