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Paris-based global reinsurance firm SCOR is to enter the Kenyan market after getting regulatory approval by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA).
The move is expected to increase competition in the regional re-insurance business where premiums are also collected by firms without a local presence.
There are over 35 reinsurers based in Africa, including those owned privately and state-owned underwriters including Kenya Re, Ghana Re, Tan Re and Tunis Re.
Other global reinsurers, including Lloyd’s of London, also collect premiums in Africa through agents and smaller reinsurers who are unable to provide high value covers on their own.
SCOR is entering the regional reinsurance market whose growth is being driven by an expanding insurance industry, emerging insurance opportunities in oil and gas, and infrastructure projects.
The company has appointed Christian Ramamonjiarisoa as its representative for East Africa.
Mr Christian has been the Regional Representative of the Afro-Asian Insurance Services, a reinsurance broker for Lloyds of London.
“SCOR already enjoys strong support in Southern, Western and Northern Africa, and intends to expand further its African footprint into Eastern and Central Africa,” said Hedi Hachicha, the multinational’s chief underwriting officer, treaty property and casualty (P&C) head of Africa, Near and Middle East.
As part of its entry into the local market, the company in association with IRA will hold a campus seminar on risk management in Nairobi from September 22.
This is part of the local capacity building following introduction of the risk-based supervision model by IRA.
SCOR is the fifth largest reinsurer in the world, operating globally, and offering both life and P&C reinsurance.
Its gross written premium for the year ended December was €11.3 billion including €4.9 billion in P&C and €5.4 billion in Life.
Its entry into Kenya comes at a time when reinsurance premiums rose 23 per cent to Sh21.7 billion last year, accounting for 26.6 per cent of the total the gross premium for the entire insurance industry.
Total reinsurance premium ceded by life insurers was Sh3.8 billion compared to Sh2.7 billion in 2013, an increase of 41.4 per cent.
Reinsurers operating in the continent have benefited from lack of major losses from catastrophes such as floods.
State-backed underwriters such as Kenya-Re enjoy some protection from their respective governments that has guaranteed them a certain percentage of premiums from their local markets.
– Business Daily