Despite the world facing an economic crisis, which has led to companies down sizing staff, retrenching and shutting down, Botswana Life Insurance Chief Executive Officer, Regina Sikalesele Vaka, has assured stakeholders that her organization will face the storms head on and will survive.
She was addressing a much attended stakeholder function held recently in Tati River Lodge in Francistown on Monday. She highlighted that as Botswana Life Insurance Limited, they have managed to grow their business, especially in the years of 2005 to 2008.
“As Botswana Life Insurance we have made sure that our clients are satisfied with the products we offer. We have introduced new products and enhanced part of the existing products,” said Vaka
She further mentioned that BLIL has built a strong relationship with the intermediaries as a strategy to penetrate the market better. She highlighted that they had increased the number of offices from three offices to seven to better their service to their clients.
Vaka commended her organization for its good achievement during the last three years, but further acknowledged that history cannot be used to guarantee the success of the organization therefore it was imperative that they used it as a platform.
She further indicated that 2009 is a difficult year since they are faced with the global recession, but indicated that, as Botswana Life Insurance Limited, there are on a mission to stand the difficulties as they have come with new strategic procedures.
These include filling the gaps that exist in the insurance industry, introducing different products to segment the market and bridging the business with markets.
“Botswana insurance has been doing very well as compared to other industries. One important example is that we already hold 80% of the market and 85% in the corporate industry, which clearly shows that we dominate, but there is always the need to make sure that we expand,” she said.
She further indicated that it is not always easy to maintain the number one spot, therefore it was essential that they work harder as there was a lot of challenges.
Vaka also cited the credit crunch as having been a blow that has hit the world, but indicated that the thing that made it worse was the reaction of the world to the crisis. She reinforced that Botswana should try and contain the challenge and face it with confidence.
“The local markets have not suffered much of the crisis as they have been insulated by what was happening around. We have been doing business differently from countries abroad,” she said.
“Botswana Life Insurance Limited has investments both locally and abroad but it has managed to overcome the challenges and still has done well despite the recession. It is only that we have been partly harmed by investments abroad,” she said.
Vaka also pointed out that she believed that markets can perform better or worse depending on the situation at that time and stressed that no one can change that.
She also added that a good business performance in 2007 and 2008 has granted the fore-front insurance provider in Botswana the momentum to look for new business opportunities.
“At this time, we are facing trying times, the Francistown area which has seen mines booming in the surrounding areas has been greatly affected as mines have closed down and some currently retrenching staff. I do not advice stake holders to sell their property until the value of their products grows,” she added.
She strongly emphasized that as BLIL they always develop strategies on how to overcome challenges, stressing that they always set long-term goals, setting a vision.
Vaka further pointed out that they are going to turn these challenges into opportunities.
“I am very confident that we are going to find policies that we are going to work on and we will also review our current policies,” she said.