About 1st for Women
In 2002, research revealed that women were taking over many of the decision-making responsibilities in their own and their families’ lives, and one such responsibility was insurance. It was found that an increasing number of women were taking out their own insurance policies, but at the time there were no products designed to meet their unique needs.
Research also revealed that statistically, women are lower insurance risks; the average cost to repair a vehicle damaged by a woman is lower than if a man damages the vehicle.
1st for Women was born from looking at how the insurance industry was still largely pitched for men, by men. We wanted to create an insurance product that met women on their own terms and gave them lower insurance premiums because they were a better risk.
In 2003, 1st for Women Insurance Brokers was born, underwritten by Auto & General, and in July 2012, 1st for Women became a fully licensed insurance company.
Rather than offering a generic insurance product, we created a tailor-made, holistic lifestyle support solution that meets women at all the major moments in their lives. Our initial product offering included Comprehensive Car and Home Insurance with a number of benefits specifically designed for women, taking their physical, mental and emotional wellness into account. These were aimed to help them make life work in a way that’s best for them, such as:
- Expo-sure, which provides confidential HIV support after accidental exposure.
- Trauma counselling.
- Roadside, Medical and Household Assistance.
- Handbag cover automatically included with Home Contents Insurance.
Soon after we launched with these products, we understood that we could provide women with more holistic value by offering them personal loans, life insurance, and personal insurance products like Designated Driver assist and Legal cover.
We also looked at how we could help our country’s women entrepreneurs. We launched a business insurance product that is made specifically for SMEs. We cover 24 different types of businesses, grouped into four categories: business, office, practice, and professional. Each one has been precisely tailored to give women business owners exactly what they need, and none of what they don’t.
Providing excellent service that strengthens our relationship with our clients is deeply important to us, which is why we have implemented the following:
- Our sales consultants are trained to give as much information as our customers need so that they can make informed decisions.
- When taking out vehicle insurance, we require our customers to have their cars inspected. This is an important step for them too, because it is the first time they ‘meet’ the brand. In this way, we have made sure our inspection centres have personal touches that make our customers feel comfortable.
1st for Women did not want to only enrich the lives of women in the insurance industry, though. In 2005, the 1st for Women Foundation was established to uplift and empower South African women. Since then, the Foundation has donated over R40 million to several charities that focus on two causes: gender-based violence and cervical cancer. Thanks to our wonderful customers who donate a portion of their monthly insurance premiums to the Foundation, we continue to make a remarkable difference to the lives of women affected by these important issues.
We aim to be the insurance company of choice for all South African women by giving them a valuable, relevant insurance offering that allows them to live at their best day to day.