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New Santam app lets family, friends know you’re safe when you’re out on the road

South African insurance provider Santam has released a new smartphone app. In and of itself, that’s not particularly interesting (it’s far from the first to do so). Some of the features on the app are however pretty innovative.

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Alongside the usual insurance stuff, which allows you to report, document and submit an accident or incident report directly to your insurer, there are a few additional features designed to make the process easier.

You can, for instance, scan the barcode of your vehicle licence disc (and those of other vehicles involved), record audio statements, take and store incident photos, find the nearest police station, and locate the closest Santam drive-in centre to start the repair process.

“When you are involved in an accident, you may be too flustered to remember all the information that will be required by your insurer. The Santam App with Be Safe will ensure a structured process, so your insurance claim is one less thing to worry about,” says Nathan van Rooyen, Santam’s head of digital marketing.

The most interesting feature however is called Be Safe and it allows your friends and family to follow you if you’re out on a run, cycle, or drive.

Once you’ve selected which kind of activity you’ll be taking part in, you enter your starting point and your destination, followed by the estimated duration of your trip. Lastly, you can select multiple ‘guardians’ – the friends and family you wish to monitor your progress. They will receive a notification that your journey has started, and will be able to view your journey on a live map on their smartphones. If a guardian you have chosen does not have a smartphone, they will receive notifications via SMS.

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“It is entirely up to you whether and when you want someone to act as your guardian, and you are in control of the process,” says van Rooyen. “If you no longer wish your movements to be monitored, you can terminate the process by sending a notification to this effect to your guardians. It’s a cross platform app, so your guardians can be on Android or Apple iPhone devices to see your progress live on a map. Friends and family with other platforms and devices can also act as guardians, but will only receive SMS notications indicating a start and end of your journey.

“However, it can give both you and your friends and family immense peace of mind knowing you can be assisted if necessary while on the road. The app can also be used in a variety of other situations – to keep an eye on you when you are out and about, enjoying your favourite form of exercise, or are on neighbourhood watch. You can also keep track of your children, whether they’ve gone camping or are on a road trip to the matric rage.”

The app, which is available for download on iOS and Android is free and can be used by non-Santam customers. It’s therefore as much a marketing service as it is a product. There’s no problem with that, but it will be interesting to see how committed Snatam will be when it comes to updating the app and how active people will be on it beyond the launch period.

According to van Rooyen, the new app is an extension of Santam’s promise of insurance good and proper. “It is just another way that we help South Africans to be safe out there and enjoy the freedom of knowing someone can assist you if required. And what better time to launch it than just before the holidays, giving everyone peace of mind that their friends and family members will be safe when on the road or just enjoying our great outdoors,” he says.

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