07 Dec SwissFin – SwissSure Newsletter December 2023
We are very excited to announce our new strategic partnership with Sonnenberg Wealth Management. They are asset managers based in Zurich/Switzerland and one of their notable key offerings is the integration of a sustainable investment philosophy, following the United Nations sustainable development goals. We will represent them in South Africa and you can find more information on Sonnenberg Wealth Management further down in this newsletter.
On a different note, another year is coming fast to an end. We wish you and your family a joyous festive season and a healthy and successful 2024!
As usual, we have also included information across the board regarding investments, short-term insurance, immigration and other related topics. This newsletter can also be viewed under https://www.swissfin.co.za/newsletters/swissfin-swisssure-newsletter-december-2023
Enjoy the reading, with best regards,
Your SwissFin / SwissSure Team
- Interest rates: Bank deposits, insurance plans, tax-free investment amounts and SwissSure Forex rates
- Our business association with Sonnenberg Wealth Management
- Investec Bank internationally recognised
2. LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL NEWS
3. SWISSSURE – SHORT-TERM INSURANCE NEWS
- Renasa’s motor rates increases, new geyser and windscreen claim procedure
- BnB Sure amends policy wording for hospitality clients
- Insuring solar installations – and theft is increasing!
- MUA policy amendments and vehicle theft recommendations
- Old Mutual Insure: Power surge changes for commercial policies
- Vehicle theft scam and car hijacking on the increase
- Bryte Insurance: Commercial policy wording updated
- Vantage Insurance: New pricing for value added products
- Applications can be submitted again in Munich
- SCA rejects loss of SA citizenship when acquiring dual nationality
- New application places for ID books of PR holders
- Department of Home Affairs updates Critical Skills List
- Be aware of fraudulent home affairs officials
5. HEALTH INSURANCE
- BDAE clients: Please download the App!
- Foyer / Globality integration
- Discovery Health changes 2024
- Gap cover: Turnberry plan comparison 2023/24
- SwissSure is awarded the 2023 FAIS compliance seal
- You can now renew your car licence online
- Our office hours over the festive season
- We value your comment
Interest rates: Bank deposits, insurance plans, tax-free investment amounts and SwissSure Forex rates >>
We offer the following rates as of December 2023:
Interest rates ››
- Our Money Market Fund
- 8.46 %
- 12 Months bank deposits
- 8.85 %
- 24 Months bank deposits
- 8.47 %
- 36 Months bank deposits
- 8.51 %
- 48 Months bank deposits
- 8.87 %
- 60 Months bank deposits
- 9.21 %
The minimum investment is R 100’000. Terms and conditions apply. The rates do fluctuate on a daily basis and the interest rate depends on the investment amount.
Insurance Plans: “Guaranteed income/growth plans” (5-year term), approx. 80% of income tax-free: ››
- Gross yield
- 6.2 %
- Taxes payable
Tax-free interest income – maximum investment amounts: ››
R 1,78 Mio. for taxpayers under the age of 65
R 2,51 Mio. for taxpayers between the age of 65 and 75
R 2,75 Mio. for taxpayers over the age of 75
These figures mean that you can invest these amounts in i.e. our money market or fixed deposit offerings and not pay any tax. Couples married in community of property can double these amounts!
Underlying assumptions: 7,0 % effective interest rate and no other income sources.
SwissSure Forex Rates ››
- Bank A
- Bank F
- Bank N
- Bank S
- Our Rate
The above table shows that our rates are attractive compared to commercial banks. Over and above, we do not charge any fees when the funds are credited or transferred to another local account.
Our business association with Sonnenberg Wealth Management ››
Sonnenberg is an independent Swiss domiciled wealth manager, providing tailor-made investment solutions, which are carefully tailored to the wishes and needs of every single client. They are not only registered in Switzerland, but also obtained an FSCA licence in our republic.
We are proud to be representing Sonnenberg Wealth Management in South Africa for the following reasons:
- Sonnenberg is truly independent and has got no conflict of interest.
- They do not have their own financial products. Unfortunately, we often see financial service providers wanting to sell their own products.
- They are transparent and have a straightforward fee structure.
- Their offering compliments the SwissFin / SwissSure product range.
- Their minimum investment amount is much lower compared to other asset managers
- We very much like their expertise in sustainable investing strategies. This is beyond traditional asset management and all asset managers worldwide should use this approach.
