Barclays Life Botswana, a wholly owned subsidiary of Absa Financial Services (AFS), forecasts gross premiums income of P150 million in 2013, driven by renewed demand for their products.
This week, Lanz Zulu Managing Executive of Absa Financial Services Africa Holdings, said prospects for the local insurance business remain bullish, despite fragile economic recovery. Absa Life Botswana has received an approval recently from South African and Botswana regulators to change its name to Barclays Life Botswana following the combination of Absa and Barclays African businesses. Since its inception in 2010,Barclays Life Botswana has grown to become the third largest insurer in Botswana having grown to control 5 percent of the insurance locally in 2013. “ Currently, we have more than 130 000 policyholders with more than 2500 new policies being added each month,” Zulu said.
Barclays Life offers amongst others, products like the credit life, funeral cover, individual and group life, and investment and education products amongst others. Zulu said the Barclays Botswana has been over the years shortcoming when it comes to financial services. “We now want to give financial services attention and grow in that field,” he said. He said their insurance unit has an advantage given that Barclays brand has been operational for the past 60 years locally and it is a well known, trusted brand with an appeal to customers. “We want to take advantage of our footprint, which can help us grow and be a recognised in all markets for our customers’ banking and insurance needs,” said Zulu.
The strategy to grow their financial services sector, according to Zulu, is aligned to the Barclays Africa Group goal of accessing markets with robust growth and seizing opportunities in the continent. The bank feels that under the Barclays brand, the insurance unit would be better placed to offer additional risk and investment products, with new endowment and education product due to be launched later this year. Barclays Life Botswana faces competition from the vigorous Botswana Life Insurance Limited (BLIL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Botswana Insurance Holding Limited (BIHL), a leading financial services provider. BLIL, which is listed on Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), controls over 30 percent of the market share. Other competitors locally are Botswana Insurance Company (BIC) and Metropolitan Botswana amongst others.
Zulu addressed a press conference on Tuesday afternoon prior to the celebration of Barclays Africa rebranding.
Barclays Africa Group, is 62 percent owned by Barclays Bank PLC, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
Barclays Africa Group was formed through the combination of Absa Group Limited and Barclays operations in Africa on the 31st July this year. With the enlarged group’s pan-African plans, it was re-branded from Absa Group Limited to Barclays Africa Group on the 2nd of August this year.
Barclays Africa has incorporated operations in Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique in its acquisition deal. “We are in the process of incorporating operations in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania within the next six months,” Zulu said.