After being founded in 1991 to cater specifically to the growing insurance needs of the then unsupported mini bus taxi industry in South Africa, CTU is celebrating its 30th birthday this year as the original underwriting manager of choice for this pivotal sector while serving new markets in commuter transport services.
Back in the nineties, the budding minibus taxi industry was critically underserved and wholly ignored by the insurance industry. “For taxi operators and business owners, taxis are important assets. Statistics show that buying a vehicle is the second-most expensive purchase most people will make in their lifetime, next to purchasing a home. Your taxi is essential to insure not only because they are expensive to replace, but also because they provide a vital source of income for you, your drivers and it provides the service your passengers rely upon,” says Stef Theofanidis, CEO of CTU Insurance.
Today, minibus taxis form the most critical pillar of South Africa’s national public transport sector, thanks to its unmatched service footprint making it the most accessible, and the fact that it is the most affordable mode of public transport. In fact, minibus taxis represent a massive 65 percent of the total public transportation, while busses account for 20 percent and train services for a minimal 15 percent.
“Since our founding CTU has grown to incorporate a national footprint consisting of 487 brokers, which helps the business underwrite more than 50% of the insured taxi industry. The company currently employ 92 staff members and have processed in excess of 300 000 claims so far,” adds Theofanidis.
Over the course of the endearing relationship with the sector, CTU formed notable partnerships with industry associations South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and National Taxi Alliance (NTA), as well as many of the organisations, with whom CTU collaborates on a national, regional and local association level. Together with these partners and the taxi industry, CTU has developed a bespoke line of products that speaks to the transformation of the passenger-transport commuter industry over the last three decades.
This resulted in CTU being recognised by the industry through awards that includes the Business Partner Award from SANTACO and the Best Taxi Insurance Provider at the National Taxi Expo, illustrating the position of sector leader that the business has occupied over the last 30 years.
“Another important facet of our relationship with these industry bodies, has been the opportunity to contribute towards building a positive narrative of the transportation heroes in the field and combating negative stereotypes that exist around taxi drivers and the sector,” explains Theofanidis.
This has been achieved through avenues such as The South African National Taxi Council in KwaZulu Natal (SANTACO) (KZN) and CTU’s annual Best Driver of the Year competition. The aim of the competition is two-fold, with the first of these being to reward good drivers who work exceptionally hard at delivering great service, keeping the lives entrusted to their care safe. Secondly, the awards serve as an eye-opening experience to showcase to commuters, passengers and fellow road users that taxi drivers play a pivotal role in society and their personal journeys.
“While we have as a business, expanded to other sectors such as e-hailing and bus insurance, we remain grateful to the taxi insurance industry for enabling our formation and continued growth as a business. We look forward to continue to break ground on new innovative service offerings for the sector to cement our leadership position over the next three decades,” concludes Theofanidis