Sonnenberg’s offerings can benefit the following investors:
- South African citizens with funds abroad requiring a better management.
- South African citizens wanting to make use of their annual offshore allowance.
- South African citizens emigrating.
- Foreigners that live permanently or temporarily in South Africa, looking for an alternative to traditional asset management.
One of the partners of Sonnenberg Wealth Management, Mrs Edith Aldewereld, will be in Cape Town in February on one of her regular client visits. Please click here to read her impressive track record. Her passion is sustainable investments. If you would like to meet her, you can contact us or send Edith an e-mail ().
Investec Bank internationally recognised››
For the 11th year in a row, Investec has been named South Africa’s best private bank and wealth manager by the Financial Times of London.
The bank has an extensive and growing international footprint across South Africa, the UK, Mauritius and the Channel Islands. It is also the only financial institution in Africa with a Swiss banking licence.
We are very proud to be a partner of Investec bank. Our attractive interest rate and foreign exchange offerings mentioned above are backed by the bank.
2. LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL NEWS
The Medium-Term Budget Speech ››
Finance minister Enoch Godongwana delivered the 2022 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on 1 November 2023.
He stuck to his guns and the message was clear: There is no money! The points below will highlight the difficulties South Africa is facing:
- Gross domestic produtct (GDP) will average 1.4% from 2024 to 2026.
- Consumer inflation is expected to decrease to 4.9% in 2024.
- The economic outlook for the medium term remains weak.
- Government tax collections for the current fiscal year are R56.8bn below what had been expected just six months ago in the annual Budget. The State’s revenue has been hit by commodity prices falling faster than expected and VAT refund claims growing more than anticipated.
- Gross loan debt will stabilize at 77.7% of GDP in 2025/26. The overall government debt now stands at R 4.3 Trillion and from every Rand collected in revenue, 18 cents is for loan interest rate payments! Interest alone for the debt amounts to R 386bn per annum. This is higher than the budget allocated to the police and health department.
- The budget deficit has increased by 54.7bn compared to the 2023 budget estimates. The minister conceded that the estimate in February was too optimistic.
- Over the next 3 years, the Government needs to borrow an average of R 554bn per year.
- Municipal debt to Eskom will be written off over 3 years on condition that compliance is adhered to.
- 67 municipalities have applied for debt relief support, totalling R57bn.
- The finance ministry is cutting R85bn off the state spending that had been projected in February’s Budget and accelerating plans to raise economic growth by improving the provision of electricity and logistics – i.e. bringing in the private sector and fixing Eskom and Transnet.
- Despite the stated priorities, the ANC’s politically charged COVID-19 social relief distress grant will continue until after the election. This despite Treasury flagging it would need to be funded by “a new revenue source or reprioritisation of other funding items” – neither has been identified.
South Africa’s precarious fiscal situation has again come under the spotlight. Whilst the MTBPS typically serves as an update on the primary budget set in February, this year, it carried added significance due to the substantial deterioration in the country’s fiscal health. Although Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana clearly acknowledged SA’s deteriorating fiscal picture, little detail was provided about the exact steps to be taken regarding the promised fiscal correction. That will likely only become clear in the main budget, to be presented in February 2024. It will not be surprising to see an increase in taxes, like VAT, with the Budget Speech in February – brace yourself!
Discovery Bank enters the home loan market ››
The bank is tapping into the lucrative home mortgage market from next year.
Herewith a brief summary on the offerings:
- Home loans are only available for residential properties, be this a new purchase or switching an existing home loan. New developments, building loans and commercial properties are excluded.
- The term can be 5, 20, 25 or 30 years.
- An interest rate discount on the home loan of a maximum of 1,5% will apply to clients using Discovery Bank, have got a Discovery Life and Discovery Insure policy.
- There is also a revolving loan access facility available from R 20’000 to R 1 Mio. The interest rate is up to 7% less than conventional rates.
- Foreign nationals can now join Discovery Bank but must make use of the full product suite (Discovery Health, Life, Insure and Vitality).
For more information, call Discovery Bank on 0800 07 96 97 or +27 11 324 5000 (international).
3. SWISSSURE – SHORT-TERM INSURANCE NEWS
Renasa’s motor rates increases, new geyser and windscreen claim procedure ››
The insurer is forced to adjust their motor premium rates at policy renewal.
