South African financial services group, Sanlam, yesterday launched a life insurance business in Uganda, a country it believes has excellent growth potential.
The move follows the group’s expansion initiatives in other African countries over the past few years. The Ugandan business is a milestone for Sanlam as it is the first business in Africa which will fully carry the Sanlam name and brand.
Johan van Zyl, group chief executive of Sanlam, says the decision to open a business in Uganda was prompted by the scope for growth in the country’s life insurance industry. “Currently life insurance contributes less than 1% to GDP. However, a number of factors such as the projected economic growth of 3% to 5% in 2009 and 2010, the recent discovery of oil fields and Uganda’s developing democracy mean that the need for a well-insured population is increasing rapidly.”
Marguerite de Waal of Sanlam Developing Markets (SDM) has been appointed chief executive of the new company, Sanlam Life Insurance (U) Limited. SDM is a business in the Sanlam Group that provides affordable financial solutions to the entry-level market in South Africa and all market segments in other African countries where it operates, as well as in India.
De Waal said that the building of a distribution network for the company’s products was already underway and the intention was to create a wide network of agents, in the process creating employment opportunities in Uganda. “Initially, we will provide a credit life offering in association with banking partners and other credit providers which will later be extended to include other financial services and solutions.
“As a group with over 90 years of experience in life insurance, we believe our best practices and expertise will contribute meaningfully to this business but we will also be calling on Ugandan experts to ensure that our offering is relevant to this country. There is never a one-size-fits all solution, so we will tailor-make the Ugandan offering to, for instance, successfully offer relevant life insurance solutions to the 80% of the workforce that is engaged in the agricultural industry,” she said.
Sanlam has operations all over South Africa, as well as in India, Australia and Europe and, apart from Uganda, also in other African countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. Sanlam Limited is listed on the Johannesburg and Namibian stock exchanges.