11 Dec SwissFin Newsletter December 2013
It is this time of the year again – Christmas and the summer holidays are just around the corner. Our team wishes you a great time with your family, friends and all the best for 2014. Make sure you travel safely on our busy roads during the festive season.
This is the last newsletter for 2013 and we trust you find the information we want to share with you useful.
As usual, this newsletter can be viewed under https://www.swissfin.co.za/newsletters/swissfin-newsletter-december-2013.
Enjoy the reading, with best regards,
Your SwissFin – Team
- Interest rates: Bank deposits, insurance plans, tax-free investment amounts and our offshore model portfolios
2. SWISS BANKING
- SAMI AG to visit SA in March 2014
- Swiss offshore online trading – now available in SA
- Former UBS executive arrested in Italy
4. SHORT-TERM INSURANCE
- Jamming device claims are increasing
- MUA enters strategic alliance with Telesure Investment Holdings
- Desperate times see insurance fraud rise
- BnB Sure changes liability section on policy
- Notify claims and damages within 30 days
- Conversion of foreign licences
- Building guidelines for sectional title complexes
- Power surge damage on commercial policies – what is covered?
- Is your electric fence compliant?
5. HEALTH CARE COVER
8. SWISSFIN INTERNAL MATTERS
- We have a SwissFin baby
- Job offer at SwissFin
- Our office hours over the festive season
- We value your comments
SwissFin offers the following rates as of November 2013:
Bank Deposits ››
- Money Market
- 12 Months
Please contact our office for more information. Conditions apply.
Insurance Plans: “Guaranteed growth plans” (5 year term) ››
- Gross Yield
- Taxes Payable
Tax-free interest income – maximum investment amounts ››
R 1’818’000 each for taxpayer under the age of 65
R 2’782’000 each for taxpayer between the age of 65 and 75
R 3’032’000 each for taxpayer over the age of 75
Underlying assumptions: 5.0% effective interest. Couples married in community of property can double these amounts.
SwissFin offshore model portfolios ››
The annualized performance (before costs) of our balanced portfolios is as follows:
- GBP STERLING
- 1 Year
- 6.27% p.a.
- 6.49% p.a.
- 8.28% p.a.
- 10.26% p.a.
- 3 Years
- 3.28% p.a.
- 5.06% p.a.
- 6.35% p.a.
- 6.21% p.a.
- 8 Years
- 3.17% p.a.
- 4.78% p.a.
- 7.6% p.a.
- 5.98% p.a.
2. SWISS BANKING
SAMI AG to visit SA in March 2014 ››
Mr. Rudolf Wiser from SAMI AG in Zug/Switzerland will be visiting clients and prospects from 5 to 18 March 2014. Mr. Wiser will be accompanied by Mr. Mark van Deelen, the chartered financial analyst of SAMI AG. It is worthwhile noting that the investment performance of the independent asset management firm has been above average over the last few years.
Swiss offshore online trading – now available in SA ››
Offshore investing has gained popularity since SA exchange controls have relaxed.
Many investors decide to rely on the expertise of investment specialists, whether it is an international or local private bank or asset manager, offering advice on offshore investments. However, there is a new breed of investors interested in international markets who believe they are better off following their own investment ideas.
Switzerland is home to some of the most advanced online trading platforms, combining investment and trading capabilities with the peace of mind of a Swiss partner. Of late, these services are also available to South African investors with local support.
If you feel you are paying too much for offshore banking, would like to diversify your wealth, want to play a more active role in taking investment decisions and want to trade and invest globally, then click here and you will be contacted by the product provider.
Former UBS executive arrested in Italy ››
A former UBS executive wanted by the US government for assisting Americans to evade tax has been arrested by the Italian police.
Raoul Weil had been on the run since January 2009, when he was first labeled a fugitive by the US federal government, having failed to attend a Florida federal court where he was due to face charges of conspiring to help 20,000 Americans hide USD 20 Bio. in assets from the IRS during 2002 to 2007.
Weil has always denied engaging in any illegal conduct in the operation of UBS’s US-cross-border business. Mr Weil is a highly-respected banking executive in Switzerland.
If extradited to the US and convicted of the tax-evasion charges, Weil could spend up to five years in prison and face USD 250’000 in fines.
In October it was reported that Bank Frey had become the second Swiss bank to close in the wake of efforts by the US government to crack down on tax evasion by its citizens.
The first to close was Wegelin & Co., formerly Switzerland’s oldest private bank, which closed its doors in January after paying a USD 74 Mio. fine to the US.
SA Government cancels treaties with foreign partners ››
South Africa’s credit risk has increased as it cancelled treaties with trading partners, amongst them Switzerland and Germany. As a result, the cost for borrowing debt immediately increased over 0.2% for the SA Government.