Please click here to read the factors that lead to the increase.
The insurer has also changed the procedure when a geyser claim is registered. Please save the number of Renasa Assist 0861 RENASA if you have a geyser claim. Alternatively, you can dial 0861 628 328 / 083 791 0201 or Global Choices on 0680 300 303. You can click here for more information.
Another change is the appointment of GlassFit for all vehicle windscreen and autoglass replacements or repairs. A basic excess of R 800 will apply to all claims. Please click here for more information.
Renasa has also amended the cover for commercial policies. Please click here to download the details.
BnB Sure amends policy wording for hospitality clients ››
There have been various changes to the policy wording over the last months, which were communicated in separate pieces. The insurer has now overhauled all the policy wordings and incorporated all the latest changes. You can click on the following to download the overview with the changes highlighted in the documents which apply to your policy:
Insuring solar installations – and theft is increasing!››
Following our article in the last newsletter, we received some further questions from clients.
Herewith some more important points:
– We will require the invoice showing the total costs of the Solar Panels, Inverters, Batteries, Cabling and any other peripherals together with the Certificate of Compliance for the installation.
– The value of the full installation (solar panels and associated peripherals such as inverters, cabling and batteries) will be added to the building sum Insured and the premium adjusted accordingly.
– If the policy holder is a tenant and consent is given by the owner for the fitment, the value of the full installation (solar panels and associated peripherals such as inverters, cabling and batteries) can be added to the contents sum insured.
– Solar Panels must to be added to the All Risk Section on the policy should you want theft cover. The theft is subject to forcible and violent removal. Should you choose not to add the solar panels under the all risk section, theft cover will be excluded, but all other cover will be in place.
Unfortunately, theft of solar system components has increased. Thieves exploit moments of vulnerability, capitalising on load shedding or unoccupied properties to make their move.
We urge all homeowners and business operators to strengthen their defence against the increase of solar system components theft:
– Illuminate your property: Thieves are less likely to enter a well-lit property. Install motion sensor lights that are triggered by the movement.
– Perimeter protection: Strengthen your property boundaries with wireless security beams, fencing and gates. Ensure your windows are protected by security bars.
– Install CCTV, not only discouraging criminals but also aiding law enforcement.
– Tracking Tech: Fit solar components with GPS devices for swift tracking and recovery in case of theft.
– Identity Armour: DataDot Exterior Application employs microdot technology to uniquely mark your solar components, discouraging thieves and aiding in recovery.
Another scam which has come to light is where an individual arrives at your home or business when you are away and advises your staff that they are there to service or repair the solar or invertor system. Once access to your premises has been gained the entire system is removed. Be vigilant and advise your staff not to allow access to your home or business without confirming an appointment with you.
MUA policy amendments and vehicle theft recommendations ››
We have communicated the changes, which came into effect on 1 November 2023, to all MUA clients. Should you have missed the circular, please click here to read it.
The insurer is urging clients who own Toyota and Ford Ranger models from 2018 to the present to consider implementing anti-theft devices. The insurer has entered into a strategic partnership with Pulsit Electronics.
Pulsit’s SVR Plus employs state-of-the-art technology, utilizing GPRS satellite tracking and holding the approval of the Vehicle Security Association South Africa (VESA) for early warning and stolen vehicle recovery. This solution complies with the rigorous standards set by the South African Insurance Association (SAIA).
Upon installation of this smart device, the basic excess for vehicle theft claims will be waived. Please note that MUA will soon be implementing the requirement of this solution for both new and existing business linked to high-theft-risk vehicles without tracking devices (existing business), and when tracking is a requirement (new business).
Additionally, MUA will also track high-theft vehicles that have already installed tracking when the contract with the tracking company expires, to ensure continuous coverage with this Pulsit security measure. The costs are R 1650 for installation and a monthly fee of R 135.
As the saying goes, prevention is indeed better than cure!
Old Mutual Insure: Power surge changes for commercial policies ››
The insurer has published a summary of all changes for their farming, body corporate and other commercial clients. Please click here to read the summary.
Vehicle theft scam and car hijacking on the increase››
We have recently been made aware of the latest scam involving vehicle theft:
Criminals are targeting owners of leading brand high end vehicles by posing as a representative of the service centre and advising that the vehicle requires urgent attention or a safety recall. Communication is initially made via a telephone call advising the owner that the vehicle is being recalled and will be collected by a staff member of the service center using a tow truck. The owner of the vehicle is advised not to drive the vehicle due to safety concerns. The telephone call is then followed up with an email or text message confirming the arrangement.
