Santam Ensures Community Strength And Safety, Good And Proper

Imagine a world in which our country’s communities are strong and resilient. Protection and fortification of communities are often not enough. But when you empower these communities to manage their own risks to better identify risk areas and manage disasters, the ripple effect really is similar to the concept of ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’

Imagine a company taking the lead to not only insure the physical possessions of our communities are protected against financial loss, but also taking the lead to ensure communities are well and truly protected by providing them with opportunities to learn how to analyse and mitigate risk when it comes to their own safety in the community or on a personal level.

Who better to understand the broader goal of serving the well-being of the community than Santam – a company that not only understands risk a lot better than most companies, but specialises in Risk Management. Santam’s core business is all about having access to data that will identify and mitigate risk.

Santam’s CSI strategy focuses on training and awareness programmes. A key priority in each of the initiatives Santam supports is to follow an inclusive public-private partnership, multi-stakeholder, community-driven process. With that said, it would make perfect sense that all disaster risk reduction planning and projects are etched around the needs and priorities of communities.

There are some wonderful programmes being executed, through agreements, that the short-term insurer has in place with a few purposefully identified government municipalities. For example:

  • Through a partnership with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), children are given the opportunity through the Waterwise Programme to explore and develop confidence in and around water, what to do and who to call in an emergency situation, how to rescue a peer and how to initiate bystander CPR.

  • A programme where early warning systems (smoke alarms) are installed in high risk communities to assist with early detection of fires and the reduction of loss of lives and property of vulnerable people when a fire occurs.

  • Santam has a further programme in place where the South African Red Cross Society trains community volunteers to equip them with specific skills that can help members of the community act as first responders in the event of a disaster, such as equipping them with first aid, firefighting and disaster management skills.

These programmes are great examples of the three key partnership principles at play, which Santam has implemented within their CSI approach. Santam’s CSI programmes are aligned with their core business strength, which is managing risk, in a mutually beneficial and sustainable manner to build capacity in these communities.

Santam realises that the key to impactful social development is to get buy-in from the people and collaborate with them to address real needs.

Measuring success in this instance is also relatively simple as they measure the reduction in loss of lives and property, the number of young people who know how to respond to disasters and the number of volunteers who can be mobilised in the event of a disaster.

Josephs is the Co-ordinator for Corporate Social Investment: Market Development at Santam.