The Rand Mutual Assurance Company Limited (RMA) was founded in 1894 as a non-profit mutual assurance company with the purpose of administering workers’ compensation for mining industry employees injured in the course and scope of their employment.
The 121-year-old company is a mutual association whose policy holders, namely the employers who buy policies for their employees, are the shareholders of the company. The employees of the client companies are the beneficiaries of the policies and, in the event of fatalities, their dependants become the beneficiaries.
The move of the RMA head office from Johannesburg to Parktown in September 2012 was the catalyst for the repositioning and rebranding strategy of the organisation which saw a review, not only of the value proposition of the company, but also of its service offering.
New opportunities spell renewed growth
In 2013, RMA was granted an extension to its COID licence by the Minister of Labour. This enabled the company to expand its service offering to Class XIII (the iron, steel and metal industries) and opened the door for RMA to grow the number of insured lives under its management to more than one million.
In 2014, RMA’s information technology (IT) was licensed to the Compensation Fund as its IT system of choice. The Fund commenced with the adjudication of claims using the RMA system in August 2014. The RMA system is used exclusively for claims incurred as from 01 August 2014, which means that older claims fall outside the area of responsibility of RMA’s system. At present RMA continues to provide technical support and training to the fund in order to ensure a seamless implementation of the RMA claims management system.
Due to its custom-built IT system and its considerable expertise and experience, RMA is some two years ahead of any potential new entrants in the injury on duty and occupational disease environment.
As at the end of the 2013 financial year (December 2013), the solvency of the company increased to 155.2% (2012 – 139.5%), which is well above the statutory requirement of 25%. Retained earnings for the Group, as at the end of 2013, stood at R 659 million (2012: R687 million). The total assets of RMA as at the end of the 2013 financial year were R14 381 million (2012: R12 944 million). Premium income revenue derived from all four RMA products exceeded R1 billion in 2013.
In 2013, net premiums were R1.078-billion with net benefits and claims paid at R1.014-billion, yielding a loss ratio in claims of 94%. This means that for every R1 received in premiums, 94c was paid out in benefits e.g. medical claims and compensation benefits.
Key business focus
RMA provides insurance to employers in respect of their liability to their employees in terms of the COID Act. In addition to giving benefits similar to those offered by COID, RMA also offers its members a range of accident-related insurance products, including augmentation, commuting, riot and strike, and death benefit policies.
The augmentation policy augments the insurance for injured workers, making up for lost earnings rather than the statutory minimum cover. RMA also sells policies to cover workers while they are commuting to work or are at mine hostels. The riot policy insures against workers’ injuries during strikes and other disturbances.
The business of Rand Mutual is centred around the receipt, adjudication and administration of worker compensation claims and includes the payment of medical costs, once-off disability payments and the ongoing payment of pensions in the event of disability and death.
Social upliftment projects
Not only does RMA provide compensation benefits within the industries that it serves, but the company is also known for its exceptional social upliftment work among the disabled throughout southern Africa.
Mobile prosthetic clinics travel around South Africa, as well as to six neighbouring countries as far afield as Malawi and Mozambique. In this way, services are delivered to people who would otherwise not be able to receive the assistance and care they so badly need and deserve. The commitment of the RMA staff and third-party service providers to this process has seen not only the delivery of medical assistance but includes support for wider community food security projects.
The mobile clinic project has been so successful that it was also contracted by the Compensation Fund to service the spinal cord injury (SCI) beneficiaries of the Fund living outside the borders of South Africa.
Regular clinics for pensioners have been put in place with the aid of the Pensioner Medical Plan (PMP), which is designed to ensure proactive intervention with high-risk patients. This includes home visits, urological, prosthetic reviews and the supply of chronic medication and surgical sundries. One of the major delivery mechanisms of services to pensioners is through the mobile medical clinic.
A dedicated care facility is being established to meet the needs of the RMA amputee and SCI patients. This facility will enable RMA and the mining industry to ensure the ongoing delivery of exceptional care for patients. This project provides considerable support to its client industries to meet the proposed changes to the Compensation legislation in the form of the introduction of “Return to Work” obligations on employers.