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Diasporia News of Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Source: Claire Williams

Hollard extends global reach into West Africa

27 October 2015, Johannesburg, - IVM Intersurer (“IVM”), which holds a significant investment in Hollard Insurance,has extended its global reach into West Africa following the acquisition of a majority stake in The Metropolitan Insurance Company (Met Insurance) in Ghana.

IVM and Hollard will be supporting Met Insurance with the objectives of optimising Met Insurance’s operations in Ghana and growing market share.

With one of the most promising and dynamic insurance industries in the region, Ghana offers exciting prospects for innovation and the development of insurance products in both personal and commercial lines. Ghana’s short term insurance industry generated turnover of over USD150 million in 2013, but more significantly, grew by over 25% over the past five years, which makes it one of the most rapidly growing insurance markets in the world.

Ghana boasts one of the most exciting economies in West Africa and provides a largely predictable business environment. It also has strong political and economic relationships with its West African neighbours and with foreign investors. As a result of this encouraging environment, an increasing amount of multinationals look to use Ghana as the launch-pad into West Africa.

“Interestingly, the Met Insurance purchase is not Hollard’s first encounter with Met,” says Frans Prinsloo, managing director of Hollard International. “Hollard has been collaborating with Met in a Joint Venture that has developed and distributedbancassurance products through Barclays in Ghana. The Joint Venture saw us add oursignificantexperience in the development of alternative products and distribution channels to Met Insurance’s established presence and administrative abilities.”

As a result of the Barclays venture, Met Insurance, IVM and Hollard have been in discussions for some time regarding the formalisation of a relationship beneficial to all concerned. Ensuring that there is an appropriate fit, both in corporate strategy and culture, and establishing an equitable arrangement have been the priorities. IVM’s entry into any market must come at an appropriate level of investment and return, while Met Insurance’s concerns were focused around ensuring that any new shareholder offers both the skills and expertise to allow it to flourish, without diluting its existing corporate culture and reputation in the market.

IVM and Hollard’s approach in entering new territories has been to lean on the experience of a local partner. While Hollard’s brand and business model has proved effective across multiple and highly varied markets, it has always recognised that local knowledge and participation is essential for growth. The two major local shareholders in Met, Sttar Trust and Ghana Re remain committed to the growth of Met and will remain as shareholders in the business.

It is the long-term intention of IVM for the Hollard brand to be grown into an established position in Ghana. Both IVM and Hollard have recognised the factors that have allowed Met Insurance to achieve considerable success in the Ghanaian insurance market. As a result, the approach will be to fine-tune the Met strategy and structure so that these success factors can be accentuated and enhanced.


About Hollard Insurance
As South Africa's largest privately-owned insurance group, the Hollard Insurance Group includes the Hollard Insurance Company and Hollard Life Assurance Company. Established in 1980, the Group provides short-term and life insurance as well as investment products to a diverse customer base including individual consumers, commercial entities and corporate clients. It ranks among a growing number of companies advocating an inclusive growth model, measuring its social dividends aside its shareholder contributions.
Since inception, partnership has been at the heart of its business model, with the group today boasting over 100 ventures across the insurance value chain. Each one demonstrates the Hollard belief that there is always a better way.
Headquartered in the historic Villa Arcadia in Parktown, Johannesburg, the group embraces 6 million policy holders in 10 countries on four continents. Hollard employs almost 3000 people across the globe and posted R15.3bn in premium income in the year to June 2014.

About Sttar Trust
STTAR Trust is a private trust established by Sir Sam Jonah as investment trust for the benefit of the Jonah family.

About GhanaRe
Ghana Reinsurance Company Ltd. (Ghana Re) is the leading international reinsurer in Ghana. The company has proven to be the backbone that provides insurers the confidence and capability of underwriting all risks and making prompt payments of claims. Ghana Reinsurance Company Limited (Ghana Re) was originally established as a unit of SIC in 1972 as the Ghana Reinsurance Organization. Gained autonomy in 1984 and was incorporated as a Limited Liability Company on June 16, 1995 with 100% Ghana government shareholding.

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