JLT South Africa : Placing Clients First

Editorial TeamGuest Author
Editorial Team Guest Author

Guided by its mission to place clients first and focus on results-based services in industry and specialist risk sectors, the aptitude of Jardine Lloyd Thompson South Africa (JLT South Africa) for continuous improvement has driven the Company to new levels of growth.


Part of the JLT Group of Companies with roots traceable to the 19th Century, the start-up greenfield operation has benefitted from hand-picking professionals from the industry to deliver depth of expertise and experience across an array of highly specialised services since its establishment in South Africa in 2011.

As a strong global market performer, JLT’s distinct culture and style of service – driven by its people, passion for innovation, and adaptability – has facilitated an unrivalled position of knowledge sharing and problem solving in order to deliver the best solutions on a South African level. Winning appointments to several large South African domiciled multinational accounts in these short five years of existence, the Company now employs 140 staff members across three offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

“At JLT, we believe in going beyond the routine and the obvious for our clients,” confirms Danny Buitendag, Executive Director of JLT South Africa Insurance Broking. “We pride ourselves on our position as trusted advisors that our clients can count on to put their interests first. This is intrinsic to our business and is why at JLT South Africa, we work as a team with involvement from all levels of staff, including the CEO and other Executive Directors, to provide our clients with the ‘latest and greatest’ portfolio of services.”

Proudly celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, JLT SA is reaping the benefits of a series of earlier acquisitions, each of which have been refined and improved in line with the latest industry trends.


Writer: Danny Buitendag, Executive Director of JLT SA IB

Collaborating together with our Group hubs in the UK and other international offices, our technical approach to insurance broking fits ‘hand-in-glove’ with our vision and mission, our selection of staff, as well as our strategy here in South Africa.

A misconception among many is that the insurance broker is there to sell the customer insurance; but the placing of insurance is just a part of a client’s overall risk management strategy. At JLT, we base any risk transfer/insurance solution proposed to our clients on a sound understanding of their requirements, risk management philosophy, risk appetite, future plans and current financials and this allows us to tailor our advice and source risk transfer/insurance solutions that best matches their business needs.

The best test of a good insurance broker is in getting large and/or complex claims settled. JLT SA has proven their capability in this arena over the past five years, including the effective and efficient handling and settlement of an R1.8 billion underground fire claim earlier this year where we have already obtained substantial interim payments for our client.


In respect of our global clients, who often operate in as many as 25 different countries, it is imperative that we ensure that not only does the client have the required and uniform insurance covers and structures in place in each country, but also that they are compliant with both international and local country legislation and regulations.

To ensure our clients remain compliant with these regulations we have online access to a portal which, globally, gives us full detail of each country’s insurance legislation and regulations, detail of the insurance regulator and its ‘modus-operandi’, which insurance covers are compulsory in that country, as well as local insurance market conditions and details of local insurers and reinsurers. Secondly, JLT consults with its office network and network partners when dealing with our clients’ requirements in that particular country; and thirdly, we can leverage its wealth of experience on local country regulations and conditions.

As a professional insurance broker, our main investment is in people and as we grow, we are continually focusing on the growth and development of our existing staff and the recruitment of skilled and respected people. In order to keep our product range competitive, our specialists regularly attend conferences and take part in the sharing of information to ensure that our clients all benefit by having insurance programmes, wordings and structures which are of a global standard and which are benchmarked against their global peers. To further support and entrench this process we conduct regular peer reviews done by colleagues on our clients’ accounts who audit the covers and structures thus making sure we have provided a world-class product to the client.


Writer: Jerome Fanning, Senior Account Executive

Housed under the JLT Credit, Political & Security Risks (CPS) division is a specialist team of brokers, risk specialists and consultants who form a truly global, market-leading practice, with hubs of expertise in more than 10 global financial centres; including South Africa. Known as ‘CPS International’, we provide a complete suite of risk services ranging from the identification of political, counterparty and security risk, to the broking of tailored insurance solutions to the international insurance markets and consultancy and negotiation on claims. Acknowledged as industry pioneers, we hold some of the largest banking and commodity trading accounts in the market. We pride ourselves on working for corporate leaders in a diverse range of sectors including oil & gas, mining, power, telecommunications and transport; and we have particular experience in dealing with public sector export credit agencies and multilateral development banks.

Measured response

The deterioration in trade due to suppressed commodity prices has led to significantly reduced foreign currency levels in key African economies; including Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Egypt. Consequently, Africa’s foreign exchange crisis remains a prominent issue for global markets in 2016, limiting the ability for businesses to import goods and for foreign entities to transfer profits. Therefore, businesses operating in the region should take steps to mitigate the threat of currency inconvertibility, non-payment and other credit and political risks.

