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Message from Clientèle Group Managing Director Basil Reekie

Safeguarding your world during lockdown

Dear Clients, Employees, Shareholders, Partners and the IFA Network,

As the Group Managing Director of Clientèle, I wanted to reassure you that Clientèle is there for you during this time of the hard-hitting COVID-19 pandemic. As an organisation focused on safeguarding our clients’ worlds with compassion we are of the view that the time has come for all of us to stand together and join forces to overcome this devastating pandemic. I hope that you, your loved ones, and your colleagues are safe and well. I can honestly say that I never imagined (in my worst nightmares) that I would experience a pandemic like COVID-19 which has had such a drastic impact on how we live and work. Now, more than ever, we must do the right things and be prepared to take steps beyond what we are typically used to doing in order to safeguard each other.

Clientèle are fully on board and support the Government in its effort to fight the devastating effects of COVID-19. We are extremely fortunate to have a President whom we can trust to lead our nation through the COVID-19 crisis and the resultant economic crisis.

While this means that it will no longer be business as usual, we’ve put measures in place to minimise disruptions and ensure that our business continues to run smoothly so that we can keep providing you with the peace of mind you deserve. We’re striving for as little disruption as possible over this period and ask for your understanding and patience in the unlikely event that our service levels are not maintained at their usual levels.

In response to COVID-19, we have also adapted to the changing digital environment very quickly, and our services will continue to be accessible to clients digitally, and many of our digital offerings have been enhanced. We have a robust action plan in place, and we have implemented specific precautions and digital processes across the group to help ensure our business continuity.

While I am sure that you all understand the seriousness of the situation and the impact that it can have on any business, I would like to assure you that Clientèle’s intention is to come out of this stronger than ever, building ourselves back up to the business that we were before COVID-19. We know that this is possible. Core to our values and everything that we do, is Treating our Employees Well, Treating our Clients Well, taking care of our business partners and IFA Network, and making our shareholders proud. We will continue with this in mind while being fair, realistic and cautious.

We have made a number of changes to benefit and safeguard our clients and staff during this time. In particular, we have implemented the following:

  • Removed waiting periods on our Funeral products for COVID-19 claims;
  • Enhanced Clientèle Rewards by including more virtual benefits in the rewards program;
  • Enhanced the functionality of the Clientèle App to allow more self service functionality via this digital channel;
  • Included a COVID-19 hotline for Clientèle Rewards members;
  • Offered certain Clientèle Rewards benefits for free to policyholders during this difficult time;
  • We instituted shift working for our sales force at the Office Park in order to ensure social distancing;
  • Where possible (and practical) we have allowed and encouraged staff to work from home;
  • We have provided face masks to all employees and additional face shields to those working in our call centres;
  • We have enforced social distancing for all staff. In the call centres this has meant that staff only sit at every second desk;
  • Hot desking has been completely stopped since the onset of COVID-19;
  • Hand sanitizers have been made available throughout the Office Park;
  • The Office Park has been closed to the general public, apart from one walk in centre which has a separate entrance to the rest of the Office Park;
  • Deep cleaning and fogging of the various areas is performed regularly (about twice a week) and this is also done (by a certified external supplier) for any area where a staff member tests positive for COVID-19;
  • We have instituted random COVID-19 testing of our staff;
  • We have plans and procedures in place to deal with contact tracing when a staff member tests positive for COVID-19;
  • We continued to pay all our staff their basic salaries throughout Lockdown levels 4 and 5 despite the fact that majority of our staff were unable to work during much of this period. Being an essential services company we had a small core group of staff working throughout this period;
  • Regular cleaning of all surfaces happens throughout the day; and;
  • Screening of people who arrive at the Office Park is carried out each and every day (including the taking of temperatures and asking relevant health questions).

In closing, let me quote our President’s “This is a message of hope, of recovery and of rebirth. We shall recover. We shall overcome. May God bless South Africa [and Clientèle] and protect her people.”

Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Responsible.

All the best