By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
A new iniative aimed at supporting South Africa’s vulnerable students has been widely welcomed.
The new insurance product launched to SA’s 800,000 registered students aims to specifically tackle the everyday vulnerabilities that can halt a learner’s studies in their tracks.
Given the typical risks and exposure to crime that is associated with life on campus and within shared student accomodation, the affordable cover (unmatched at R99 per month) seeks to fill a gap left by other insurers in covering critical items such as cell phones, laptops, and assisting with covering student fees lost that cannot be covered in the event of death of a sponsor, bursar or parent.
Currently a great number of students are on the government financial aid scheme, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS) and have limited recourse in case of theft of their communication devices, placing their studies at risk at an all-important time in their lives.
In conducted national focus groups, these were regarded as the most valuable and vital goods for successful learning. In addition to this, a distinct need for value added products such as medical, legal, tenant and personal liability was identified by the student tenants, as well as the landlords that accommodate them.
While the policy is specifically aimed at the uninsured or underinsured student market, accommodated in on- or off-campus, shared or private accommodation, the product also can also cover the university or academic institution, and the landlord, while a sponsor receives cover should the student die or be permanently
injured – vital if the student has a student loan.
Landlords can for the first time mitigate their risk without affecting their no-claim bonus or claims ratios. They can add value to their accommodation by offering the insurance as an addition to the lease agreement.
Caj van Zyl Chairman at Firststay Insurance Brokers says: “Our aim with 4sho was to create an insurance policy that was priced below R100 per month and that covered the basic perils and needs associated with the student accommodation market. Typically this market is price sensitive and relevant insurance product options are non-existent. Value for money is at the top of the priority list. With the rapidly growing student accommodation market and its associated risks, the need for a product such as 4sho has become more important than ever.”
He adds: “Landlords also require a product to mitigate the risks associated with housing students. We have always been concerned in having to potentially deal with medical emergencies or trauma suffered by our tenants on our properties. They can now offer tenants a 24hour call centre that will deal with any medical emergency over the phone and if deemed necessary the operator will dispatch emergency medical services. Should we have a robbery on the property a tenant’s most valuable belongings are insured. Should they have a problem tenant that has caused serious damage to our property, landlords are covered up to R100,000 under the tenant liability clause. This is all highly relevant in this country.”
The 4sho policy is available for purchase online at www.firststay.co.za or through leading student accommodation rental and management agencies nationally. The call centre can be contacted for any advice or queries 0860 103 103.