There has been a measured response from the market with credit and political risk insurance still being readily available for these countries. It is however becoming increasingly difficult to obtain cover for the currency inconvertibility risk without first being able to demonstrate robust processes for the movement of hard currency out of the risk country.

Market shift

The CPS market is united in its belief that the global geopolitical and macroeconomic backdrop could hardly be more challenging. The scope of future events to take an unforeseen turn is such that the significance of building a shared understanding between broker, client and underwriter has rarely been more relevant. A common thread relative to many of the CPS claims we have seen in recent months is that the causation is often left-field. We have long advocated the benefits of prior discussion of conceivable permutations in affording all parties a unique perspective of contractual and operating structures, which can enhance the ability to anticipate and, on occasions, prevent, respond to or recover from what could otherwise be unexpected. We are now seeing the benefits of adopting this approach across all CPS client interactions.

We believe this to be an integral role of the broker; however, the march towards commoditisation across so much of the industry threatens this good practice. JLT has responded to this trend by continuing to build-out its specialist broking teams in the different financial hubs around the world including South Africa and investing in our CPS Analytics & Consulting team. The team’s capability is designed specifically to match both the wider environment and enhance clients’ and insurers’ ability to anticipate, prevent, respond or recover relative to the risk insured and losses which may follow.


Writer: Tyrone Farinha, Deputy CEO

Formed in early 2012 as as the result of the Eluleka Consulting acquisition – a longstanding and well recognised Healthcare and Retirement Fund Consulting business – JLT Employee Benefits South Africa (JLT EB) provides advice and services to medium and large corporate concerns, comprising medical schemes, health insurance, wellness, retirement funding, group life insurance, group disability insurance, actuarial services and any other product or service that falls within the ambit of employee benefits.

We are fiercely independent and do not manufacture or offer any products of our own. We are not an investment house, an administrator or an insurer. We do, however, work closely with all of these product providers in our market in order to ensure that we are able to provide the best advice and services – broking and otherwise – to our clients. We work hard to deliver the best value offering and service structure to our clients’ employees.

New business growth

The growth curve of our EB business has been remarkably steep in recent years and this success is attributable to two key factors. Firstly, our client retention is the best in our market and we spend an inordinate amount of time establishing strong and deep relationships with our clients. Secondly, we see the marketing and distribution function as a critical facet of our business and although we employ the services of only the very best business development individuals and pride ourselves on continued professional development for these individuals, we believe that the marketing and distribution function resides with every single employee within our business. What this means is that we endeavour to instil a broad business understanding among all our staff while at the same time providing these colleagues with a sense of pride and belonging.      

This approach to business will always stand us in good stead. If you keep your existing clients happy and continue to compete hard for new business, growth will follow. In addition, it is important that we also scope our market for effective capital growth opportunities. Technology will continue to infiltrate most facets of financial services and we need to stay on our toes in that regard.

Growth is key to our business strategy and it will continue to carry significant weight in all our business considerations. It is worth mentioning, of course, that it is our paramount perspective that this growth takes place while paying the utmost attention to, and caring for, the very high expectations we set for ourselves in terms of corporate governance, staff commitment and client satisfaction.   


Writer: Andrew Chislett, CEO of JLT SA

The real driver of JLT SA’s growth and success over the past five years has been our people. A key strategic focus, shared across all companies within the JLT Group, has been investing in the efficiency and effectiveness of how we service our clients and we pride ourselves on always putting our clients first. We’re able to deliver on this due to the expertise, experience and attitude of our employees, and we retain them by providing a distinctive, entrepreneurial and results-based work environment.

Reflecting our continuous focus on growing in specialist areas and making key acquisitions that not only increase the scale of our South African operations, but also improve our own offering, JLT acquired Eikos Risk Applications (ERA) in October, 2015. A leader in the marine cargo and transportation insurance broking sector, this recent acquisition boosted JLT SA’s presence in Durban and has accelerated our growth this year and has deepened our specialist capabilities. Being a sound business fit, not only geographically, but also culturally, the acquisition has slotted seamlessly into our client-first ethos.

Adding to this, we celebrated a big milestone for JLT SA this year, our fifth anniversary, and were joined by the JLT Group CEO, Dominic Burke, along with a number of our clients, providers and business partners. This celebration was key for us as a business as it reaffirmed not only our presence and continuing growth in the South African market, but also our global presence and international access to specialty teams across the JLT Group network.

Our strategy for 2017 and beyond is centred on our desire to deepen and broaden our specialty capabilities as well as attracting and retaining the best practitioners in the market; thereby ensuring the sustainable growth of our business. While we remain acquisitive, our growth plans are not dependent on this. In the long-term, we seek to continue to increase market share in our specialist focus areas and the expectation of all our stakeholders is that we continue to differentiate ourselves by being known for fierce client advocacy.

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Our guest authors are industry professionals, each sharing their insights and stories about the fields they have specialised in across Africa.