BrightRock’s Schalk Malan on CNBC and eNCA

BrightRock CEO Schalk Malan appeared on two television shows to share consumer tips about recession-proofing your finances.

Schalk first appeared on CNBC’s Open Exchange on Tuesday morning, 22 June 2017:


This was followed by an interview on eNCA’s Moneyline on Wednesday evening, 23 June:

Jump Right In, the Water’s Fine!

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For Schalk Malan, CEO of BrightRock, a lesson learned as a hesitant competitive swimmer has served him well for life, and a career built on loving change.

Schalk Malan was in his matric year in the little town of White River in Mpumalanga, when he made the big decision that would forever change his life. It was sink or swim. He chose swim.

A talented rugby player, he had already decided, much to the shock and amazement of his family, that he was going to forgo the team sport in favour of his solo speciality. Then, one night, at a small gala, he wasn’t so sure anymore.

“I didn’t want to swim this one race,” he recalls, “and my mom got quite annoyed. She said to me that if I don’t swim this race, she will never come to a gala again. It sounds like a hard line, but she did it out of love.”

So Schalk took a deep breath, and put one foot on the starting block, then the other. At the sound of the pistol, he dived in. “All said and done, I actually ended up winning,” he shrugs.

More than that, he went on to become the South African Schools Swimming Champion, and the lesson he learned guides him even today. Listen to your mother. That, and take the plunge.

You can’t win the races you don’t race, and that applies equally in the world of business as it does in school sport. As a co-founder and now CEO of BrightRock, Schalk has learned how to silence that little voice of doubt that once made him hesitate on the sidelines. The secret is: focus.

“You can’t worry about other problems that might come up later on. You just need to focus on what you can control right now,” he says. “I think swimming taught me a little about that discipline. You can only focus on your goals, and stay inside your lane.”

But what if things don’t go according to plan? They seldom do, says Schalk.

“What I’ve learned is that your preparation is actually there to prepare you for how to handle things when they don’t go according to plan.”

He remembers his first day of work at a big insurance company, where he had been hired on the strength of his academic record as an Actuarial Science graduate.

“I’d always worked hard to keep my marks quite high and compete well in my class,” he explains.

Still, he discovered very quickly that your marks count for little when you are presented with a daunting challenge in the real world.

Asked to build a model for a new insurance product, he wandered “cap-in-hand” to a more experienced colleague: “All your bravado falls away. You have to walk to this guy and say, I need help here. Help me? Guide me? You realise quickly that you can’t do it on your own. Getting 80% might be possible and academically sufficient, but in the workplace you realise that 80 percent sometimes might not be good enough. And you then need people to protect you and support you.”

Just shy of six years ago, when Schalk joined the small team who founded BrightRock, on the premise of its Needs-Matched philosophy – your insurance changes as your life changes – he found the right people.

Surround yourself with brilliant people who are smarter than you, and more diverse in their thinking, says Schalk, and you will succeed. But it helps too, if you are able to dive in at the deep end, swim for your life, and prove that you’ve got what it takes to Love Change.

This article first appeared in The Comet, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.

Divan Botha interviews Schalk Malan on kykNET’s Winslyn

BrightRock’s entrepreneurial journey and the major milestone of Sanlam’s pending majority stake in our business was in the spotlight when our CEO, Schalk Malan, appeared on the business and entrepreneurship show Winslyn on kykNET on 21 February 2017.

Schalk was interviewed live by Winslyn-presenter Divan Botha, who – as a successful entrepreneur himself – unpacked interesting insights into our business, as well as a host of ideas and tips from Schalk to help aspiring entrepreneurs start their own successful businesses. Watch the interview below:

Dream Big, Work Hard, & Change the World

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What does it take to turn a bright idea into a startup that disrupts an industry, and gives people the power to change the way they look at life? Following the announcement of a major shareholding deal between Sanlam and BrightRock, BizNews publisher Alec Hogg sat down with BrightRock co-founder and Executive Director Schalk Malan to get the inside story.

Alec: I’ve been watching the progress of BrightRock over the last five years, and it’s been quite extraordinary to see a company coming from nowhere. More than half-a-million lives that have been covered. The growth rate last year was 72%, and then Sanlam announced that it has bought 53% of the company for just over R700m. You have created nearly R1.5bn worth of value in just five years. Is that beyond your wildest dreams?

Schalk: I’m very excited, but if you look at our product innovation, delivering clients 30% to 40% savings from their premiums, the result was a consequence of innovation on all fronts. We’re obviously, very pleased with this investment from Sanlam and it’s testament to their belief or view of BrightRock and what we have achieved.

We wanted to change the industry and change it for the better. We had a clear understanding of the market and we had a clear belief that through product innovation, driving our clients and assisting clients to buy what they need, through life insurance, and to save them 30% to 40% in the premiums.

That understanding and belief made us excited to come and change an industry and we’re really achieving that.

Alec: Have you aged more than five years in the last five years?

Schalk: When you start a business there’s got to be a little bit of that ambition that defies gravity or belief, and that does take its toll, so yes, we’ve probably aged a few more years.

It’s been an exhilarating period and we’ve learnt so much. If you think about starting off with four people around the dining room table and today, sitting with more than 350 employees.

That is a phenomenal achievement and that makes us proud as well, to have been able to make that type of impact on people’s lives and, also our clients.

Alec: It was you, Sean Hanlon, Suzanne Stevens, and Leopold Malan who started BrightRock. Did you each have a sweet spot? Was it almost as though you looked at each other’s skills and what you were able to bring to the party and said ‘we’re the perfect Four Musketeers?’

Schalk: Our skill-set is absolutely complimentary. We’ve got the various disciplines covered in the market, in the distribution, the product design, and the processing but more so that chemistry that we’ve developed over time – that diverse thinking. I think it’s really been one of the major contributors to this success story.

We debate every single thing, we’ve got a very much a process of reaching consensus and agreements, and that’s really delivered great results. From the consumers to be able to implement workable systems and processes.

Alec: Sanlam is taking 53%, so it will have control of the company in the future. Are you expecting that you might be put together with something else, within Sanlam?

Schalk: No, absolutely not, Alec. I think one of the key things that Sanlam has also stressed with us is this power that sits in BrightRock, this entrepreneurial innovation was very appealing in their space. The business will run separate from the Sanlam business.

We will be moving in a life license inside the BrightRock Holdings Group, being branded BrightRock Life. BrightRock will be running as an independent business.

Obviously, Sanlam will be represented at the board level but they’re very clear in running the business, day-to-day, as an independent business and supporting where they can.

Alec: But you have been a disruptor. Is it likely that there might be some threat to the Sanlam business, given the way that you are disrupting?

Schalk: A lot of discussions were had around that and where I think we’ve reached commonality in our thinking and in our strategy, is that this investment will be aimed to increase market share.

That’s been a key objective of both parties, so we see that this transaction will enable BrightRock to continue on its innovation path, being able to deliver product and continue on its current product development, to be able to grow market share for us, as well as for our shareholders Sanlam.

Alec: Up to this point you’ve only used independent brokers. Are you going to continue along that line or do you now get dragged into the Sanlam distribution network?

Schalk: There has been discussions that the BrightRock product will be available to the Sanlam agency ports. It will be under the BrightRock brand, as we’ve come to know and it will also be administered and serviced through BrightRock. So, in terms of that the whole experience will be exactly the same.

At BrightRock we’re a strong believer in the independence of advice, but if you look at most of the financial services they also have agency distribution.

We believe that’s all exciting, it’s aimed and developed to grow the market share and to take our product message out to a much greater audience. That’s really what we’re excited about because we truly believe that this BrightRock product, in the hands of our customers and consumers, is a very powerful and innovative product to deliver what they actually expect, and that is to take care of their families and loved ones when life changes.

Alec: R700m is a lot of money – is that going into the business or are you guys going to be banking a bit?

Schalk: No, we’re very much committed to the business. The funds will be applied into the business and there’s a lot of excitement to see the results of that and to accelerate some of the business plans, and to really take those to see how we can grow market share. So, no – there’s no result of any sell-outs. It’s there to grow the business.

Alec: What would you suggest to younger people, who want to become entrepreneurs? What is it going to take to achieve this level of success that you’ve managed?

Schalk: I believe first and foremost, in terms of your team and the people around you – like I said earlier, diverse thinking, getting a group of people that’s like-minded in philosophies. That for me is critical. Then you’ve got to have a dream.

You’ve got to want to change the world in your thinking. You need to have a specific objective that you want to achieve and that’s very important. The other thing is you’ve got to prepare yourself for hard work and hard work with partners that are willing to go the distance.

Those are some of the key things that really stand out for me, if I reflect on this journey to date.

*This is an edited version of an interview that appeared on

This article first appeared in The Comet, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.

BDTV’s Alicia Sekham interviews Schalk Malan and Hennie de Villiers

Business Day TV’s Alishia Seckam interviewed BrightRock’s Schalk Malan and Sanlam’s Hennie te Villiers about Sanlam’s intention to acquire a majority stake in BrightRock:

This interview was originally broadcast on Seckam’s Taking Stock-programme on 26 January 2017.

How BrightRock’s Brand New Features Will Help You Get Ready for Life

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As the fastest-growing company in its category, BrightRock has introduced a range of new features and enhancements to make life even better and smarter for you

Life, goes the saying, attributed to the writer Allen Saunders and made famous in a song by John Lennon, is what happens while we’re busy making other plans. That’s why it’s so important to make plans for life, because life is always subject to change.

