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On the back of the global pandemic e-commerce has grown exponentially, in turn driving the demand for courier services. By offering customers comprehensive insurance cover for their goods in transit, courier companies can gain preference over competitors – and load a new revenue stream to their business.

Ecommerce is thriving – but are you doing the driving?

In 2019 South Africa’s e-commerce industry was still small, accounting for just 1.4% of retail spending and 8% of card payments in the retail space. In 2020, with some help from a little fellow called Covid-19, e-commerce spending grew by 30%, while physical spending) decreased by 12%.

Thanks to lockdowns and social distancing, shifting consumer expectations pushed the pace of digitalisation in the retail sector into overdrive. By the end of 2020, S.A. was seeing 50% – 70% growth in e-commerce, with an increased uptake in online retailing and click-and-collect. Online spending had doubled in just one year.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) home deliveries is now the fastest growing segment of the express logistics business, according to (SAEPA) CEO Garry Marshall and, while the Covid-driven frenzy for home deliveries has stabilised somewhat in 2022, consumers are creatures of habit. Once they have adapted to online shopping and home deliveries for everything from groceries to tech and medicine, they are unlikely to revert to less convenient in-person shopping and the demand for courier services is only likely to increase.

The rest of the story is simply about getting (things) from A to B – but who will be doing the getting? South Africa is a hazardous environment for road users – and tomorrow’s national courier of choice is going to be the one that offers its customers the most robust level of protection for goods in transit.

The insurance status quo between shippers and carriers

Ecommerce platforms, retailers and big companies shipping goods are sometimes surprised by the limited level of protection afforded to the goods they send. As a standard practice in the transport industry, shipments are usually covered up to the carrier’s Limitation of Liability in the event of damage or loss – and the Limitation is usually much less than the value of the shipper’s goods. Many companies that contract carriers are under the misconception that carrier liability is much the same thing as insurance. It’s not – here’s why

Courier services do spell out what to expect, in their terms and conditions. Summarising applicable T&Cs from three leading courier companies: 

  • The shipper acknowledges that (Courier X) provides the service solely at the shipper’s risk; neither (Courier X) nor its personnel shall be liable for any loss, save where such loss is due to the gross negligence of (Courier X); the shipper has an option to take out and maintain its own insurance in respect of the transport of its parcels.
  • (Courier Y) is liable to the shipper only in respect of damage to, destruction or loss of the goods up to a total maximum of X per parcel … As the liability of (Courier Y) is limited as provided in these conditions, the shipper is advised to seek its own additional insurance cover.
  • Unless resulting from (Courier Z’s) gross negligence or wilful misconduct, (Courier Z) has no liability to the shipper for losses, liabilities, damages or expenses suffered by the shipper.

Natural disasters, hijackings, road hazards – the list of in-transit risks aside from “gross negligence or wilful misconduct” is long. As a result, many companies that ship goods will take out extra goods-in-transit/shipping cover, either in the form of”declared value” insurance from the carrier, if it’s available, or from one of the many third party independent insurers that offer insurance at a much lower rate than the carriers. 

Online retailers with high-value or high-volume shipments stand to be most out of pocket  when it comes to filing insurance claims directly through the carriers, making third party insurance more ideal for them. Third party insurers often insure to a greater value and offer much lower rates than the carriers’ insurance, by maintaining a cost-effective digital business model (read more about how digitalisation slashes the costs of insurance).

Our proposition:  what if the carriers could offer their customers comprehensive shipping insurance at a similar pricing level to the independent insurers, by implementing the same digital model of insurance? This would empower them to retain and attract customers through a more customer-centric service, while accruing a new revenue stream from insurance policies, including:

  • LTL carrier insurance – in which multiple shipments are transported together on the same vehicle to different destinations (ideal for e-retailers).
  • Truckload insurance – covers a full truckload of product in its journey from supplier to customer. 
  • Air/ocean freight insurance.
  • “Full value” insurance for individuals sending high-value goods.

The digital democratisation of insurance

Click2Sure, 2022 fintech winner in the AfricaTech Awards at VIVAtech (Paris), has transformed insurance from being a costly, paper-based, manpower-heavy undertaking into being cloud-hosted, all-digital and largely automated. This enables almost any kind of company to launch insurance as a viable white label offering, with the support of a licensed underwriter. In this way, a carrier can implement insurance that is modelled the same way as the digital-first independent insurers. 

There are virtually no distribution costs involved, nor a need to hire additional staff to manage policies and administration. In partnering with us to launch shipping insurance, a carrier would pay only for implementation of Click2Sure’s insurance software, then an ongoing monthly subscription for its usage.

Distribution of the insurance products would be embedded, and omnichannel in nature, meaning it can be communicated to customers via the carrier’s website, mobisite, broker interface, WhatsApp, SMS and more. Customers would take out policies in a few digital clicks, then self-manage their policies, submit claims etc. via a dedicated Client Portal.

In making insurance ultra-lean in terms of distribution and management costs, Click2Sure is empowering carriers of all sizes to offer affordable premiums on comprehensive shipping insurance – thereby building customer loyalty, attracting lucrative new contracts, and benefiting from a new revenue stream that briskly delivers ROI.

A courier company can handle parcels – but insurance administration?

Our quest, in launching Click2Sure, was to digitise the entire traditional insurance value chain, removing as much paperwork and complexity as technology would allow, from distribution through to claims settlements. We also sought to automate back-end functionality wherever possible. The companies who launch digital insurance with us quickly master the management of all aspects of their insurance products, via one secure digital portal:

  • Policy adjustments
  • Claims management access
  • Visible timestamp of all events
  • Financial management (reportable via Bordereau)

Automated functionalities include:

  • Claims approval mechanisms
  • AI fraud detection mechanisms
  • Claims status and updates tracked in real time
  • Flagging of potentially fraudulent claims
  • Policy alerts and payment reminders for customers

Read more about how our insurance software revolutionises administration into something any non-insurer can handle. Remember that your partnering underwriter would be responsible for ensuring that your insurance products meet all legal obligations, like compliance – and we’d be on hand in the unlikely event you hit a “stuck” with the insurance software.

For carriers ready to add insurance to their inventory, what are next steps?

  • The Click2Sure team would meet with you to assess your business systems and the software implementation requirements.
  • We can assist in helping you arrange a partnership with a licensed underwriter, who will help you define a practical and viable insurance product and ensure that all legal requirements are addressed.
  • Click2Sure would do the work of layering the insurance software into your business systems – without disrupting your systems’ security or your business continuity.
  • The software modification, testing and go-live would proceed in accordance with an agreed timeline: we aim for a minimum viable product (MVP) within 30 days.
  • Click2Sure would provide training with the insurance software, help your staff to understand incoming customer data and provide ongoing technical support.

Summing up the benefits of comprehensive shipping insurance for carriers:

  • Attract business contracts from the booming e-commerce sector.
  • Grant customers peace of mind and a 100% positive customer experience.
  • No negative comebacks from customers who weren’t clear on terms and conditions,
    or expected more cover under carrier liability or declared value insurance.
  • Low upfront investment to launch a revenue stream that would otherwise go to third-party insurers.

Get in touch to transform your company into South Africa’s carrier of choice, by innovating with the fintech award winner. Call us on 0027 (10) 045 4019 or e-mail hello@click2sure.co.za. We’re ready to revolutionise the courier industry with you!