The treaties are an investment protection for foreign investors. They were concluded in 1994 with mostly European countries. The SA government is of the opinion that they have sufficient institutional strength of its courts and legal processes, making the continuance of the treaties unnecessary. The SA government wants to replace the treaties with a single law which still has to be ratified by Parliament.
With the ongoing labour unrests, the timing of such change is not ideal and is denting foreign investor confidence. Foreign investors immediately sold approx. R 3 Bio of bonds and shares in the first two days of the announcement, the biggest outflow since July 29 this year.
4. SHORT-TERM INSURANCE
Jamming device claims are increasing ››
We reported earlier this year about these new tactics of thieves: They monitor people in parking lots. When the car owner wants to lock the car with his remote, the thieves simultaneously press theirs which operates on the same frequency and prevents the car from being locked. The unsuspecting car owner does not notice the car has not locked, walks away and the thieves steal items out of the vehicle.
Most insurance companies require forcible or violent entry into the car for a claim to be considered. Some insurance policies also state that it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure the car is locked. Please also note that you also need to have taken out the “general or specified all risks” section on your policy to enjoy cover for the items stolen out of your car.
With the holiday season and packed vehicles ahead, the car jammers are out in full force too. Please always make sure that your vehicle is locked before walking away. You do not want to spoil your holiday with an incident like this!
MUA enters strategic alliance with Telesure Investment Holdings ››
Telesure is one of the largest insurance groups in South Africa and is widely admired for never having made an underwriting loss in its history. The group owns and operates several of South Africa’s leading insurance brands, including Auto & General, First for Women as well as 1Life, among others.
The MUA and Telesure partnership will allow the MUA brand to grow and offer a better service to its clients by leveraging from the Telesure group.
The partnership, however, will not result in any operational changes at MUA – it will still be business as usual. The proposed date for the change is the 1st April 2014.
Desperate times see insurance fraud rise ››
According to a recent report from the Association for Savings and Investments (ASISA), the life insurance industry uncovered R 670 Mio. in fraudulent claims. 70% of these claims were driven by desperate circumstances, like job loss, debt etc. This figure is 10% higher than the previous year’s one.
The country’s largest short-term insurer, Santam, published estimates that approx. R 4 Bio. were lost to the short-term industry last year alone. Many policyholders commit fraud to “get back” at the insurance company, because they do not feel respected and treated fairly by the insurer. A concerning trend is the growth of commercial crime. Companies have contributed R 7.3 Mio at Santam alone by submitting fraudulent claims in order to better their cashflow.
On the health insurance side, Discovery Health uncovered R 250 Mio last year in fraudulent claims. The entire health insurance industry is estimated to lose Billions every year.
The more of these fraudulent activities can be uncovered, the fewer premiums everybody is going to pay, be it for short-term, life or health insurance policies.
BnB Sure changes liability section on policy ››
Currently the liability section is not placed through Zurich but through Lloyds. Zurich now has a division which has the expertise to accommodate this section and therefore the entire policy wording is now insured by Zurich.
There will be no change to the premium, excess or cover and only the insurer is changing on that specific section of the policy.
Clients have a choice to accept the new insurer or not and must please advise us if they are not in agreement with the change by the end of this month.
Notify claims and damages within 30 days ››
Please make sure that you inform our office no later than 30 days after a claim has occurred. Even if you do not think at the time that it is a claim or a 3rd party assures you that their insurance will cover your damages, we suggest that you still notify us.
Insurance companies can repudiate a claim that is not reported within the 30 day period.
Conversion of foreign licences ››
We get regular enquiries from foreigners that have obtained permanent residence not knowing if they can continue using their foreign licence in South Africa.
There had been a recent amendment in May this year to the Regulation 110 (3) of the National Road Traffic Act:
(3) When the holder of a licence referred to in section 23 (1)(a) (a licence authorising the driver of a motor vehicle and which was issued in any other country) of the Act or the holder of an international driving permit referred to in section 23 (1)(b) (an international driving permit which was issued while the holder thereof was not permanently or ordinarily resident in the Republic) of the Act—
(a) returns to the Republic to resume permanent residence, such licence or permit shall no longer be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act (Fitness of Drivers), if it becomes invalid in the country or territory of issue; or
(b) obtains permission in terms of any law for permanent residence in the Republic, such licence or permit shall no longer be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act (Fitness of Drivers), if it becomes invalid in the country or territory of issue.
Provided that the period of validity of such driving licence shall not exceed a period of five years from the date when such person is granted permanent residence status in the Republic.
From May 2013, the period has been extended from 3 to 5 years.
Please do not hesitate to contact SwissFin should you require any further information.
Building guidelines for sectional title complexes ››
CIA Insurance has published a guide for owners of sectional titles last April.
Click here to download the document.
