Saturday, December 9, 2023

Bona Life rises from the ashes again…

Nine Lives may refer to the common myth that cats have nine lives but three is surely the perfect number to describe the number of lives that a local insurer – Bona Life has had since incorporation.

Regarded as the country’s indigenous life insurance company – Bona Life will soon re-open its doors for business for the third time, Sunday Standard can confirm.

Bona Life which at the time of closure was led by Regina Vaka shut its doors atleast twice, first in July 2018 and later in 2019 owing to an impasse between its shareholders that led to the company operating without a board and ultimately being placed under statutory management. Paul Masie was effectively appointed from 20th January 2020.

Fast forward to March 2021, Sunday Standard can confirm that after going under Statutory Management for over 14 months, Bona Life has got its life breath back. The insurer has bagged a multimillion recapitalization by the Botswana Pensions Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) which is also part of the shareholders.

Sunday Standard can reveal that the new capital injection into the business by the shareholders is around P85 million, which then translates to saving the lives of over 700 local pensioners. After being placed under statutory management, Bona Life was to either recapitalize or face liquidation. However, the stance of the Regulatory authority has been to explore the route with the least negative impact on policyholders.

Under this authority in his capacity as statutory manager, Masie saved Bona Life Pensioners (700) from getting air cuts on their monthly annuities after about 14 months of bringing the books of Bona Life back to solvency.  

The shareholding of Bona Life remains the same: being Foudello, BPOPF and Bona Life Staff, safe for the exit of Capital Management Botswana (CMB) from Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP) when CMB was placed under liquidation. If liquidation of Bona Life had take place, it meant that pensioners were to get hair cuts on their pensions. Technically, BPOPF owns Bona Life as the majority shareholder.

The founding Bona Life Chief Executive Vaka resigned in December 2019 but remains in the company as a shareholder through her company – Foudello.

NBFIRA Chief Executive Officer – Oduetse Motshidisi on Friday confirmed to Sunday Standard that Bona Life has been recapitalized beyond the required level.

He however was quick to mention that the sustainability of the business will depend on the risk underwritten, investment decisions as well as the management of the company going forward.  

 “NBFIRA directs companies it regulates to follow sound corporate governance principles at all times, with proper separation of responsibilities,” Motshidisi said. 


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