Wednesday, May 18, 2022

BIHL Group says 2014 was a mixed bag of fortunes

Botswana Insurance Holding Limited (BIHL) Group says during year 2014 the local economy has shown growth but shortage of electricity, water and slowing credit growth remains a challenge to the business.

BIHL Group Chief Executive Gaffar Hassam says that the clients are more cautious with their spending, which means that investing and maintaining their policies are the first to be discarded in situations of financial difficulty. He added that the company’s task has been to educate the clients not to allow their policies to lapse as when a death occurs, one is unable to bury their loved ones with dignity as their policy has not been paid for.

“Competition also intensified with entrants of new market players, a development we welcome as it only results in clients receiving superior service,” said Hassam.

He added that his task has been on educating their existing clients and potential clients on the company’s mandate.

BIHL Group CEO Hassam said BIHL Group is a business which prides itself as being a broad based financial services company which offers diverse products and services to their clients through Botswana Life Insurance Limited led by Cathrine Lesetedi-Letegele.

He said it is the market leader with a share estimated at over 80 percent and administers more than 251 000 policies. He added that Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm) led by Tiny Kgatlwane, is leading in asset management for institutions, which now offer investment solutions to individuals through Unit Trusts and Legal Guard. He revealed that currently it is the leading legal insurance company with over 60,000 clients. Hassam stated that BIHL Group’s associates add to this robust business with Letshego and FSG forming part of their stable.

“BIHL’s mandate is to deliver sustainable returns to shareholders through superior client solutions. Our focus for 2014 has been on our twin strategies of growth and profitability by delivering sustainable returns to shareholders through superior customer service,” said Hassam.

He further expressed satisfaction regarding the progress made on the strategy as evidenced by the excellent half results where operating profit increased by 22 percent to P151 million for 6 months.

Hassam is of the view that government’s intention with EDD is to accelerate diversification in the local economy through developing a vibrant and globally competitive private sector in the medium to long term. He added that this includes increasing the existing economic growth pillars, employment creation, and industrialisation. He pointed out that the financial services sector growth has had a positive influence on economic diversification.

“BIHL is privileged to be a strong player in this industry. The company BIHL’s diversification growth strategy is aimed at increasing its already favourable participation in the local financial services sector and participate in EDD,” he stated.

Hassam further spoke of offering superior service and continuing to be innovative, adding that they continue to look for opportunities to expand their product offering across the financial services spectrum through acquisitions. He said at Botswana Life they have developed the Life Rewards card, which has had a pleasing uptake of 17,000 cards issued. Hassam is of the view that Bifm has brought to the market the Unit Trust business which is still at its infancy but has tremendous potential and Legal Guard still remains the legal aid insurance business of choice with innovations such as the new world class website which allows clients to post a claim online, a first in Botswana.

“The relationship between Standard Chartered Bank and Botswana Life continued to grow with an additional seven products launched under the Banc Assurance banner, making nine products in total. We also enhanced our other Banc Assurance relationships with BancABC and Letshego,” he stated.

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