Five years ago, on the cornerstone of this simple premise, BrightRock began building a company that has changed the way life insurance works. By adapting to your needs, as you make your way along the milestones of life, it works uniquely for you.

BrightRock’s individualised, needs-matched insurance cover has made it the fastest-growing company in its category, with cover in force reaching close to R139-billion in October this year.

And with growth, comes even more opportunity to change, refine, and enhance BrightRock’s product offerings, as executive director Schalk Malan told financial advisers in a series of update sessions across the country.

“Despite financial advisers’ best efforts, traditional risk products are often inefficient, inflexible and inappropriate to the client’s underlying need,” says Schalk.

“BrightRock’s needs-matched insurance provides a product that enables, strengthens and aligns with the best advice throughout the client’s various life stages.”

BrightRock continues to build on its strong, differentiated product platform, with several new product enhancements and features. Needs-matched cover is now available for clients who would previously have been declined any cover.

This includes cover for HIV-positive clients who have been on antiretroviral treatment for six months or more and are not suffering from any AIDS defining conditions, such as tuberculosis or hepatitis.

As well as providing cover for HIV-positive clients, BrightRock has introduced a new hospital costs pay-out feature, which pays out an additional amount if the client dies after a long hospital stay.

This payout is over and above BrightRock’s standard R50 000 pay-out after a client dies, meaning clients will effectively have their immediate expenses pay-out doubled.

By widening their underwriting bands, BrightRock was also able to introduce further enhancements and improvements to their extra cover buy-up product feature, which allows clients to buy additional cover if their needs have changed, to a maximum of R10 million. This feature was previously limited to R7.5 million.

Similarly, the cover conversion facility has been enhanced with a R2.5 million increase, raising the maximum amount of cover clients can access to R10 million.

BrightRock prides itself on the sophisticated technology that drives and complements its products, and here too, new features have been introduced to make life easier for financial advisers and clients alike.

“The enhancements to our online platform and the technology behind it offer us an exciting opportunity to develop and roll out some of our future plans faster and better,” says Schalk. “These plans include the introduction of a host of self-servicing options that will further enable the best advice.”

BrightRock’s Advanced Underwriting product feature, introduced in August this year, has also been a great success, says Schalk. This new underwriting method allows qualifying clients to apply for cover of up to R10 million without a standard nurse visit for an HIV test.

In one instance, a client in Dubai received cover in less than 13 business hours, through an entirely electronic application and underwriting process.

Also newly updated is BrightRock’s Trauma IQ product feature, which looks at the impact a medical event has had on a client, as a basis for a pay-out.

Recently, a 5% pay-out of R25 000 was made to a client whose hand was badly bitten by a monkey at a wildlife sanctuary. No other provider in the market would have paid the client’s claim, says Schalk.

More proof that it pays to be ready for anything in life, by making plans that will help you and your family when life changes.



This article first appeared in The Comet, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.

Life cover isn’t only for the healthy

You don’t have to be in perfect health to take out life cover, but you may pay a higher premium or have specific exclusions applied to your policy if your risk of claiming is higher than average, writes Patricia Holburn


If you are worried that poor health may disqualify you from taking out life, disability or critical illness cover, take heart: life assurers won’t automatically decline your application, but will assess your individual risk factors and decide what cover to offer and the premium.

Less than two percent of applications for cover are rejected, Dr Marion Morkel, the medical officer at Sanlam, says.

“We realise people need long-term insurance, because it protects their financial interests. We are here to offer that service. We decline reluctantly,” Dr Dominique Stott, the executive of medical standards and services at PPS, says.

When you apply for life assurance, the provider assesses the likelihood that you will claim for specific benefits. This assessment is based on the information you provide in the application form and on medical tests or records.

If the risk factors for developing a disease are present, or you have had a serious illness, such as cancer, your case – known as a non-standard life – will be individually assessed to determine the benefits you can be offered and at what rates.
An assurer has several options if you are a non-standard life, Schalk Malan, the executive director of actuarial at BrightRock, says. These include premium loadings and excluding certain activities, health conditions and benefits from being covered.

Cover at a higher rate

“A loading is an additional cost applied to your premium when a life assurer believes that, statistically, you are more likely to claim than the average person,” Hayley Taylor, the head of underwriting at Hollard Life, says.

Loadings are a certain percentage above the rate for clients with a standard rate profile, usually expressed in increments of 25 percent, Morkel says.

Loadings of 50, 100 and 200 percent are common.

“Every company determines the level or threshold at which they would not offer above this rate. This threshold is usually determined by affordability. It makes no sense offering a product that is completely unaffordable and that, over time, costs more than the potential benefits embedded in the products offered,” Morkel says.

She says that, as general rule, an application is declined when the rate is three-and-a-half times the basic premium.

Gareth Friedlander, the head of research and development at Discovery Life, says Discovery generally declines policies when the mortality risk is greater than 400 percent of the standard rate.

The cost of a loading is not just the higher premium; there is also an opportunity cost. For example, you will have less money to contribute to retirement savings if your life cover is expensive. However, you have to weigh up the extra cost against the financial risk of not having cover at all.


“An exclusion is applied to your policy if an assurer determines that the risk of you making a claim related to a medical condition, dangerous hobby or risky occupation is too great. In that case, an assurer would provide you with cover with no additional cost, but let you know upfront that it won’t pay a claim related to that specific condition, hobby or occupation. Exclusions can be permanent or for a specific period of time,” Taylor says.

You may be concerned that excluding claims for certain conditions negates the point of having cover in the first place, but Taylor disagrees.

“Exclusions are often very specific, which means they limit your ability to claim as little as is reasonably possible,” she says.

Malan says: “We try not to prejudice the client against injuries that would have occurred irrespective of the condition. An example of our approach was where we had a client with an existing back condition that resulted in an exclusion on the existing back ailments. The client sustained a new injury to the back in a car accident, and, as a result, the cover paid out for this injury, as it was in no way a result of, or aggravated by the existing condition, and the exclusion did not apply.”

Individual risk assessment

Because each non-standard life is assessed individually, there are no set rates for certain conditions. An assurance company will be able to tell you what benefits it will offer once it has assessed your application.

“Rates differ from case to case and depend on numerous factors, including age, risk factors and what type of cover is applied for. Insurers are very individual in their treatment of non-standard lives,” Hesta van der Westhuizen, an advisory partner at Citadel Wealth Management, says.

In her experience, Van der Westhuizen says life companies have become more willing to consider offering cover to clients who are not in perfect health, or who are at risk of developing a condition, or who have suffered an illness.

Stott uses the example of a person who had a minor heart attack five years ago. Since then, he has followed treatment and lifestyle programmes to reduce his risk factors – for example, controlling his cholesterol and weight. An underwriter would take this into account when assessing his risk, and although it is unlikely that he will be offered cover at standard rates, he is likely to be offered cover with a loading on his premium, Stott says.

The principles are similar where an applicant had cancer, but is now in remission.

“The underwriter would need to assess the long-term outcome (which is key to the decision-making process) based on various pieces of supporting information, like the type and stage of cancer at diagnosis, type of treatment received and time elapsed since completion of treatment,” Dr Philippa Peil, the chief medical officer at Liberty, says.

The type of treatment is also important in assessing risk, because certain treatments for cancer have long-term side-effects that increase the risk of developing other conditions, such as heart disease, Stott says.

Some assurers will provide cover for certain types of cancer if the remission period has been longer than two years, whereas others require remission of five to seven years before they will consider an application for cover.

If the risk factors for developing a serious illness are present, your risk and rating will be assessed based on the information provided.

Taylor cites the example of a 40-year-old man who has high cholesterol, a family history of high cholesterol and a father who suffered a fatal heart attack before the age of 50. This would place him in a high-risk category, and an assurer would apply a loading to his premiums for life, critical illness or disability cover.

But there are cases where the presence of risk factors does not mean that the risk is higher. Dr Morkel uses the example of breast cancer.

“If we are aware that a female applicant has a strong family history of breast cancer as a result of a specific gene mutation, this would place her in a sub-standard rates pool. However, on closer inspection, we discover that she has tested negative for this gene mutation and she has regular breast check-ups, all of which have been normal.”

These are regarded as merits that would change the initial risk assessment, she says.

Reviewing a premium loading

Most life assurers are prepared to review premium loadings and exclusions if there has been a significant change in your health, Van der Westhuizen says. This includes evidence that your current state of health is not as it was assumed to be when you were assessed initially, or that your condition has improved – for example, you had excessively high blood pressure, but it has been brought under control.

Some assurers may require you to monitor your condition, while others have programmes that are designed to control your medical condition.

Friedlander says Discovery Life will soon introduce a Managed Care Integrator that will enable certain policyholders to reduce and ultimately remove their premium loadings if they manage their health conditions via a managed-care programme provided by Discovery Health or Vitality. However, loadings for certain conditions – for example, coronary artery disease – are not reviewable, he says.

If your policy has a loading or exclusion, ask your assurer or financial adviser when and under what circumstances it can be reviewed. Remember, that if you have to undergo a medical test, the cost is likely to be for your account.

Should you try to obtain a lower rate if your premium has been loaded?

Van der Westhuizen says that, when you apply for cover and have to undergo a medical test, the results are stored in a central information register that is accessible to all assurers. Therefore, all life assurers will make similar decisions about the premium charged.

Loadings are pretty standard across the industry, Carina Knill, a financial planner at the Hereford Group, says.

Malan, however, believes it is worthwhile to shop around.

He says there are providers that use the latest needs-matched pricing technologies to better match cover to clients’ needs and deliver more value – an average of about 40 percent more cover per premium rand.

