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20 years of growth inspires fresh brand for South Africa’s largest cell captive insurer






In 1993 Guardrisk, South Africa’s first cell captive insurer, had three clients and premium income of R20m. Today, a year ahead of its 20th anniversary, the group boasts over 200 clients and an annual premium turnover in excess of R6 billion.


A cell captive insurer is a registered insurance company able to extend its insurance license to independent external businesses. This allows smaller businesses to manage their own risks through their own insurance structures – effectively providing for their own risk exposures through the “cell” - without the administrative, legislative, compliance and staff costs that managing their own separate insurance company would otherwise require.  


“Guardrisk’s launch of the cell captive concept came at a time when corporates were ready for an alternative option for financing their business risk. Tired of being at the mercy of volatile insurance markets over which they had no control corporates readily embraced the concept,” says Herman Schoeman, managing director of Guardrisk.


Over the years, the traditional and alternative markets converged and, what started as an alternative to traditional insurance, is now increasingly part of a critical business service featuring traditional and alternative components. For example, in 2009, Alexander Forbes Cre8, a specialist short-term insurance underwriting manager and product supplier, was fully integrated into the Guardrisk Group, making Guardrisk a well-diversified business insurance provider operating across the full spectrum of cells, binder holder structures and niche product schemes.


Effectively, the cell captive model allows clients to provide for their own insurance needs and the insurance needs of their customers while remaining under the overall care and guidance of Guardrisk. As such, “the analogy of a honeycomb of many separate cells (our client businesses) all nonetheless being taken care of by the same hive of bees (Guardrisk) has served us very well,” says Schoeman.


So, when it came to renewing the brand, it was important that the refreshed brand retained the symbolism and message of both the honeycomb and the bee.


Together, the honeycomb and bee convey the essence of Guardrisk’s way of doing business - with each cell carefully tended by a tireless caretaker. As such, “in the new brand the bee has been deconstructed and incorporated into the very cells it guards” says Schoeman.




The new Guardrisk logo


The symbolic result is that the bee and the honeycomb have effectively become one, with each lending the other its identity in a visually symbiotic relationship representing Guardrisk’s close relationship with its clients.


The world of business risk insurance is complex and layered. There are many different types of risk and a multitude of industries that need risk protection. For every client it’s never quite the same. As such, the new payoff line, ‘tailored risk solutions’, emphasizes Guardrisk’s commitment to providing customised risk financing and insurance solutions for the very different risks that each of Guardrisk’s clients face.


The aim of refreshing the brand was to produce a creative concept that took all the history, complexity and layers of meaning surrounding honeycombs tended by bees and distill them into a simple symbol that conveyed a clear message, namely; “no matter what field of business you are in there is always risk and Guardrisk is the leading authority on identifying and managing this risk” concludes Schoeman.

Source: FTI Consulting
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