Absa Life, the assurance division of the titanic Absa Bank of South Africa, redefined the insurance industry lines as it brought relations between Botswana Life and Barclays Bank of Botswana to an abrupt end last week.
The move was part of the Absa’s ÔÇô a subsidiary of Barclays CapitalÔÇöplans to enter the African markets that will see the company using Botswana as a springboard.
“Barclays is a dominant player in Botswana. The proximity with South Africa makes sense to start with Botswana before going into other African countries,” Johann Grobler , Managing Executive for Absa Financial Services, said.
The company announced its arrival within the shores of Botswana last week and started to roll-out three products, namely: credit life protection, funeral and group risk schemes.
The credit Life scheme is new in the domestic market and is geared to defend debt ridden clients from possible debt collectors.
“Credit Life solution offers our customers protection against the burden of settling debt arising from credit extensions relating to personal loans, vehicle finance, mortgage, credit cards and business finance in the event of death or disability,” the company indicated.
Grobler said the company has been studying the markets north of the Limpopo with the view of expanding into other parts of Africa. After Botswana, the company is expected to focus on Mozambique and later Zambia before the end of this year.
Its expansion plan across the continent will be based on its relations with Barclays Bank or simple acquisitions but would not yield to a position where they are in the minority. The idea to be a controlling shareholder runs contrary to what most African countries are doingÔÇöthat is insisting that local shareholders should have at least 51 percent stake.
Absa Life has indicated that it will soon bring in some more products into the Botswana market that will position it against its peers.
On Tuesday, Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited, the parent company of Botswana Life, announced that its relation with Barclays on the bankassurrance side has come to an end as the bank decided to go with its sister company. That means Absa Life will use Barclays branches as its network where it does not have offices.
Further, the company announced that it will ensure that its agents are not involved in mis-selling of products by giving them a prober induction before getting into the field.
“The more we train, the more we empower pour people,” Absa Life Botswana Managing Director, Bilkiss Moorad, said.