“This saving extends to non-standard lives, and is perhaps even more important where loadings impact on traditional policies, as efficiently priced premiums can serve to negate or reduce the impact of loadings significantly,” Malan says.

  • This article was originally published in Independent Newspapers and on Saturday, 1 October 2016. Click here to view the original version.

Severe illness cover plays catch-up to medical advances

One type of assurance policy that needs constant revision, by both you and your assurer, is severe illness cover. You need to know exactly what conditions fall inside and outside the policy net. LAURA DU PREEZ reports on what you need to know about your cover.


The devil is in the detail when it comes to severe illness cover, and the details are constantly changing, which can leave you feeling powerless when choosing a policy or deciding whether or not to accept enhanced cover on your existing policy.

Medical advances and increasing longevity are making severe illness cover an essential part of your protection against the financial shocks that can arise when you suffer a serious illness or medical condition, such as a heart attack, cancer, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or dementia.

Severe illness cover plugs financial gaps created when you need to make lifestyle adjustments, such as slowing down your career, cutting back on your responsibilities at home, or employing someone to help you, or when you incur expenses related to your condition that are not covered by your medical scheme, such as adjustments to your home or rehabilitation costs.

A good medical scheme option, possibly with gap cover, should meet most of your medical expenses, and an income protection policy should cover you in the event of temporary or permanent loss of income.

Severe illness cover typically pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a condition listed in the policy.

The high probability of claiming for an illness over your lifetime makes the cover relatively expensive, and the range of illnesses that can be identified at an early stage continues to grow.

When choosing the most suitable cover, or deciding whether to upgrade, you are likely to find yourself grappling with two concepts: the definitions and number of illnesses covered and the existence of a catch-all clause.

Number of illnesses covered

When severe illness cover was first introduced, it covered only four conditions: heart attack, coronary artery bypass grafts, cancer and stroke.

Most life assurers now cover many more conditions, although traditional assurers, such as Old Mutual, Liberty and Sanlam, say that 70 percent or more claims are still for the four big illnesses.

Old Mutual’s Greenlight policy covers 68 severe illnesses, 16 mild illnesses and 29 severe illnesses specific to children, and nine of the severe illnesses are now also covered when diagnosed early.

Nicholas van der Nest, the director of risk product innovation at Liberty, says Liberty covers more than 150 conditions at various levels of severity, in 31 categories or types of illness. There are options to include illnesses specific to women and children.

Petrie Marx, the product actuary at Sanlam Risk, says Sanlam’s comprehensive option covers 34 illnesses in addition to the big four, while its core option covers the big four only.

Gareth Friedlander, the head of research and development at Discovery Life, which covers about 300 conditions, says its claims statistics show that 45 percent of claims submitted to Discovery are for illnesses other than the big four.

BrightRock’s executive director, Schalk Malan, says it’s product covers 318 illnesses.

Friedlander says that the number of conditions can be misleading, because a single condition can be listed multiple times with different levels of severity.

Marx agrees and says the definition of one claim event in Sanlam’s policy could include a number of separate claim events listed in another assurer’s policy.

He says Sanlam’s current philosophy is not to cover a long list of diseases, of which some are very rare, or of a very low severity, but to provide excellent cover for the most prevalent dread diseases.

Sanlam’s offering is, however, under review.

Assurers may also pay out different percentages of the amount for which you are covered, depending on the severity of the illness.

In an attempt to help you to understand the different levels of cover, life assurers that belong to the Association for Savings & Investment South Africa (Asisa) have committed to using a standard disclosure grid that shows how much they pay at four different severity levels if you claim for the four main severe illnesses. You should check this grid and be aware that severity levels also apply to other conditions.

Medical advances have resulted in the early diagnosis of severe illnesses, including cancer, which can now be detected and treated at what is known as stage 0.

Life assurers are upgrading their cover to include payment if you are diagnosed early – often at only a percentage of the sum for which you have taken out cover – but this typically means a higher premium.

Living with illnesses detected at an early stage can still prove costly, but your chances of surviving without longer-term effects are greater, and this should influence your decision on whether to pay more for improved cover.

If your assurer improves your cover, including more illnesses or cover for early diagnoses, you may be offered an upgrade at a higher premium and will have to weigh up the cost versus the benefits.

Catch-all benefits

Many life companies boast that their policies include a catch-all clause, which ensures that you are covered if you suffer from any illness not listed in the policy that reaches a predefined level of severity. This provides cover for illnesses not listed in your policy and future undiagnosed illnesses, but typically only if the illness is quite severe.

Malan says that if a catch-all clause did, in fact, cover all illnesses, life assurers would not have to list any conditions in their policies. He says you need to know what level of severity will trigger the benefit. For example, you must be bedridden or fail an activities of daily living test.

BrightRock has a catch-all clause under each disease listed in the policy. For example, if the functioning of your heart deteriorates to a certain extent, or your mental capacity reaches a stage where you fail a standardised mental test, you qualify for a benefit.

Friedlander says Discovery’s test measures how capable you are of performing certain activities of daily living to determine whether you will receive a benefit for a condition not listed in the policy.

Marx says Sanlam’s catch-all clause determines whether you qualify for cover based on the extent of what is known in the industry as whole-person impairment.

Jenny Ingram, the head of product development for fully underwritten products at Momentum, says Momentum’s catch-all clause will result in a payout if your whole-person impairment is regarded as being more than 35 percent.

She says a catch-all benefit category may not always protect you if you suffer from a condition that is discovered after the inception of the policy.

Last year, Momentum introduced what it calls the Breadth of Cover Guarantee, which guarantees a payout of up to 20 percent for any condition that is not listed in a Momentum Myriad policy but which is defined in a severe illness policy of any life assurer that is an Asisa member.

Ingram says this feature aims to eradicate the need to count the number of illnesses or claim events in a Myriad critical illness policy.

Van der Nest says Liberty’s catch-all clause applies only to the conditions not specifically listed in the policy. Any illness specifically excluded – for example, congenital blindness – will not be considered under the catch-all definition, irrespective of its severity.

You may be asked to upgrade your policy

As medicine advances, severe illness cover is advancing and you, as policyholder, are likely to get a letter from your assurer at some stage advising you of an “upgrade” of your policy.

Life assurers say they will upgrade your cover to include new illnesses and medical definitions retrospectively without asking you for a higher premium where these upgrades do not have a big cost implication for the assurer.

Where benefits are upgraded significantly, you will be given the opportunity to upgrade your cover for an increased premium. Typically, for a limited period only, you will be able to upgrade without what is known as “underwriting”. This means the assurer will offer you the increased cover as long as your health and other risks are substantially the same as when you took out the cover. If you do not take up the offer within the window in which it is offered, but decide to do so later, full underwriting with medical tests will apply.

Petrie Marx, the product actuary at Sanlam Risk, says a change to a benefit is not always just to add health events for which you can claim; it can also be an increase in the amount paid out for an event that is currently covered or a change to the definition of a current event.

He says other product features can also be added or changed, such as the survival period linked to a benefit or whether, after an initial claim, you can claim again for an unrelated illness.

There can also be limitations on what is included in the catch-all clause (see the main story) while other, less severe conditions may be included in the general upgrade, Marx says. He says Sanlam has upgraded its cover only once in the past five years.

Gareth Friedlander, the head of research and development at Discovery Life, says Discovery has upgraded its cover several times without increasing premiums, and has increased premiums only when new benefits have been introduced. For example, Discovery introduced a lifetime benefit providing payments of up to twice the insured amount for certain illnesses in line with their duration and their impact on your life.

Nicholas van der Nest, the director of risk product innovation at Liberty, says Liberty’s policies include a feature that ensures you are covered if you require the latest procedure or diagnostic technique for a particular severity level of illness, and this has made it necessary for Liberty to continually update its definitions.

Jenny Ingram, the head of product development for fully underwritten products at Momentum, says Momentum Myriad has upgraded its cover on its severe illness policies three times in the past five years. Two of these upgrades were automatically applied to clients’ policies at no additional cost and one involved a small additional cost.

In 2014, Old Mutual upgraded its severe illness cover on its Greenlight policies, adding 34 illnesses, child-specific illnesses and nine early diagnoses, and offering a non-underwritten upgrade for a 20-month window period.

Inus Havenga, a Greenlight risk specialist at Old Mutual, says the upgrade definitions made it easier for policyholders to claim, and in some cases the upgrades required a 20 to 30-percent premium increase.

Havenga says the upgraded policy will pay out faster for conditions such as stroke. Early cancer diagnoses now qualify for a 15-percent payout and the balance is paid out if the disease progresses.

BrightRock’s executive director, Schalk Malan, says BrightRock recently upgraded its policies because it introduced a new trauma benefit that guarantees a payment if you are treated for any trauma.

If medical advances define new illnesses, he says, you may still qualify for a benefit payout under a catch-all phrase if your illness is sufficiently severe, but there is a risk you won’t be covered.

He says if affording a premium increase is a problem, you should look at how efficient your life cover is at meeting your needs. By reducing inefficiencies, you may be able to afford the higher premiums. For example, when debt such as your housing loan is paid off, you may be able to reduce your life and disability cover in favour of severe illness cover, which is important to have when you get older.

Evaluating Upgrades

Malan says to evaluate new cover, ask your assurer or financial adviser the following:

  • Name five conditions that will now be covered that were not covered before. Then check if any of these are familiar to you or are conditions you are worried about.
  • What other assurers cover these conditions and at what price?
  • If one assurer’s cover costs more, why is this?

Don’t forget that partial payments for different severity levels, whether cover can be reinstated for future claims, and whether or not the cover is for a term – for example to your retirement age – or for life, will make a difference to the cost.

