The history of Safire Insurance Company Limited dates back to 1987. At the time, catastrophic fires across the world had sent the price of timber insurance sky high.


A local timber grower, Bailey Bekker, realised how unfair it was that low risk private timber growers in South Africa were expected to pay more because of losses incurred by higher risk growers both locally and abroad. After managing to source reinsurance support from underwriting syndicates at the renowned Lloyds of London, he and other timber farmers set up an innovative timber insurance co-operative, an impressive feat in what was a very difficult market.


Three timber growing co-operatives, NCT, TWK and LK, put up limited guarantees to back the insurance co-operative’s pool.


Safire issued its first plantation insurance certificates on 1 May 1987 in the name of the Central Timber Fire Protection Co-operative Limited. The founding directors were Bailey Bekker, Doug Crowe, Peter Lorenz, Stuart McMurray, Dave Dobson, David Earl and Reg Niebuhr.