South Africa’s largest privately owned insurance group Hollard International has extended its footprint in Africa through the finalisation an agreement to acquire a significant interest in Apollo Investments Limited, the holding company of Kenya-headquartered insurer APA Insurance.
This strategic investment, subject to regulatory approvals, gives Hollard International a presence in the East African market, supplementing its existing operations in Southern and West Africa.
Hollard becomes the second international investor in the Kenyan group, following Swiss Re, which acquired a stake in 2014.
For APA, the partnership gives Kenya’s second-largest insurer access to a larger market and expanded opportunities for growth, says Ashok Shah, Group CEO of Apollo Investments Limited.
“It’s an exciting time for APA because the Hollard International partnership will open new doors and new avenues of growth for our business. We’ll have access to substantial new expertise in classes of business such as Motor, Engineering, Marine and other specialist lines of insurance – which we believe will open up a number of profitable business opportunities.”
Expressing the significance of the partnership, Shah notes, “In addition to expanding our operations in Kenya, this venture will also enable us to strengthen our foothold in Uganda and Tanzania. Moreover, it positions us favourably to seize opportunities in the Ethiopian market once it becomes accessible.”
Pravin Kalpagé, Chie Executive Officer of Hollard International, is equally upbeat about the transaction, heralding it as “a vote of confidence in the Kenyan and East African markets”.
“Hollard International has been looking for an East African partner for some time, and APA ticked so many boxes – it has an established track record, an impressive value proposition with strong broker and customer relationships, and it shares our values around community, reliability and customer-centricity. All these elements resonated strongly with us.
“This investment continues Hollard International’s African model of finding strong local businesses and management teams with whom to partner in-country, rather than parachuting expatriates into a new market,” Kalpagé.
He adds that exploring options in Francophone West Africa is next on Hollard International’s to-do list.
Kalpagé has also pledged to bring Hollard International’s model of “impact beyond insurance” to the East African market – as demonstrated in Mozambique and Ghana, among other countries.
Hollard Mozambique has developed risk-mitigation insurance products to protect smallholder and subsistence farmers – whose livelihoods are totally reliant on their crops – from extreme weather events through a partnership with local seed providers.
In Ghana, the MeBanbo microinsurance product arose from a partnership between Hollard Life, Vodafone Ghana and Sasai Fintech, a business of Cassava Technologies. It offers accessible, affordable life insurance cover, via an end-to-end digital platform, to the underserved Ghanaian market.
“This focus on being a catalyst for social impact in Africa is in line with Hollard’s business purpose, which is to enable more people to create and secure a better future,” said Kalpagé.
By : Thelma Muchemwa