The issue of freight hijackings is not only a concern for the insurance industry but a challenge that has also incited a loss for large businesses as well as the SME sector in South Africa.This has subsequently contributed to a R3 billion loss to the country’s economy, according to Wayne Rautenbach, General Manager for Regent Commercial Vehicles. Speaking at the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) Insurance Forum, in Illovo recently, Rautenbach said that more than 1 279 vehicles, transporting goods across South Africa, were hijacked during the 2015 period alone. 804 of these incidents took place in Gauteng. Hence, a response from an insurer within the first 60 minutes is critical. A combination of monitoring bureaus, quality driver training and advanced technology are critical to effective risk mitigation for hijacking. “South Africa’s insurance industry has the most effective technology in place to mitigate the risk of hijacking as far as technology and access to data is concerned. However, constant innovation, advanced global telematics solutions and partnerships between fleet owners, truck drivers and monitoring bureaus are fundamental aspects in transforming existing risk mitigation tools pertaining to vehicle and freight hijackings,” Rautenbach explained.
“The impact that truck hijackings have on insurance, fleet owners and drivers is an on-going battle which we as an industry, must win. More so, the current state of the global and local economy demands that we proactively identify and mitigate risks that affect our future success and the sustainability of the industry. Having said that, South Africa’s insurance industry should find comfort in knowing that it is at the top of its game and competes with the best worldwide. As a result, our primary purpose as an industry is to devise intelligence to mitigate client risks and protect their assets.”Fast moving consumer goods are typically the attraction of most hijackings. Items like cooking oil, alcohol, canned goods and fuel are quickly resold and easily disposed of. Furthermore, an escalation in hijackings was experienced leading up to and over the Christmas period due to the volume of goods being transported over this period. Unfortunately, it is difficult to track, trace and recover these items and more often than not, insurance companies only recover the truck and not the goods. Rautenbach added that the insurance industry has to ensure that its processes and procedures facilitate the repair and replacement of client assets as quickly and efficiently as possible, so that clients incur minimal downtime and loss of income. This is only possible through partnerships that are mutually rewarding and built on a foundation of proactive risk management.