This scam makes transportation of the vehicle across borders easier as the syndicates involved are in possession of keys and service documents.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, verify the details of the representative and the recall or service with the vehicle manufacturer or dealership. Speak to the Service Manager or Dealer Principal or a representative that you usually deal with as contact details provided on the communication will more than likely be fraudulent. Report the fraudulent activity to the Dealer Principal.
Vehicle hijacking and theft claims have skyrocketed to unsustainable levels, with criminals shifting their crosshairs from older low-value vehicles to newer high-value bakkies and SUVs.
This is according to Santam, which recently released its Insurance Barometer report for the 2022/23 financial year ending in the first half of 2023, highlighting that hijackings and vehicle theft claims have increased by 32% and 92%, respectively.
Additionally, the insurer noted that high-value vehicle theft claims shot up by 128% on the commercial side, with criminals targeting delivery trucks.
The report noted that Santam’s incurred claims for high-theft-risk vehicles were 6.32 times higher than the 2019 base measure and more than double the incurred claims for 2021.
“The experience was so poor that several corrective actions were needed to minimise exposure. Doubling up on vehicle trackers, discussing tech-linked weaknesses with vehicle manufacturers, and promoting Faraday pouches to prevent the cloning of keyless access signals,” Santam said.
Vehicles under the Toyota, VW, Ford, and Nissan brands continue to be common targets among criminals, and the specific models include:
Toyota Hilux, Fortuner, and Corollas
Cars such as Toyota Prados and Toyota Landcruisers are among the most popular models for criminals, along with the Hilux bakkie and Fortuner SUV.
Bryte Insurance: Commercial policy wording updated ››
The insurer has published a summary of all changes for their commercial clients. Please click here to read the summary.
Vantage Insurance: New pricing for value added products ››
Please note there will be an upcoming adjustment in the pricing structure for the Vantage Assist Benefit. This will be effective 01 January 2024 for all monthly policies (new and existing) and phased in at renewal for all annual policies.
Please click here to read the summary.
Applications can be submitted again in Munich ››
After months of chaos at the South African Embassy in Munich, we have been informed that applications can be submitted again.
It seems, however, that the inability to answer phone calls and e-mails still persists. We therefore recommend that you visit the Embassy on a Tuesday, as they take in applications without appointments on such days. You may want to be there very early in the morning to avoid the queues.
SCA rejects loss of SA citizenship when acquiring dual nationality ››
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has struck down a provision in the Citizenship Act that automatically strips South African of their citizenship when acquiring a second one.
The case arose after the Democratic Alliance lodged an appeal after the High Court dismissed a case in 2021. The SCA held that the provision was “irrational” and ordered the Citizenship Act to be changed, restoring SA nationality to all persons who had lost it because of the provision in the Act.
We are sure there are thousands of South Africans living abroad celebrating the reinstatement of their citizenship after the ruling in June this year!
New application places for ID books of PR holders ››
The Department keeps changing the places where PR holders can apply for an ID book.
Currently the following Department of Home Affairs offices are available: Paarl, Malmesbury, Bellville, Caledon, George and Beaufort West. The office in Swellendam was affected by a fire and is currently closed.
We suggest that you contact the office first, to verify if the submission at that office is still in place, as it keeps changing on a regular basis.
Department of Home Affairs updates Critical Skills List ››
The Department gazetted the new list on 3 October 2023 and added two new occupations to the list. Eligible candidate engineers qualify again and university lecturers no longer need professional body registration. Veterinarians and veterinary nurses are new on the list.
Please click here to read the entire list.
Be aware of fraudulent home affairs officials ››
Several of our clients have been contacted privately by the same official from the Department of Home Affairs. Applicants under the “minimum net worth” category are targeted and are asked to pay additional funds. Do not engage with these officials and report the matter to us.
5. HEALTH INSURANCE
BDAE clients: Please download the App! ››
The health insurer is making life easy for their clients.
One of the features is the MSH-App. Please click on the link to start the download.
You will have your insurance card on your mobile phone (or desktop) and will be automatically updated if anything on your policy changes. You can also upload your invoices for reimbursement and amend your personal details via the App.
