Entrenching a footprint in Africa
When PFP first entered the South African market 12 months ago it set its sights on the African insurance market. PFP recognised the increasing opportunities for local brokers to assist African insurers requiring access to capacity for large corporate risks and for fronting arrangements for risks that are excluded under their treaties.
Paul Lewis was appointed to head up its African expansion business, particularly that extending across East and West Africa. A year later, the African division has proved to be the brokers star performer having formed a number of key alliances and partnerships across Africa.
Price Forbes’, as it is known internationally and in the rest of Africa, main broker partner in Africa is Tanzania’s Africa Risk and Insurance Services known as ARIS. “ARIS is also looking at extending its African footprint expanding regionally into Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique making them an ideal broking partner for us,” says Lewis.
He says that Price Forbes also has an exclusive wholesale broking relationship with Alliance Insurance Corporation in Tanzania, relative to business it needs to place in the South African market. Relationships also exist with Heritage Insurance, in both Kenya and Tanzania, and the business is starting to develop relationships with Jubilee Insurance throughout East Africa and Uganda Re in Uganda.
“The core strength of our offering to our African partners is to provide access to South African insurance markets in terms of specialist line of business and reinsurance capacity.” On the point of having elected to go the partner route as opposed to having an established office in these regions, Lewis says the business felt it was important to be located in close proximity to its markets so that it could provide effective and quick insurance solutions to its partners. “Our partners on the ground have the local knowledge and are adept at working their markets and it is therefore unnecessary for us to be there too. It follows that open and clear lines of communication are vital in the business flow and with a combination of electronic means and regular visits to the region we maintain sound relationships,” he says.
Having spent nearly six years in East Africa in both Kenya and Tanzania, Lewis is also no stranger to the region and has successfully capitalised on many of the relationships and networks that he had originally developed. “It is easier to do business in a territory where one has experience of the way the market works and the challenges. We have an important mutual understanding of the way business works. But most importantly, and our inherent strength in working these relationships, is our Africa team spanning both client contact and technical support. Without the support of the team we would not be able to deliver the excellent service that we do. Our service delivery is highly valued by our partners,” says Lewis.
Some of the key contracts concluded this year embrace marine hull insurance on passenger ferries operating the Tanzania coast line, aviation insurance for a prominent air rescue service in Kenya and coverage for gold bullion out of the DRC.
On future growth Lewis says Price Forbes will continue to focus specifically on the energy sector including oil and gas, offshore and onshore and large infrastructure projects not necessarily energy related. Construction of large projects and reinsurance treaty business also offers exciting potential. “We will do this in conjunction with our selected partners. Key in our strategy is working with a few high-quality partners where we can deliver meaningful insurance solutions to them,” concludes Lewis.