, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – Leading Pan-African reinsurance company Continental Reinsurance has been granted a license to operate in Kenya and they have established the company as a subsidiary, capitalized with a Sh500 million investment from shareholders, with plans to increase the paid up capital to Sh800 million within the next year.
The company has been doing business in Kenya since 2008 and Chief Executive Officer Femi Oyetunji said their commitment to the region has grown, along with their belief in the importance of Nairobi as a regional hub.
“We provide support to over 200 insurance companies in Africa, spread over 43 countries from four client service centers,” he said.
“We believe that Africa is central to our business and that Africa must develop Africa. Our vision is to be able to provide support for the African market so that premiums generated in Africa, will remain in Africa,” he emphasised.
Managing Director George Nandy revealed that they will consolidate their regional footprint by strengthening their structures in regional operations, increasing diversification of income by country and business lines, and strengthening their internal technical capabilities.
“We are expanding because we believe that reinsurance conducted at a Pan-African scale is in the best position to offer clients stability, longevity, innovations and more tailored service that is more responsive to market conditions,” he explained.
“We have put together a five-year strategic growth plan which runs from 2011-2015, under which we seek to aggressively grow our top line and improve return on equity to shareholders,” he added.
Nandy acknowledged that they “have recognised the need for increased emphasis on products driven by the requirements of the typical East African.”
“We are working with other stakeholders to develop products in response to the ever changing client needs,” he confirmed.
Over the last five years, the company’s gross premium has grown at an average of over 65 percent from $18 million to $77 million and they plan to work with stakeholders to introduce agricultural sector insurance to help mitigate against the risks of crop failure as Africa becomes an agricultural super power in the new green revolution.
“Despite the continuing economic crisis and threats of contagion from Europe, the Kenyan insurance market has blossomed, growing at a rate of nearly 15 percent per annum over the past seven years,” he said.
“We have witnessed a market that was once dominated by State-owned and European based reinsures, open up to Pan-African operators,” he asserted.
Continental Reinsurance earned a rating of B+ (Good) from the United States based rating agency AM Best, which issues financial-strength ratings by measuring insurance companies’ ability to pay claims and rates financial instruments issued by insurance companies, such as bonds, notes, and securitisation products.