Johannesburg – Specialist insurer iTOO will “write a cheque” of R750 000 to the Comrades Marathon Association, having underwritten the prize money awarded to athletes for breaking the men’s and women’s records on Sunday.
Melita Thurling, Head: Liability and Special Risks at iTOO on Monday said the “decision to underwrite the prize money had allowed the marathon’s organisers to raise the value of the prizes, without having to shoulder the full financial burden of having to pay out in the event that the records were indeed broken”.
Thurling explains that prize indemnity is an insurance policy that provides protection to an insured entity should their contractual liability to award a prize be triggered.
This year, in addition to the prize money given to the winners of the men’s and women’s categories, the Comrades Marathon Association also put up an additional R500 000 prize money for the winning runners, should they manage to break the long-standing records in their respective categories.
Thurling said iTOO underwrote 100% of this prize money for the men’s category and 50% for the women’s category, “despite its underwriting processes predicting it was almost a given that the records would tumble this year”.
In the men’s race, Tete Dijana won the Comrades Marathon for the second consecutive year, with a record-breaking time of 5:13:58 that saw the North-West runner shave more than four minutes off David Gatebe’s record set in 2019.
Gerda Steyn came home first in the women’s race, with a time of 5:44:56, breaking the down run record held by Frith van der Merwe since 1989 by about 10 minutes.
Both athletes earned half a million rand each in prize money.
“Where there is a large attractive prize, it makes sense to transfer the risk to an insurer,” Thurling said.
“The premium is a fraction of the prize and allows the insured to boost interest in the event and create a buzz.
“The insurer uses statistical models to calculate the odds and rate the risk.
“A good example is a prize for a hole-in-one at a corporate golf day or pro golf tournament,” she notes.
This year’s race was a downhill run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, with about 17 000 runners taking part in the 87,701 km event.
“However, there must be an element of uncertainty and circumstances where there will not be a pay-out.
“The value of the prize is the policy cover limit, and the premium is dependent on the value of the prize and the statistical odds.”