And some policies include other benefits such as that offered by Momentum, which gives you ongoing payments after you have contracted a severe illness, or a longevity enhancer payment at age 80 if you have never claimed before.

Marx suggests you also compare the premium on an upgrade offer to the cost of an entirely new policy.

* This article was originally published in the Personal Finance section of the Saturday Star, The Weekend Argus, The Independent on Saturday and  


Failing the number one SME asset in the country

By Schalk Malan, Executive Director, BrightRock

BrightRock views the business owner of an SME as the business’ most important asset, which should be covered just like the physical assets of the business.

The affordability of suitable cover is a stumbling block for many business owners and financial advisers, because traditional business assurance policies are structured in the same form as personal life insurance policies.

We believe business assurance must provide a high degree of flexibility to maximise the relevance and affordability of owners’ risk cover as their businesses grow and develop. There’s both an opportunity and a demand for product providers to introduce more efficient product structures that better address entrepreneurs’ changing needs.

Looking at traditional product structures – whether providing protection for Keyman, Contingent Liability or Buy-and-Sell – most of these products provide cover via a single capitalised lump-sum that is priced for the maximum term and is usually set to grow over time. The structure of this cover is not necessarily in the best interest of the business owner, because the cover increases as your needs decrease, leading to cost inefficiency in the way premiums are structured. The cover is also more expensive because it is priced to extend for the maximum possible term (whole of life, until clients are aged 110, for example), while the business insurance need will cease at- or before the client retires and leaves the business.


This is why we decided to follow a more flexible approach, which allows 40% more cover per premium Rand, allowing business owners to invest more funds in their businesses, or allocate the savings to more cover in the event of underinsurance.

Our premium efficiency and cover sustainability is achieved by structuring business owners’ cover to meet their exact needs. BrightRock’s cover removes premium waste and saves money from the payment of their first premiums. Our unique approach allows advisers to tailor business owners’ cover over time to match the profile of their needs.

In addition to this, business owners have the unique ability for them to redirect their premiums to cover for their personal needs if their business cover needs reduce or end. This is done free of underwriting, giving business owners the benefit of the underwriting they initially underwent and premiums they have paid thus far.

But what should small business owners do in the event where the business’ growth exceeds expectations, leaving the business owner with the desire to increase his or her cover?

This is not a problem for BrightRock policyholders: Standard BrightRock policies automatically have access to an extra cover account, to access later in the business lifetime. The only requirement in this event is an HIV test.

In conclusion, the following product attributes ensure sustainable cover for business owners who are covered by BrightRock:

  • Affordability: In the early stages of a business, entrepreneurs have to juggle the conflicting demands of large capital expenditure, a significant debt liability and limited cash flow. It’s vital that premiums are as low as possible, while delivering the required level of protection. By matching the duration and behaviour of cover exactly to that of the underlying need, BrightRock’s cover is more efficient. We find that this efficient structure gives clients on average 40% more cover


  • Relevance: Once a debt liability has been met, there’s no longer a requirement to provide cover for it. Similarly, as a business evolves, its reliance on specific key individuals is likely to change or lessen and eventually end, impacting on the nature and extent of the keyman cover required. Many of these future changes in need can be anticipated with a fair amount of certainty. Business assurance products should offer the ability to structure cover taking these future changes into account from the outset. For example, a business owner may know that his vehicle fleet will be replaced every four years and wish to structure his business’s debt cover to increase in line with inflation every four years. BrightRock offers unique features that allow this level of flexibility;


  • Access: While it’s possible to anticipate certain future developments – such as the date that a debt will have been paid off – it’s also possible that new needs will arise or the business’s growth will play out differently than expected. Future insurability and access to cover with minimum effort is a critical requirement. While BrightRock prices cover for the appropriate need to maximise efficiency, we underwrite a client’s premiums for life. This means, should their needs change in future, business owners have the ability to redirect their premiums to different needs and insurance events (even to personal cover) anytime their needs change, free of medical underwriting. They also have the ability to buy up cover with limited medical underwriting (only requiring an HIV test).

This article was originally published in the April edition of Cover Magazine.

Fear no key man

Losing a key person in the organisation can put enormous strain on a company – both for personnel and the bottom line. Yet many companies still shy away from key man cover. RISKAFRICA takes a look at how the real experts are looking after themselves.

By Dominic Uys

Most businesses understand that losing the critical cogs in a company’s management team to life changing events such as death, disability or simple unexpected resignations, carries with it a significant cost implication (and possible business interruption). Yet many businesses remain a little wary of key man cover, in large part due to the significant cost that goes into premiums. And while those in the long-term insurance market are constantly advocating for the importance of these policies to their clients, one often wonders whether these financial services experts are following their own advice.

Origin Financial director Azania Swart starts by telling RISKAFRICA that Origin doesn’t favour any specific insurer when it comes to advice around key man cover for its clients. “We rather look for one whose benefits and the structure of those benefits fit the client’s (the business) needs when losing a key person due to disability or death,” she says.

When looking at brokerages specifically, she adds that it depends largely on the size and capability to sustain itself, as well as the role of the key person. “A one- or two-man brokerage is far more vulnerable when a key person ‘lapses’ and they should look at replacing their personal income stream for a good period of around two years (the time it takes for a new person to settle in or for clients to be notified and their portfolios properly reviewed and also the time in which most of his or her income will be affected); plus the portion of expenses in the business the key person is liable for, or contributes towards,” Swart continues.

Advice to a broker from a broker

Swart goes on to say that larger brokerages once again need to take a slightly different approach. “In a bigger practice where the role is probably a combination of management and servicing only a small number of clients, the person to be replaced is more a general business manager. Thus, a more accurate approach would be to replace a key person’s input via a multiple of salary calculation,” she says.

“This refers to the salary it would take to i employ the new manager, and should earn, for at least the six to 12 months it would take to settle in, and help the practice to absorb any financial losses. In a second scenario, where an adviser is key to a special set of skills and servicing a specific type of client, the focus of replacing this key person would be quite the opposite.

“Should this key person fall away, the brokerage could potentially suffer big losses and the business should make adequate provision. A specific calculation should be done on the key person’s income stream and the direct expenses to the business for a period of at least two years, as the loss of this key person will probably result in the practice losing a percentage of income. Plus a new adviser needs to be employed and expenses linked directly to the key person needs to be entertained for the period of time it will take to employ the skills or train a: new adviser in the specific field and inform 1 and take over clients.”

Swart notes that the average brokerage is in this regard, no different from any other. “The calculation methods of the insured amounts are over all types of businesses, but each business should look at what that key person contributes to income and expenses and what the loss to the business would be in that person`s specific set of skills and role in the company.

“And for the record, we do actually follow our own advice. Each key person in the Origin Group`s specific loss is calculated and addressed accordingly,” adds Swart.

Calculating your cover

Swart points out that there are a few general methods of calculating the amount of cover required. “A multiple of the annual salary of the key person, according to the time frame it would take to replace them, is one. This could be anything from two to five times their annual salary. Secondly, one could use the actual cost to replace a key person, including the advertising, training, et cetera. This is combined with the actual loss of nett profits.

“The latter is the more detailed and accurate method to use, and specific calculations and figures are used. In the end, the level of cover should be calculated according to that key person`s contribution to the business. Premiums are calculated as usual and according to the person`s risk profile.” she says.

Yet all of this broker-to-broker advice still leaves the question of how one cuts the cost of what is still considered a relatively heavy business cost. Naturally, Swart points to the importance of having proper risk management in place, which already allows a much more accurate insured amount to be calculated.

“The normal risk management that should be in place for any business, like the updated management accounts in order to quantify the key person’s role and contribution, the roles of each key person, the segment of clients serviced by each staff member, the procedures and processes to follow, compliance, et cetera. Also, one should determine if it is really necessary to take the whole insured amount and if the loss can be absorbed by the brokerage for a period while other arrangements are made to replace the person. Costs within the level of cover and premium should be minimised by the correct structure for tax purposes, and proper advice should ensure the most effective tax structure,” Swart concludes.

Have a five-year plan

Schalk Malan, director at BrightRock, tells RISKAFRICA that his company follows its own cost-effective solution to the key man insurance issue. But in order for that to work optimally, the business needs to get a few of its other ducks in a row.

“We started by identifying the different stages in our growth plan, and prioritising which positions and key people were critical in each stage. For us, the real thinking was much more around looking inside the business and the business dynamics, as opposed to finding a cover solution,” he starts.

“BrightRock doesn’t necessarily have a dedicated product that solely looks at the key man in a company. But our business life cover design is very well equipped to cover the key people.”

As far as following their own advice, Malan points out that the company has the same policy in place that it punts to the market. “To start, you need to make peace with the fact that if you have the same key man risk for the entire life of your business, your planning and your people planning is at fault. You actually want to develop your people within the business, so that if someone moves on, passes away or becomes disabled, it doesn’t become a big disruption in your company. It is always better to have home-grown skills to take that place immediately, than it is to actually go out and recruit someone from outside.”

“Look at that line of thought as a backdrop of what we’ve done. We established that the business is on a certain growth trajectory. We reckoned that we probably had a key man problem in specific areas for the next five years. And if you look at our product, it allows you to price the cover for your business for the duration of that five years, with the option of converting those premiums for a longer duration,” he says.

“That was a really good solution for ourselves because we set the most cost-effective plan in place. You don’t want a whole of life policy in place when your planning obviously needs to extend to only five years. After that time, you need to revisit the situation and establish whether the key man risk involving person X has been resolved. If it continues with some individuals, you have the ability to extend that, which is a very cost effective thing for a business.”

