News Africa30 Mar 2020

Botswana:Insurance group eyes new markets

30 Mar 2020

Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BHL), the country's largest diversified financial group, is boosting its expansion strategy, including reviving an insurance target and moving into the pension fund and medical aid administration sector.

BIHL CEO, Ms Catherine Lesetedi told BusinessWeek the group is revisiting a deal for an insurance group within the region that failed at the first attempt two years ago.

“We are an insurance and wealth management company and those are the businesses that we are always going to look at even when we are exploring markets,” she said.

“We are looking at in-country and opportunities outside, but there are lessons to be learnt from other entities that have been aggressive in expansion outside the country.

“For us, we are very prudent and we also believe in partnerships. We will not invest in a country where we don’t have a partner with skin in the game in terms of shareholding.

“We are very clear that we are really focussed on southern Africa and we are not going to be extending beyond that.”

With financial assets of BWP14bn ($1.2bn) and pretax profits of BWP537.1m for 2019, BIHL is amongst the country’s most robust groups, boasting wholly owned subsidiaries such as Botswana Life and Botswana Insurance Fund Management . BIHL also holds 28.1% in pan-African microlender, Letshego Holdings, 37% in Funeral Services Group, amongst equity investments that stretch offshore.

Pension funds

Ms Lesetedi says that the new Retirements Act requires that Botswana Life separate the retirement annuity business from the life business. “So they are in the process of setting up a pension administration business,” she said.

She added, “After that, when we have moved policyholders to the new business, it gives us an opportunity to explore fully whether or not we want to really do pension fund administration.”

She also states that medical aid administration is an area the group is actively looking at.


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