What started off as a response to the promulgation of a financial services law back in 1975 has culminated in the establishment of a multi-billion Pula enterprise, says Lesetedi-Letegele.
“Indeed the history of our company is very much intertwined with the history of our country, as there are many parallels that we can draw between the growth of our company and that of this country,” she said.
Since under writing the first life insurance policy in 1977, Botswana Life has grown by leaps and bounds and from strength to strength, as it now boasts of over 300,000 active individual life policies.
“This is a feat that we did not dare to dream of in 1975, given the demographics of the country. Today Botswana Life is a leader in the insurance industry with a market share of over 75 percent,” said Lesetedi-Letegele.
She added that the market share comes with a huge responsibility that the life insurer carries on behalf of the shareholders and policyholders alike. Botswana Life is currently a major player in the national economy, as it employs 260 people, only two of which are expatriates.
“This demonstrates our high commitment to localization and skills development of our citizens. Ours is a business run by Batswana for Batswana,” said Lesetedi-Letegele.
The life insurer has an agency force of 600 advisors, which is expected to grow by a further 200 in the next 2-3 years. Through its corporate agencies, the insurer employs a further 300 advisors and continues to create meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Of the P8billion that BLIL is managing on behalf of policyholders, Lesetedi-Letegele said P6.8 billion is invested locally in government bonds, local property, the local stock exchange and structured bonds. She added that the deliberate bias to investing locally has led to lending opportunities for businesses, in turn assisting these companies to expand their enterprises and create employment.
“Our investments through our sister company Bifm continue to change and add to our beautiful landscape. Indeed we are proud that in many ways our efforts are contributing to the economic diversification of our country,” she said.
BLIL also developed Tapologo Estates, the country’s first major residential estate, on behalf of the life and pension funds in 1981. It was also the first insurance company to offer extended family funeral cover, introduce HIV inclusive risk covers and even waive HIV exclusions on existing policies. In 2013 and 2014 alone, Botswana Life paid claims and benefits in excess of P2billion.
“Through the listing of BIHL, over 2500 individuals are proud shareholders of Botswana Life and other subsidiaries. Besides the common saying that life begins at 40, a number of strategic reasons underpin our decision to rebrand,” said Lesetedi-Letegele.