Coupled with that, Malan imparts that the company must actively work on putting contingencies in place. “Having skills in place to take the reigns if one of these life-changing events occurs to one of your people, is also critical for your business plan. Because you might one day want to enter another market, you actually need people who know your business intimately in order to effectively take advantage of those opportunities. It should be part of a full development strategy that must work hand in glove with the cover.

“So we have that in place, and we do review it on a regular basis. Our model was to look at how much it would cost to recruit a person, taking into account the recruitment fee, as well as things like take on bonuses (usually a sizeable amount) and the rest. The reason why many businesses shy away from key man policies is for exactly the reason that most policies cover the whole of life, making it an expensive option for any business. Which is why a policy that is only underwritten for a shorter duration, for instance five years, is actually a lot more appealing as a cost-effective solution,” Malan continues.

As a final piece of wisdom, Malan states that a company needs to seriously consider its own attractiveness as an employer. “It goes without saying that this seriously influences how difficult it might be to replace a key man,” he says.

Replacing a board member

As a final thought, do the boards of volunteer organisations ever considered the contingencies for filling a sudden vacancy in their own midst. Gavin Came, chairperson of the Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA) financial planning executive committee quickly shut down that line of questioning by saying that, generally speaking, key person policies are not considered by volunteer-based organisations like the FIA for a number of reasons.

“These organisations have no profit motive which means that one cannot place the ‘usual’ financial value on the key person by calculating profits lost. In most volunteer associations, the value that the non-executive directors present is their length of service and experience in the industry. This is not simply replaced by money,” he explains.

“Secondly, most volunteer associations are finely tuned to make no profit and, therefore, the value of a ‘key non-executive’ is not measurable. In any event, it would be difficult to justify the cost of insuring an unpaid volunteer. Most non-profit organisations also have their work cut out for them in attracting and retaining the skills of the volunteer, and no amount of money paid out on a key person basis can be used to attract the volunteer,” he continues.

“Finally, usually the permanent or executive staff in a not-for-profit organisation can be temporarily replaced by a volunteer while a replacement is sought, of course in this area there may be justification in conventional key person insurance and a succession plan.”

“While it could be argued that non-profit organisations can benefit from key person policies on certain executives, the reality is that once such organisations have built up sufficient reserves to sustain themselves, this type of cover would not be that important. There is no need to ‘protect’ profits as there would be in a for-profit business,” Peter Atkinson, national technical portfolio manager at the FIA adds.

“Key person policies for intermediary businesses would not be significantly different to those provided by insurers for other kinds of businesses. There is, however, a need to accommodate the FAIS Act succession planning requirements (specific to advice firms) as well as other risk management processes that are unique to this class of business,” Atkinson says.

Turning to financial planning practices, Came could impart some advice. “There would be a range of responses depending on the size and level of specialisation in each business. Obviously, as in any one-man business, a one-man financial planning practice would not be able to justify key person cover since his or her demise would leave the business without accredited staff to continue. Our members are required by law to have a succession plan and we encourage our one-man members to engage with each other to create a succession plan, especially as the FAIS Act requires accredited people to continue the business. However, the cover required in these cases is more in the nature of partnership insurance than key person since it would involve a change of ownership rather than a change of employees. Our larger members would take out key person cover based on need, but we are not privy to details of these members’ arrangements,” Came concludes

* This article first appeared in the February 2016 edition of RISKAFRICA magazine, pages 82 to 86.

Ongeskik vir werk: Pas jou dekking aan


Dit klink miskien morbied, maar die meeste mense dink aan lewensversekering as ’n groot bedrag geld wat uitbetaal as jy doodgaan of ernstig beseer word.

Schalk Malan, uitvoerende direkteur van BrightRock, sê lewensdekking is vir baie mense ’n abstrakte konsep.

“Dit is ’n lang syfer soos ’n telefoonnommer en die meeste mense weet eerder wat hul maandelikse premie is as hoeveel dekking hulle regtig het.

“Of hulle weet hulle het R5 miljoen se dekking. Dit is egter moeilik om daardie R5 miljoen om te skakel in daaglikse uitgawes om te weet hoeveel dekking jy regtig nodig het.”

Hy sê die manier waarop oor lewensdekking gepraat word, maak dit ook moeilik om te verstaan.

“Gesprekke oor ‘gevreesde siektes’ en ongeskiktheid vind gewoonlik plaas in ’n taal waarin gewone mense wat nie in die finansiële sektor werk nie, nie kan saampraat nie.

“Dit is moeilik om tred te hou met hoeveel dekking jy het as dit uitgedruk word in terme van wat met jou moet gebeur voordat die versekering uitbetaal, met ander woorde ‘as dít gebeur, dan kry jy soveel’.”

Malan sê die eerste stap wanneer jy lewensversekering uitneem, moet eerder wees om te vra wat jou regtig bekommer en waarom jy in die eerste plek lewensversekering wil uitneem.

Is dit om te sorg dat jou skuld betaal word as jy sterf of om te verseker dat jy ’n inkomste het as jy beseer word?

Hoeveel dekking het jy nodig?

Hy sê dit is makliker om eers jou huishoudelike uitgawes op te tel en dan lewensdekking te kry wat dit moontlik maak om dié uitgawes te kan betaal, as om te probeer bepaal of ’n groot bedrag genoeg is.

“Jy moet kan verstaan dat jy eintlik R15 000 per maand gekoop het om van te leef en of dit genoeg is om jou huidige lewenstyl te handhaaf. Dit maak dit ook makliker om te verstaan dat jy dalk minder dekking nodig het vir ’n besering omdat jy weet jou maatskappy sal nog vir ’n paar maande jou salaris betaal.”

Malan sê wanneer mense verstaan dat lewensversekering hul uitgawes in sekere moont­like situasies moet dek, besef hulle ook dat hul behoeftes mettertyd verander.

“Op die oomblik benader die meeste lewensversekeraars in Suid-Afrika die probleem deur te sorg dat jy ’n inkomste het as jy dalk ongeskik verklaar sou word, soos volg:

“Hulle sê jy het nog 20 of 30 jaar oor wat jy sou kon werk, so jou lewensversekering moet 20 of 30 jaar se salaristjeks kan dek. Dan bereken hulle die waarde van hierdie salaristjeks en sê jy het byvoorbeeld R5 miljoen se dekking nodig.”

Hy sê tradisionele lewensversekeringsprodukte maak jou vas op dekking van R5 miljoen en dié bedrag groei elke jaar totdat jy eendag aftree of die versekeringspolis kanselleer.

Die probleem met dié benadering is tweeledig.

Eerstens betaal polishouers uit die staanspoor die verhoging wat hulle in ’n latere stadium in hul dekking gaan sien. En tweedens word die getal salaristjeks wat jy oor het voor aftrede, elke maand minder.

“Dan word 20 jaar se tjeks tien jaar s’n en later vyf jaar. Dit beteken jy mors verskriklik baie geld deur steeds dekking vir 20 jaar se salaristjeks te hê as jy al oor tien of vyf jaar aftree.

“Ons navorsing toon die meeste kliënte wat hierdie produkte koop, verminder uiteindelik self hul dekking of kanselleer die polis, want hulle doen saam met hul finansiële adviseurs die somme en sien hulle het nie regtig soveel dekking nodig nie.”

Baie mense het egter teen die tyd dat hulle hul dekking verminder het, reeds ’n klomp geld in die water gegooi.

“Ná vyf of tien jaar kom ’n makelaar na jou toe en sê hy kan jou maandelikse premies met 50% of 60% verminder. Wat mense dan vergeet, is dat jy eintlik oor die jare 50% of 60% te veel betaal het vir dekking wat jy weet jy nooit gaan gebruik nie.” - Mari Blumenthal

* This article was originally published in Rapport’s business section (Sake Rapport) on 27 September 2015. It’s also available on Netwerk24.

Do I really need life insurance?


When money is tight, we tend to forego insurance (especially life insurance) in favour of more immediate expenses. Here’s why that isn’t smart – and which insurance you really need.

(Originally published in Fair Lady Magazine, May 2015, p. 82)

Our expert: Schalk Malan

  • Executive director: BrightRock
  • 2013 Cover Excellence Award in the Life-Risk Category
  • Association of Savings and Investments in South Africa (ASISA) Life and Risk Board Committee member

What`s the point of insurance?

If you are injured or ill, you may be off work for a while and you’ll have extra costs. And if you pass away while people depend on you financially, their income is gone too. Long-term insurance fills the gaps.

What kinds of long-term insurance should I have?

It depends on where you are in life. Typically, the most important events you need to consider are death, dread disease and disability (temporary or permanent). And there’s also cover for retrenchment. Ask yourself, ‘What do I need this cover for?’ For instance, part of your lump sum cover might cover your bond, part might provide an income for your dependants, and part might pay for your children’s schooling. But your needs change as you get older: you`ll pay your bond off after 15 or 20 years, your children will become self-sufficient (hopefully), and you’ll retire by 65. As each element changes over time, make sure you only buy what you need.

Is insurance optional?


How much should I spend?

What you can actually afford. The most important thing to protect is your ability to generate an income. So obviously, income protection should be your main insurance cost. If you can’t cover your income fully, start with 50% or 25% – but understand how under-insured you are. You must start somewhere.

If you’re single, have just started working, have no debt, few assets (so no risk of inclining estate duty if you die) and no dependants, your main worry is suffering a temporary or permanent disability. If you can`t work, who`s going to take care of you, and how are you going to see out the rest of your life? But your needs change: you buy property, have kids. You need to consider what happens to your dependants if you pass away tomorrow.

