However, faced with an ever-younger and dynamic clientele, the majority of whom reside in Africa, the sector is slowly turning a new leave and has started to embrace technology.
One such insurer is Allianz Africa, one of the world’s leading insurer and employer in insurance and financial services in more than 70 countries worldwide, which is busy revolutionizing the industry with digital and organisational innovations especially in its African markets.
In Africa, Allianz is currently present in 17 countries and accompanies clients in 39 countries. Its 1,500 employees achieved regional revenues of 588 million euros in 2018.
Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa recently had a chat with Coenraad Vrolijk (CV), Allianz Africa chief executive on what the world’s leading insurer has in store for Africa.
Here is an excerpt of our conversation.
BISSA: What is Allianz Africa’s end game on the continent?
CV: Since 1912, Allianz has been present on the continent and has grown its activity until today. Allianz Africa is operating in 17 countries, with the continuous goal of securing the future of our customers.
For the last two years, Allianz has increased its investments in Africa, with the examples of acquisition in Morocco, in Nigeria but also in BIMA and Africa Re. Our ambition is to offer our customers best-in-class services and to become the insurer of first choice across the continent with Pan-African leadership position.
BISSA: Allianz is keen to develop itself as an insurer of first choice in Africa, what are you doing to achieve this?
CV: We aim to bring the best of Allianz to our clients through diverse entities: we call it “One Allianz”.
In more details, AGCS is serving our clients for specialty businesses and large corporations from South Africa; Euler Hermes for trade credit insurance from Morocco and South Africa; and other Allianz entities in specialized areas such as reinsurance, health and crop insurance.
Allianz Africa is also reassessing its core processes through a business and IT transformation, supervised by our regional team in Abidjan, where we officially launched our new Hub office beginning of March.
Our Africa target operating model for all our entities aims to adjust processes and tools in order to increase Allianz time-to-market on product launch, underwriting & claims handling. Our Allianz Africa business transformation is aligned with Allianz global strategy: simplicity.
BISSA: In your own little way, how do you think Allianz Africa is shaping the future of this continent and what would you say has been your greatest achievements and challenges so far?
CV: Africa is a continent with multiple raising economies (Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire), which are promising in the long run.
One main challenge for the insurance sector is to leverage Africa demographic expansion and low insurance penetration (outside SA) to cover emerging middle classes and to allow the SMEs segment to grow their businesses in stable economies.
Thus, Allianz Africa aims to reshape the markets where we have entities, as an example in Morocco, where we are on our way of implementing a differentiated multi-criteria tariff for motor policies, on a low-pricing model for low-risked drivers.
Allianz Africa is also conducting several investments projects with strategic African partners to accelerate the financing for large private & public projects Allianz Africa is also promoting micro-insurance with BIMA, in which Allianz group has a majority stake and where we want to develop low-income coverages (currently in Ghana & Senegal & Egypt)
So far, the greatest achievements have been to start our activity in Morocco and Nigeria, and having started the business transformation in our entities; this is only the start for Allianz in Africa. We aim to achieve the position of becoming the first-choice insurer across Africa, through the dedication of all our employees, who are the heart of Allianz success.
BISSA: What are some of the potential markets in Sub-Saharan Africa which looks promising and you are keen to enter?
CV: After our recent acquisitions in Morocco and in Nigeria, we want to keep reshaping our footprint. Today, we have leadership positions in key CIMA markets and challenger positions in Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. We are now considering all options to develop our activity in East and South Africa markets.
We are also looking for strategic partnerships; as we did in 2018 with 8% stake in Africa Re and BIMA.
Allianz also needs to consolidate its position in every market where we are operating through an ambitious distribution strategy and (by stimulating the talent pool we have in our markets).
BISSA: Where do you foresee Allianz Africa say in the next 5 years?
CV: As I said, Allianz targets a leadership position in Africa. I can then imagine Allianz being known for the quality of the services delivered to our clients and recognized as an employer of choice on the continent.
To achieve this ambition, Allianz Africa is reshaping its footprint, has strong internal operational changes and is dedicated to accompany Africa rise.