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Old Mutual ropes in drones

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The oldest insurer in the country is about to get the most modern image in the industry, as it deploys drones to assist with insurance claims.

Old Mutual claims it will soon be the first South African insurer to deploy the commercial use of drones, together with drone mapping technology and photogrammetry. 

Old Mutual iWYZE, underwritten by Old Mutual Insure, has gone through a two-year planning and pre-registration process, and recently passed the operational audit and demonstration flights required by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). It is now in the final certification phase of obtaining its remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) operator licence.

 “Commercial drone use is revolutionary for the South African insurance industry and Old Mutual iWYZE is proud to be at the forefront of this innovation and new flight path,” says Christell Coleman, insurance expert at Old Mutual Insure. “The application of drone technology in our business is an empowering game changer – it will significantly improve our risk assessments, underwriting and quantification of assets through improved data collection, field assessments, high-quality photos, videos and analysis.

“Accident reconstruction software has abilities to import aerial accident scene photography and vehicle crush damage which will enhance the overall final product and accuracy. Drone operations will further reduce our operational, safety and fraud risks; fast-track and improve claims adjudication and processing; cut operational costs through enhanced efficiency and ultimately elevate our customer experience. 

“The technological advances that drone solutions offer for agricultural catastrophe and storm damage assessments are extensive.”

Old Mutual iWYZE will be one of only 46 registered RPAS operators across various industries in the country. It obtained its remote pilot licenses (RPLs) in 2017.

“The toughest part was to transition non-aviation employees to an aviation mind-set,” says Coleman. “To write a fit for purpose operation manual which adheres to all safety and security measures to ensure safe operations, we had to become pilots, versed in the Civil Aviation Act, regulations and technical standards; and master and understand aeronautical radio equipment and charts.”

Old Mutual iWYZE is planning to expand its drone operations and deployment in the group over the next few years across pre- and post-loss assessments. 

“We’ve identified exciting opportunities which hold the potential of significant cost savings and return on investment in our domestic assessment, surveying and agricultural business units. In addition, our commercial drone deployment will act as a catalyst for job creation as we will need more licensed employee drone pilots, technicians and safety and security managers in our major regions.”

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DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’

In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app

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Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv. 

In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.

The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks. 

 Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum. 

The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.

“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. 

“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”

The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:

100 – DStv

180 – People’s Weather

238 – SuperSport Play

313 – PBS Kids

317 – Mindset PoP

320 – Channel O

343 – TBN

400 – BBC World News

401 – CNN

402 – Sky News

403 – eNCA

404 – SABC News

405 – Newzroom Afrika

405 – AlJazeera

414 – Euronews Now

417 – africanews

To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com 

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FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free

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FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.

This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.

“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”

Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”

The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:

“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer.  “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”

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