It sounds so complicated! How can I be sure I’m choosing wisely?

Get an expert – a skilled certified financial planner (CFP) – to advise you. This is really important. That person knows the landscape, understands the jargon and can debunk it for you and put a plan in place with cover that changes over your life stages. Independent financial advisers are governed by the Financial Advisory Intermediary Services Act, which legislates that they get a defined amount of commission. Also, they are not tied to a specific product, so they can give a more objective view.

Is it best to use one institution for all your life insurance?

Every time you open up a policy, the insurance company assesses your risk – we call it underwriting. So practically, you don’t want to go through this with a lot of different companies. Also there’s a fixed amount of cost built into each product, and the more you separate these products between different providers, the greater the administrative costs will be. Your adviser will help you choose your best strategy.

Should I go for the cheapest insurance I can get?

No. A slightly more expensive product might serve you better at claims stage. Take a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, for example. Some products pay out your benefits the moment it’s diagnosed. Others pay only after the disease reaches a certain severity, which could take years. But your costs will be high in the meantime. Again, it’s important to get advice from a skilled adviser.

How important is it for me to tell my insurer if something changes?

If you start smoking but don’t tell your provider and something happens, your claim will be honoured, but it may be less than what you thought it would be. So it’s best to notify them. But it works both ways: if you stop smoking, tell them, as you might actually enjoy a saving from then on. Also, notify your insurance provider of changes in your financial needs – marriage, divorce, having children, new debt, increasing your bond, a new bond, income changes –so that they can adjust your cover.

How do insurance companies work out what you need to pay for cover?

The life insurance company looks at the chance, or risk, of you claiming. Is it higher than the norm, or lower? Which risk factors differentiate you from the norm: Are you older? Are you younger? Do you skydive, bungee jump or smoke? Have you got high blood pressure?

How can I improve my risk profile?

Stop smoking. Drink moderately. Exercise. Monitor your blood pressure and other health markers, and take medication if necessary. Basically, manage your health to imporove your risk profile.

Any products you`d advise us to steer clear of?

The type that say they’ll give you your premiums back after a certain amount of time, say 15 years. For that option, you’re probably paying 30% more on your premiums. And they only give it to you if you haven’t claimed! Rather buy something that’s cost-effective now, and get the saving into your pocket, as opposed to having to wait 15 years (if you’re still around) to get something back. Then invest that 30% extra: if you need your money tomorrow, or next year, you can access it. In the meantime, it will grow.

And avoid products with dynamic underwriting. Your life insurance company has looked at all your risks, and you want certainty from that point on that the claim will be paid when you need it. But what happens if you develop high blood pressure, or cholesterol problems later? You should not be penalised for this. With dynamic underwriting, they reassess you every year, so your activities and wellness over time have an impact on your premium. In other words, you can be penalised if things change after you took out the policy.

What happens if I miss a few payments – say, my debit order bounced because of insufficient funds?

It’s important to understand that during the period that you don’t pay premiums, you won’t be covered in the event of a claim. If you’d like to start again after a few months, a lot of providers will allow you to, but they might ask you to sign a declaration of health to say that nothing has changed. From then, the product runs its normal course. Think carefully before you stop or suspend your premiums. 



BrightRock’s Schalk Malan on Finweek Money Matters

10 April 2015

While many people believe they have to take out a life cover in an event of death, did you know you may fall under the group of individuals who do not need to take out a life cover? BrightRock’s Schalk Malan appeared on Finweek Money Matters on CNBC Africa to explain viewers who needs a life cover and why they need it. Watch the clip below or access the original Finweek post at this link.

Life Changing

  Back to Main Issue Button2_40X150

Edition_11_846 X 300_HEADINGS

Some disruptions change our lives. Television, which brought the world into our living-rooms. The Internet, which opened the portal to information and knowledge. The cellular phone, which cut the wires of personal communication.

And some disruptions change life itself.

Just three years ago, BrightRock introduced the concept of needs-matched life insurance, challenging some of the industry’s most deeply-entrenched beliefs. For many years, says Schalk Malan, Executive Director at BrightRock, the life industry has been providing blocks of cover that grow – to a maximum term, usually retirement age – with a premium that increases too.

But as clients reach retirement age, their risk profile changes. They have fewer pay cheques to protect, and large debts are settled. And yet policies are designed, and priced, to provide the highest level of cover when your insurance need is at its lowest.

This is confirmed by the True South insurance gap study, commissioned by the Association for Savings and Investments of South Africa (ASISA), which finds that earners in the older age categories tend to be over-insured. In effect, says Schalk, clients are paying a considerable amount for wasted premiums.

“They are paying from rand one for the sacrificed cover which could have secured much more efficiently and appropriately structured cover upfront.”

In addition, clients are less insurable at older ages, he adds. “Should they later need to increase cover for critical illnesses, they may find that they’re no longer insurable.” Because needs-matched cover from BrightRock is priced accurately for the correct term, based on the client’s financial exposure, clients get almost double the cover up-front.

On average, BrightRock clients are able to buy about 40% more cover on their whole policy, using needs-matched technology, than they would with a competitor for the same premium.

Schalk has been invited to speak in Germany and Australia about BrightRock’s product structure and the way it addresses the regulatory and consumerist challenges faced by the life insurance industry internationally.

“We’re excited about the possibilities this new technology creates, not only for the growth of our business, but for the future of our industry,” says Schalk.

But what does this mean for consumers? Schalk suggests that policyholders meet regularly with their financial advisers to check the level and term of their capital disability cover, and ensure that it’s right for their needs. He has the following tips for you and your adviser:


Check for under-insurance at younger ages

Your greatest financial asset is your ability to earn an income, so it is important is protect your future pay cheques until retirement. And while you’re more likely to suffer an illness or injury the closer you get to retirement, your financial exposure is highest in your thirties and forties when you’ve got more pay cheques to cover and a higher outstanding debt on your home loan.


Check for over-insurance at older ages

If your cover is set to grow steeply over time, you may be overpaying today for cover that you’re likely to reduce anyway as you get closer to retirement age and your financial exposure decreases.


Ask your financial adviser about your premium funding pattern

Often, if affordability is an issue, your financial adviser may choose an age-rated funding pattern for you. This means your cover may start off cheaper at the outset, but may increase steeply as you age, with your cover increasing too. This may prove unsustainable in the long term, forcing you to reduce your cover down in future as premiums get higher. It’s possible to increase your initial cover at a sustainable premium, by setting your cover and premium increases to align to expected changes in your financial exposure over time.


Secure your future insurability today

One of the biggest problems with policyholders adjusting their cover down, is that they’re not only sacrificing the value of the premiums they’ve already paid for cover to retirement age (the policy is priced to retirement age from day one, so you pay for future increases from your very first premium) but also the loss of insurability.

If your needs change in unexpected ways after you’ve reduced your cover – for example, you find you have to work longer than you planned, setting your retirement back a few years – you may need to undergo underwriting again (medical tests to check your risk).

If your health has deteriorated since you were first underwritten, you may pay much more for cover or find you can’t get the extra cover you need at all.

BrightRock offers various options to allow you to secure cover in future should your needs change, free of charge, on all its standard policies and without many of the restrictions that you may have with other insurers in the market.


This article first appeared in The Comet, an online newsletter by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.


Income tax and income protection

31 October 2014, Money Marketing


The Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill announced last year is expected to simplify tax benefits for life insurance premiums.

While this should benefit policyholders in the long term, many advisers will need to review their IP contracts to check for over-insurance during the transition to the new, simpler life insurance tax regime.

As things currently stand, premiums for recurring income protection insurance policies are allowed as a tax deduction. The premiums for lump sum life cover and permanent disability payments, whether temporary or permanent, are non-deductible. These differing tax treatments have been known to cause confusion for policyholders, adding complexity to the advice task.

In light of this inconsistency in the legislation, Treasury has proposed that the same principles that apply to lump sums (non-deductibility of premiums and tax-free pay-outs) be extended to recurring income protection policies too. This will ensure that there is uniformity in the treatment of policies that relate to personal cover for individuals.

It will make things significantly simpler for advisers and clients, and reduce risk and uncertainty. It will make things significantly simpler for advisers and clients, and reduce risk and uncertainty. Previously, because financial advisers had no way of knowing the income tax table that would apply to a specific client at the time of a claim, at policy inception advisers had to guess by what amount to increase the client’s cover to make provision for tax deductions. When there is no income tax liability on pay-outs, clients and advisers have the certainty of knowing that the cover amount they bought is what will be paid out and what they’ll receive at claim-stage.

Once the Amendment Bill is passed through, as expected, in parliament in March next year 2015, insurance products will be expected to adjust accordingly.

Because savvy advisers and their clients would have upped their sum insured for recurring income pay-outs to make provision for taxation of benefits, many policyholders will in effect be over-insured once the new regime applies. Where the insured amount exceeds the client’s take home (after tax) pay, cover will need to be reduced. Fortunately, recent innovations in the structure of life insurance products mean that not all policyholders and financial advisers will face these headaches.

Two years ago, BrightRock launched a ‘best of both worlds’ feature – that allows policyholders to change their choice of a lump-sum pay-out to a recurring income pay-out at claim stage, with no impact on taxability of benefits (the pay-out, whether lump sum or recurring does not attract income tax). The pay-out with this option capitalises the expected future income into a once-off lump-sum and is an industry world-first. It is particularly beneficial where a client`s long term prognosis (only known at claims stage) is poor. Compare the value it offers a 45-year old, who becomes disabled and has a poor prognosis. This client will enjoy a much greater benefit from an up-front lump-sum of R6 million, versus receiving just R35 000 per month for a few months. Making this choice at claims stage ensures the client gets the ‘best of both worlds’.