Foyer / Globality integration ››
We are excited to inform you that Foyer Global Health and Globality Health have entered the closing and integration stage of their merger.
As announced by the official press release of March 10th, 2023, Foyer Group has signed the agreement to acquire Globality S.A. owned by ERGO Group. The teams are working closely together to ensure the smoothest transition for our clients, partners, and suppliers.
Nothing changes for customers abroad: You can continue to use the familiar hotline numbers, service centres and digital services. Your insurance policy numbers also remain valid. We will make sure to keep you informed of further updates.
Discovery Health changes 2024 ››
The insurer has announced the following changes:
- Medical savings account on saver series is reduced by 5% because of increased affordability issues of members.
- The average increase is 7.5%, some plans like the Coastal Core Plan is up by 12.9%.
- The Comprehensive Plans will be streamlined, only the Classic Comprehensive or Classic Smart Comprehensive Plans are now available. The clients will be changed automatically if there is no response.
- The Smart Comprehensive Plan will now have a 15% savings account.
- Introduction of Home based hospital network: Patients eligible for treatment can chose to have such at home, depending on certain criteria.
- Introduction of a new Discovery Health App.
- The Mental healthcare programme has been extended and his paid from the risk premium.
- FlexiCare increases by 8.5% for 2024.
- Member can chose one primary in-store and one online partner.
- Checkers 60/60 is a new partner.
- Healthy food reward has been increased to R 5000 p.a.
- Africa Padel is a new partner for padel games with a 20% discount.
- You now have to go to the Vitality health check to receive the full discount on flights.
- Introduction of cardio fitness points are given if you use one of the wearable fitness devices.
- Discovery miles can now be used in the Takealot app.
For more information, please visit www.discovery.co.za
Gap cover: Turnberry plan comparison 2023/24 ››
The gap insurer has communicated the changes for the coming year. Please click here to read the plan comparisons.
SwissSure is awarded the 2023 FAIS compliance seal ››
We are pleased to inform you that we have qualified to use the 2023 MASTHEAD FAIS COMPLIANCE SEAL.
The seal is awarded to intermediaries that meet stringent criteria laid down by the supervisory body, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA). We have been evaluated on various regulatory requirements via our compliance officers, Masthead, and have achieved an excellent standard of compliance.
This underlines our commitment, that you are dealing with qualified and compliant advisors.
You can now renew your car licence online ››
The days are gone where you have to stand for hours in queues for the renewal of your car licence. The Road Traffic Management Organisation is encouraging car owners to update their details on their website and register for the automatic renewal.
Click on this link Natis Online Services to register. You will receive reminders via SMS or e-mail when your licence is due for renewal. You can do the payment online and have your licence sent to your home, for which NATIS charges R 99. Alternatively, you can also renew the licences at supermarkets like Spar and Checkers. Certain banks and insurance companies offer this service now too.
Our office hours over the festive season ››
Please note that we are open on normal working days Monday – Thursday from 08.30 am to 16.30 pm and Fridays 08.30 am – 16.00 pm. Our offices will be closed from the 22nd December 2023 from 12.00 pm and we will reopen on the 2nd January 2024 at 08.30 am.
Should you have an emergency during the above period, please contact the following short-term insurer’s emergency numbers:
Renasa Domestic Policies: 0861 628 328. In the event that the Telkom lines are down 083 791 0201 or 071 882 9178
Renasa Commercial Policies: 0861 736 266. In the event that the Telkom lines are down 083 791 0201 or 071 882 9178
BnB Sure / Bryte: 0800 55 66 77 or 0861 976 656 (Hospitality Assist – includes cover for home and roadside emergencies)
Execuline / Hollard: 0860 103 434
HIC: 011 455 8528 or 011 455 5271
MUA: 0861 000 682 – 24 hour contact centre, after hours, weekends & public holidays
MUA: Geyser claims 0861 682 467 – during office hours
Old Mutual Insure / Elite: 0860 247 365
Santam: 0860 505 911
Vantage: 0800 214 763
Western: 0860 400 007
HLU: 0861 227 627
CIA: 087 135 1222
Hollard Roadside assist 0860 038262
Hollard Geyser Hotline 021 702 0442 (Fogi Plumbing)
AIG (Chartis): 0860 005666
We value your comment ››
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