2014 set to be another good year for Sanlam's emerging markets division
Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM), a division of South Africa’s second largest insurance company the Sanlam group, has identified Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other countries in East Africa as possible expansion prospects in 2014.
The company holds a positive outlook for the coming year particularly within the emerging market nations in which SEM has a presence.
SEM’s Chief Executive Officer Heinie Werth, said: “The biggest potential contributions to our business, purely due to scale, will be from India during 2014 and Nigeria over time – but we are also very comfortable with the forecast contributions from the smaller economies that make up our Africa portfolio.”
SEM which contributes about 20 percent to the Sanlam group’s gross profit, has also identified that insurance penetration in both the short term and life categories in Africa and South East Asia is low.
It says that financial services businesses in these market will benefit from both the above-average economic growth potential and a catch-up in insurance penetration over time
Werth said: “Add to this the desire of governments and international investors to develop the burgeoning middle class in Africa and India and you have a winning growth formula.”
Mobile phone penetration and the return of international banking brands to Africa are also growth drivers specific to the continent.
A recent report by GSMA reveals there are 253 million unique mobile phone subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In their report titled Sub-Saharan Africa – Mobile Economy 2013 the organisation predicts this number to grow to 346 million subscribers by 2017.
“This is great news for diversified financial services companies with investments in Africa,” added Werth.
“Mobile phones make it easier for insurance businesses to communicate with their clients, while mobile banking solutions make it possible to collect premiums.”
He believes that the success of mobile banking across the region is due to the lack of ‘bricks and mortar’ infrastructure in many African countries.
“Our growth in Africa and other emerging markets will come from achieving a balance between our existing businesses and new opportunities.
“We have found that the secret for success in the emerging market arena is to be flexible and patient and to approach each country with due consideration for its unique culture and consumer needs,” he concluded.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.