Power surge damage on commercial policies – what is covered? ››
The second unit at Koeberg power station was recently under maintenance and its absence has put a lot of pressure on the power grid. Load shedding is always a possibility and with it comes the permanent threat of power surge. The cause for the spike in power is the reconnection of power supply. Other causes of power surge can be due to lightening or fire, and every insurer deals with the damage in a different way. All insurance companies cover power surge due to lightening/fire, but apply the below when Eskom is the cause:
- BnB Sure
- Sections of policy covered
- Electronic Equipment only
- Buildings, electronics, fire, office contents
- Buildings, Fire, Office Contents
- Buildings, contents, fire, electronics
- Property owners Sectional title
- Buildings Contents
- Depends on item (min. 10%)
- 10%, min. R 500
- 10%, min. R 1000
- 10%, min. R 2000
- R 1000
- Per item sum insured
- R 50’000
- R 25’000
- R 10’000
- R 10’000
- R 22’500 per section
- Additional excess if power surge protector is not SABS approved
- Power surge protection required
- As per policy wording
- Free cover, but must be requested
- More cover can be purchased
- – No power surge protectors required – More cover can be purchased
Please note that the table above relates to commercial policies only.
Is your electric fence compliant? ››
If you have not used a certified electric fence installer, you could end up having a claim not paid or being sued for damages by insured bypassers.
The Electric Machinery Regulations of 2011 stipulate that only a certified installer is allowed to build the fence and has to provide you with a certificate. The installer has to be registered with the Department of Labour and had to pass an exam by 1 October 2013.
When you sell your property, you also need to provide a certificate that the electric fence is compliant to the conveyancer, otherwise transfer cannot take place.
Currently there are only 300 accredited installers countrywide, showing that there are many unlicensed companies out there. Please make sure you pick a certified one.
5. HEALTH CARE COVER
Discovery Health changes for 2014 ››
- Discovery has launched the Corporate Wellness Academy. The objective is to train corporate brokers and HR specialist in the principles of wellness. Companies are then assisted in developing customized wellness strategies for their staff.
- Co-payments and deductibles have been increased in line with inflation.
- The chronic illness list has also been updated and changes will take effect from July 2014.
- Quantas Airlines has been added as a new partner on Vitality.
Please also have a look at the Discovery App which you can download from the App store or Google Play.
You should have received your plan details via e-mail or post by now. If not, please call Discovery on 0860998877 or go to www.discoveryhealth.co.za.
Bupa premiums as from October 2013 ››
The health insurer has published the latest rates, which are valid until April 2014. Below are the rate tables for the different currencies.
Status quo on permanent residence applications ››
There has been increased activity in the permanent residence section of the Department of Home Affairs. Currently it is more about finding lost applications and we have been inundated sending copies of applications to Pretoria.
The Minister of the Department has undertaken to process permanent residence permits within eight months. 20 full time staff members have been employed to focus solely on pending applications. This team underwent training and has assumed their duties from 1 November 2013.
The PR currently stands at 23945 and dates back to 2009. At the moment, the focus is on 2009/2010 applications, followed by 2011 applications and concluding with 2012/2013 applications.
In addition to this, the focus is on the various categories that are of national economic importance like work, quota skills, extra-ordinary skills and business permits. In this connection, the departmental website will be updated with contact details of the project manager and how clients can get in touch with the project office.
Price gap between new and existing home sets a new record ››
According to the latest Absa Home Loans quarterly survey, the price gap between a new home and an existing home has risen to 37.1%.
One of the main reasons for the growing gap is the rising building costs. The costs of material, electricity and labour have risen sharply. It also shows a slow market where buyers of existing homes are currently in a strong bargaining position. Unfortunately, the gap makes it very difficult for developers to offer houses at reasonable prices.
The report further states that the gap is not likely to change in the short-term.
8. SWISSFIN INTERNAL MATTERS
We have a SwissFin baby ››
Mrs Aileen Schippers and her husband Jacques have become the proud parents of their daughter, Sophie Maria Schippers.
We wish them luck and all the best on their journey as a happy family. Aileen will be back at our office in April 2014.
Job offer at SwissFin ››
If you know of anybody that would enjoy being trained and make a career in the short-term industry, please let us know. Previous experience is of advantage but not a requirement.
A German speaking person would be preference. Please send your CV to Tony Hug at .
Our office hours over the festive season ››
Please note that we are open on normal work days from 08.30 to 16.30. Our offices will be closed though on the 24th and 31st December. Please make sure that you have your short-term insurers emergency numbers saved on your cellphone in the event of an emergency.
AIG (Chartis): 0861 244353
BnB Sure: 0800 556677
Execuline: 0860 103434
HIC: 011 455 5271
MUA: 0861 000 682
Mutual & Federal: 0860 247365
Santam: 0860 505911
Vantage: 083 628 3442
We value your comment ››
Do you want to know about something, share something with us or comment? Please feel free to send us an e-mail so that we can assist.