By Favour Nnabugwu
WITH matured markets and intense competition in the developed economy, foreign companies have began to throng the country’s insurance sector for virgin market.The nation’s insurance industry in the last few years has been largely shaped by the influx of foreign investors, and growing enquiries by many others to own equity stake in local operators.
This development has not only woken up local firms that have been reluctant to embrace change, it has brought about a new era in consumer relations and service delivery.
Some of the foreign companies come in directly while some others come in through the local banks to sell their products in the country.
For instance, a South African based insurer, Sanlam Ltd recently teamed up with First Bank of Nigeria Plc to sell its insurance products in Nigeria.
Sanlam’s Managing Director, Mr Johan vanZyl, stated that “About 60 per cent of all our potential clients in Nigeria bank with FirstBank. We can get the money from those clients fairly easily and quickly.”
Sanlam, with operations in 12 African countries and a business in India, is chasing growth after doubling its profit last year even as other insurers reported losses in the wake of the global financial crisis.
FirstBank is Nigeria’s largest bank by number of customers.”We have 35 per cent of the arrangement and it’s a simple model where we would roll out 30 to 50 branches this year,”Van Zyl said.