For policyholders who’ve taken advantage of this new thinking, the product is already suited to the changes in tax treatment of life insurance, and no adjustments will need to be made, helping to ensure their life insurance cover is already tax-change-ready.

Advisers in the rest of the market will need to check each income protection client’s cover, and review all the income protection products they’ve recommended, and make downward cover adjustments to ensure their clients aren’t over-insured.

The timing of this reduction is also important as it could cause the client to be exposed. Reducing the cover before the legislation change means that if the client claims between the cover reduction date and the legislation change, their (lower) pay-out may still be taxed, all the way to retirement. Waiting to after the change means that premium is effectively wasted, as if there is a claim, it will be reduced due to over-insurance. The reduction in cover will also require time and effort from the adviser and may incur a commission claw back for newer cases. – By Schalk Malan, Director, BrightRock


(This article was originally published in Money Marketing on 31 October 2014.)





BrightRock reaches R1 billion in future premiums written

6 November 2014. Cover Magazine.

BrightRock has recently released updated figures on its performance in the individual life insurance market.


Since opening for new business in April 2012, it has already written future premiums of just over R1 billion (R1 034 million, as at 30 September) in total, with cover in-force equating to around R70 billion. Nationwide, more than 2 700 independent financial advisers have signed distribution contracts with BrightRock to date. Month-on-month, the number of activated policies is growing by an average of over 15%.

According to BrightRock, it’s ‘needs-matched’ product design has given clients the power to co-create life insurance products suited to their needs with their financial adviser.

Schalk Malan, Executive Director at BrightRock and the main architect of the company’s unique needs-matched product structure, commented on the achievement. Malan received the 2013 Cover Excellence Award in recognition of BrightRock’s product innovation.

“BrightRock’s CAR (capital adequacy ratio) cover is at a healthy 2.8 times the required solvency level, ensuring the long-term sustainability of its risk book. Year on year, the value of in-force premiums has doubled, albeit off a low base, a positive indicator for future profitability.

“BrightRock has also seen a positive experience variance in terms of the company’s embedded value relative to its projections, this is largely attributable to better than expected investment returns. In terms of overall market share, and taking into account the split between distribution by Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) and tied agency distribution in the industry, it is estimated that BrightRock accounts for between 8% to 10% of new life insurance business written by IFAs in South Africa.”

“… These indicators are all signs of the company’s positive growth in a competitive market,” concluded Malan.

However, Malan again emphasised that the true measure of a life insurance product’s value is not in its sales but in its performance at claim-stage. Despite modest claims volumes, a function of its relatively recent market entry, BrightRock has already made a number of substantial pay-outs – the largest claim paid to date was a death claim of R16 million.

Malan says that the tremendous demand for cover created by the huge insurance gap in South Africa (of R24 trillion, according to the latest ASISA industry study), presents a significant opportunity for BrightRock:

“That’s why we started this business. We knew change was needed and believed we could deliver the kind of consumer-centric product thinking required to help close the gap.”

Malan says he and his fellow founders – fellow executive BrightRock directors Sean Hanlon, Leopold Malan and Suzanne Stevens – are proud of what’s been achieved to date.

“In such a competitive, well-developed insurance market, we are pleased with our growth trajectory and  the continued progress we have made on the R&D front, which ensures we are able to meet consumers’ changing needs through highly-efficient, relevant life products. We are positive about our future prospects and our ability to establish a strong presence in the market going forward,” added Malan. – By Katya Smith

(This article was originally published on the Cover Magazine website on 6 November 2014.)

Avoid that credit score downgrade

24 October 2014.

Schalk Malan, executive director of BrightRock, shares some tips to help you avoid a downgrade in your own financial rating.

The recent decision by Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade the credit rating of South Africa’s four biggest banks, has once again brought that ugliest of four-letter words – “debt” – to everyone’s lips. The decision to downgrade Absa, Firstrand, Nedbank and Standard Bank came shortly after the collapse of African Bank, the largest provider of unsecured loans in South Africa.

This has raised the question whether consumer lending is getting out of hand, and banks are under increasing pressure to scrutinise credit records and reduce the amount of money they lend to consumers.

A sound credit record will be helpful when it really matters – like when you would like to buy a house. Achieving this will be impossible if you don’t have a squeaky clean credit history.

Check your credit score

Knowledge is power. Don’t be taken by surprise with a financial consultant or future employer flagging your credit score – check it yourself. All South Africans are entitled to obtain information on their credit scores for free once a year. You can do this through a variety of online services or ask your financial adviser for assistance.

Pay your bills on time

Credit cards, retail accounts, instalment loan accounts and vehicle and bond repayments are all forms of debt that influence your credit record. The more you miss your repayments, the stronger the likelihood that your credit record will reflect this. If you can’t pay your bills on time, negotiate new payment deadlines with your bank or creditors – they might be more understanding than you think.

Put a cap on your debt

Whilst owing a substantial amount of money may not necessarily affect your credit score, it might deter institutions from granting you any further credit as they might feel you are too far in the red. You need to make an obvious effort to show that you are managing your debt, and this can be done by budgeting and making the necessary cuts in your expenses.

The earlier you start, the better

As a rule of thumb, your credit score is affected by the length of your credit history. Consider applying for a loan or a credit card if you’ve never had any debt before. We’re not saying pile on loads of debt, but create a footprint of good debt management that will give financial institutions reasons to loan you more funds when you really need it.

Don’t try to cheat the system

Opening and closing credit and retail accounts on a regular basis won’t improve your credit score. Nor will paying old debt with new debt. If you’re not happy with your credit score, focus on existing accounts or institutions affecting it by ensuring you meet the required payment deadlines and honouring your debt in full.

* Written by BrightRock exeuctive director Schalk Malan.

** First published in



The flip-side of risk opportunity

18 July 2014. Cover Magazine.

With a growing insurance gap and regulatory changes in the offing, risk opportunity are abound in the life insurance industries. The smart money’s on insurance players that are ready to seize the opportunity for change.

In November last year, the Association for Savings and Investments (ASISA) published its insurance gap study. South Africans are underinsured by R24 trillion. Conducted by True South Actuaries and Consultants in partnership with Unisa’s Bureau of Market Research, the study found that employed South Africans between the ages of 18 and 65 require 62% more death cover than they currently have and about 60% more disability cover.

Industry statistics by True South and ASISA show that new recurring premium policies declined by 16% in the first half of 2013. The last Ernst & Young Financial Services Index showed a drop in SA life insurers’ confidence levels. The index cites GDP growth and global economic outlook as the main drivers of the decline. The IMF has cautioned growth has slowed and financial conditions have tightened in emerging economies.

The industry paid risk benefits of R13 billion on individual life policies in the first six months of 2013 and R6 billion in risk benefits on group life policies.

Stats SA employment statistics indicate that more than 1,9 million South Africans are employed in the financial industry, many of  which work in the life insurance sector, one of SA’s most stable labour sectors.

South Africa ranks among the world’s top 20 insurance markets. Dread disease cover is a South African invention exported to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

We need more innovation and more consumer-centric products. Life insurance has become increasingly commoditised. The basic product structures have remained unchanged and even the ‘new-generation products’ have been around for more than a decade.

Despite signing up for ‘whole of life cover’, many policyholders lapse their cover within ten years, due to economic pressures and outdated and inefficient product structures.

Deliver better value

Traditional life insurance product are priced for the maximum term and set to increase over time, funded by a premium that increases too, often at a high rate. As costs rise consumers inevitably buy down or lapse cover. In practice they’re paying life-long rates for term cover. This is inefficient and wasteful. Insurance should match needs and each component of a policyholder’s cover should be priced for the duration it’s needed.

Identify need for cover

Life insurers should show people their specific financial needs and how their life insurance can meet those needs. Product structures must be adjusted to clarify the link between consumers’ need and their insurance cover.

Understand trade-offs

When it comes to life insurance cover sacrifices and rewards are less clear. Industry research shows that South Africans prioritise death cover over disability and income protection cover. If consumers can discern the exact purpose of their cover relative to their financial needs, they would prioritise their life insurance purchasing decisions more appropriately.

Products must support advice 

Advisors are reliant on product providers to create products and systems that support and streamline the advice task. Fortunately technological advances can help cut down on unnecessary paperwork and task duplication.

Sustainability over time

Premium funding patterns offer premiums at a discount, followed by premium increases as the policyholder ages, to compensate for the discount. When premiums grow out of kilter with the underlying cover policyholders are likely to reduce their cover or give it up. BrightRock commissioned a study that found that more efficient products free up premium savings that negate aggressive age-rating. The majority of our clients opt for more conservative, more sustainable premium patterns with more affordable initial premiums.

As the ASISA gap study shows, consumers need life cover in tough economic times. It’s time our industry change their life insurance cover to meet their needs. After all, the flipside of risk is opportunity.

– Written by Schalk Malan, executive director at BrightRock. Read the original article here.



Keeping small businesses covered

9 July 2014. Cover Magazine.

Small firms contribute to more than 40% of South Africa’s gross domestic product¹. Considering tax and labour legislation has made the SMME space a rather hostile environment, this figure is a testimony to the determination of our nation’s entrepreneurs.

In spite of its challenges, this sector of the economy is expected to become more lucrative thanks to pending initiatives by government to decrease tax measures on businesses in the lower end of the spectrum. Grants received by small and medium sized businesses are also expected to become tax exempt².

