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Sanlam takes over Metropolitan Life insurance portfolio

(L-R) Sanlam Life insurance executives Susan Namulinda, Justine Tabu Mukasa, Doreen Muhangizi Asasira, and Nicholas Lutakome announcing cashback to its individual life clients at its head office in Bugolobi on June 4, 2020. The company has taken over Metropolitan Life Insurance portfolio.

This increases the insurer’s market share to 12.8% with gross written premiums of Shs41.7bn

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | South African based financial services provider, Sanlam Emerging Markets (Sanlam) has continued with the expansion spree in Uganda, with the latest information indicating that its life insurer, Sanlam Life Insurance, has taken over Metropolitan Life Insurance’s premium portfolio.

Metropolitan Life Insurance entered the Ugandan market in 2017 in partnership with MTN through aYo Send with Care health insurance product  targeting low income earners but voluntarily exited the market effective last December.

Nicolas Lutakome, the chief executive officer of Sanlam Life Insurance confirmed to The Independent on Jan.27 that the process to take-over the premium portfolio of Metropolitan Life insurance has been concluded.

“We are just taking over the portfolio that Metropolitan Life used to handle (prior to their exit). So when an opportunity presents itself like it did you grab something,” he said.

This new development will see Sanlam Life insurance’s combined gross written premiums increase from Shs 32.9billion to Shs41.7billion and improve in its ranking from sixth to fifth position with a market share of 12.87% out of the country’s nine life insurance companies.

This will make it surpass the Liberty Life insurance which holds the fifth position with Shs40.2billion gross written premiums and a market share of 12.4%.

Currently, Prudential Life Assurance is the market leader in the life insurance business with Shs 68billion having acquired International Air Ambulance (IAA), a Health Membership Organisation (HMOs) last year, followed up closely with UAP Life with gross written premiums of Shs 59.9billion.

Sanlam Emerging Markets entered the Ugandan market as a green field investment in 2009 with the launch of Sanlam Life Uganda Ltd.

However, in 2014, Sanlam acquired 84% stake (79% direct and 5% indirect via NICO Holdings) in NIKO insurance and subsequently established a general insurance business now known as Sanlam General Insurance.

The financial services provider through Sanlam General Insurance acquired Lion Assurance Company in 2017, making it one of the biggest players in the general insurance business and now ranked 3rd out of the country’s 29 non-life insurers with market share of 11.4%.

This comes at the time Uganda’s life insurance market has continued to grow from merely Shs99.8billion in 2017 to Shs 324.3billion in gross written premiums in 2020.

Latest data from Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda shows that Metropolitan Life insurance has consistently recorded growth in premiums riding on the MTNs wider distribution network.

The firm’s gross written premiums had increased from Shs 818.59million in 2017 to Shs 5.17billion in 2018 and Shs 10billion in 2019. However in 2020, the company’s gross written premiums fell 12% to Shs 8.8billon, ranking 7th with market share of 2.72%.

On the other hand, Sanlam Life Insurance, which started its operation in Uganda in 2010 has seen its gross written premiums increase from Shs 24.8bn in 2017 to Shs 35.2billion in 2018 and Shs 39.8billion in 2019.

However, the company recorded a sharp drop in gross written premiums to Shs 32.9billion in 2020, ranked 6th with a market share of 10.15% market share.

Sanlam through its subsidiary, Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) which is responsible for Sanlam’s financial business services in emerging markets outside South Africa, has recorded a faster growth in Uganda mainly through acquisitions and takeovers.

Sanlam General Insurance CEO Gorry Corbit told The Independent in an exclusive interview in 2018 that SEM still has open doors for more acquisitions whenever there’s an opportunity.

Sanlam currently has presence in Southern Africa through Botswana, Malawi,Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia; East Africa through Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda; West Africavia Nigeria and Ghana and finally in India and Malaysia with plans to expand into additional African countriesand other emerging markets.

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