With the majority of South Africa’s small businesses operating in the agricultural trade-, tourism- and construction industries³, business owners face a substantial amount of risk, as businesses in these sectors require a hands-on approach.

It’s important to insure a small business against rainy days. Business owners need to remember that they are their businesses’ most important assets and should be covered too, along with physical assets. That’s where life insurance comes in, in the form of contingent liability insurance for major debts, cover for buy-and-sell agreements and key man insurance.

However, the affordability of cover could be a stumbling block for many business owners.

Traditional business assurance policies are structured in the same form as personal life insurance policies.

There tends to be a single capitalised block of cover for all needs, and this cover is priced for the maximum term. This cover structure is not necessarily in the best interest of the small business owner, because the cover increases as your needs decrease – leading to cost inefficiency in the way premiums are structured.

BrightRock’s flexible approach allows an upfront premium savings of 30% on average, allowing business owners to invest more funds in their businesses, or allocate the savings to more cover in the event of underinsurance.

Business owners can convert up to R7,5 million of their cover to personal cover at a later stage – without the requirement of medical underwriting.

Business owners can redirect premiums to cover personal needs if the business cover needs reduce or end. This is done free of underwriting.

When the business’ growth exceeds expectations, the business owner can increase cover.

Short-term risks for small businesses:

  • Fire, explosion and earthquake
  • Acts of nature (wind, thunder, lightning, storm, hail, flood and snow)
  • Damage caused by bursting and overflowing geysers and water pipes
  • Malicious damage
  • Power surges
  • Impact
  • Fire brigade charges
  • Vehicles or fleets
  • Buildings
  • Contents
  • Travel
  • Employer’s liability
  • Business interruption
  • Stock and money
  • Employee dishonesty
  • Public liability

Long term insurance for small business: What should be covered?

1. Contingent liability insurance for major debts

Contingent liabilities are liabilities that may be incurred by an entity (like a small business) depending on the outcome of an uncertain future event – such as the inability to honour a major debt due to a serious illness, debilitating injury or death

2. Long-term insurance for buy and sell agreements

This will ensure that co-owners of the business can continue to operate the business with as little disruption as possible in the event of the death of the business owner. It also ensures that the estate of the deceased business owner receives fair value for his or her business interest, as well as the settlement of his credit loan account.

3. Key man insurance

An insurance policy taken out by a business to compensate the particular business for financial losses that would arise from the death or extended incapacity of an important member of the business.

[1] Making small business work in South Africa (; Small business in South Africa (


[2] Tax relief favours small business (


[3] “Small business in South Africa” (

(Originally written by Schalk Malan, executive director at BrightRock. The article, as it appeared in Cover, can be read here.)



Zama Dube interviews Schalk Malan on YFM

7 July 2014. YFM.

BrightRock executive director Schalk Malan joined YFM’s Low Down with Zama Dube in the studio for an interesting discussion about inflation.

The interview took place on 7 July 2014, shortly after 19:00. You’ll be able to listen to a podcast of the interview by clicking here.

























Mind the Gap!

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South Africans are critically underinsured for life and disability cover, reveals a new study, and the gap gets wider as incomes get higher. What will it take to narrow the shortfall?

Life, as we all know, is what happens while you’re making other plans. We live our lives best when we learn to embrace change, and we seize every oportunity to start planning anew.

At the same time, good planning means being ready to weather whatever changes life may have in store for us. And this is why it’s such a sound policy to have life insurance, which is the backbone of financial planning and the key to peace of mind for you and your family.

And yet, in South Africa, as a new survey reveals, only a small minority of income earners between the ages of 18 and 65 are adequately covered for life.

According to the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA), the national shortfall in death and disability insurancestands at R24-trillion. That’s 12 zeroes, in case you’re  wondering.

Break it down to an individual level, and it amounts to an average shortfall of R700 000 in life cover, and R1.1-million in disability cover.

And the shortfall is bigger among higherincome earners — those earning more than R150 000 per year — because more life and disability cover is needed to maintain living standards.

According to ASISA, these households, would need to source additional income of R10 000 a month, should one of the income-earners die, and R20 000 a month should one of them become disabled.

The alternative would be to cut household expenditure by 36% in the event of death, or by 46% should the earner become disabled.

The only group of people likely to have sufficient life and disability cover are highincome earners older than 55, thanks partly to their membership of an employer’s pension fund.

Overall, the 2013 Life and Disability Insurance Gap Study, conducted on behalf of ASISA by True South Actuaries & Consultants in partnership with the UNISA Bureau of Market Research, shows that South Africans remain “critically underinsured” by as much as 60 per cent.

The gap has grown by more than R9-trillion since the previous study was conducted in 2010. So what are the options for underinsured income-earners and their households? There are three choices, according to the Asisa press release:

  • Close the gap by buying sufficient life and disability cover;
  • Reduce household expenditure should an earner die or become disabled;
  • Increase the monthly earnings of the household to make up the shortfall.

But BrightRock’s Schalk Malan says there is a fourth option. “Our needs-matched insurance is more efficiently structured to better meet your needs, today and over time. In doing so, we’re able to deliver premium-savings of an average of 30% to our clients, from day one. We’ve seen many policyholders opt to use this saving to buy more cover in areas where they would otherwise be underinsured, helping to close the gaps in their cover.”

“What’s needed now, is more innovation of this kind, which delivers more consumercentric products. As the ASISA gap study so clearly shows, it’s in tough economic times that consumers truly need their life insurance cover – now it’s time our industry change consumers’ life insurance cover to truly meet their needs. That’s what BrightRock has set out to do and we hope the industry
will follow suit.” Make the right plans, by choosing the right cover and you’ll be ready for life… whatever happens.

This article first appeared in The Comet, an online newsletter by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.



Making Waves

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Good at swimming and good at life, Schalk Malan loves helping people to Love Change.

There is something about swimming that is good for the soul. The embrace of the water, our natural state of grace before we awaken to the world, elevates the spirit and makes us feel newly alive.

But to swim for sport, to go for gold in the thrash and splash of an Olympic-size pool…well, that’s something else.

It’s not just skill and strength that counts. It’s often the guy who works the hardest that trumps it. You can’t slow down a swimmer.

That combination of sheer slog and relentless determination has equally driven Schalk in his professional career, where his natural ability to make waves earned him a prestigious Life Risk Excellence Award from Cover Magazine this year.

The accolade was an acknowledgement of Schalk’s pioneering role as the architect of needsmatched life insurance, the pivot of BrightRock’s practical philosophy of Love Change.

With a decade of experience in developing, implementing, marketing and maintaining insurance products, Schalk was acutely aware of a flaw in the system.

“If I buy a product today,” he says, “I know for a fact that it may be able to help me today, but in 10 years’ time, the solution will be null and void. That’s a problem, because you buy life insurance for life.”

The long-term solution: insurance that changes as you change, matching your needs as you evolve from one stage of life to another.

“The one thing we had in common when we started BrightRock,” says Schalk, looking back to the origins of the company in 2011, “is that we wanted change. In our environments, in our lives, in
our careers, in the industry. We wanted to take a bit more control, and do something different.”

With a shift in insurance industry regulations, and a move to online processing, Schalk saw the opportunity in the flaw, and he jumped right in to seize it.

He may be an actuary, schooled in the cold science of human statistics, but he likes to leap off the spreadsheet every now and again.

“I love trying new things,” says Schalk. “I love people, I love my sport, I love calculating and quantifying risk, and I love following through on a course of action that I know can change people’s lives for the better.”

And with the instinct and reflexes of a medal-winning swimmer to drive him, he’s not thinking of slowing down.

This article first appeared in The Comet, an online newsletter by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.



We’re Loving Change!

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To celebrate our second birthday, we’ve produced a storybook on the challenges, opportunities, and joys of change.

When you’re a child, days can sometimes seem like years. The hours drag by with unbearable, tick-rocking slowness, especially when you’re waiting for a Special Day to arrive. Then you count off the passage of time in sleeps, until…hooray!


When you’re an adult, on the other hand, years can sometimes seem like days. They rush by at whirlwind speed, as your distant plans gather momentum, and the future, out of nowhere, collides with the now.


That’s how we’re feeling at BrightRock at the moment, as we take a brief breather to reflect on our first two years in the fast-changing world of life insurance.


And that’s why, as part of our two-year celebrations, we produced a storybook that sets out to evoke the wonders of childhood…that starry-eyed time of life when anything seems possible. But why should children have all the fun? Our “Love Change” storybook features whimsical illustrations by Adri Le Roux, and it tells our story from the very early days – all the way back to 2011 – to where we stand today.

On the edge of more change, at the turn of another chapter in life. This isn’t a history…it’s the story of a beginning!


For anyone who works in the South African life insurance industry, one of the top independent barometers of success is an Excellence Award from Cover Magazine.

The annual awards by the industry journal recognise individuals whose “extraordinary effort and dedication” have helped improve the effectiveness and reputation of the industry, while enhancing the financial security of consumers.

And that’s why we’re delighted to announce that our very own Cover star, Schalk Malan, took the top prize in the category “Life – Current” at this year’s glitzy gala ceremony at Sun City.

Schalk, BrightRock’s Executive Director: Actuarial, is the architect-in-chief of BrightRock’s needs-matched life insurance offering, introduced to the South African market last year.

To Schalk, we say well done, mooi skoot, and mazeltov, as we celebrate this exciting acknowledgement by an independent third party of the power and impact of BrightRock’s needs-matched approach.


This article first appeared in The Comet, an online newsletter by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.