SAHAM Insurance: “Ghanaian Insurance Market Has a Great Potential”

In 2014 SAHAM Insurance witnessed a phenomenal growth of 50%. From the preliminary figures, the business will grow by a whopping 100% in 2015.

Interview with Mel Kebe, Country Manager of SAHAM Insurance

Mel Kebe, Country Manager of SAHAM Insurance

What is your evaluation of the insurance market? What has been your experience with the Ghanaian market since you acquired Colina Insurance in 2010?

Ghanaian insurance market has a great potential. In general, the market has experienced tremendous growth over the past five years since we’ve started operations in Ghana. The insurance industry is growing along with the general economy in Ghana. Over the past few years, the Ghanaian economy is experiencing some challenges that are also affecting the insurance industry. For example, the constant depreciation of the currency is affecting the industry. High inflation also directly affects our claims.

There have also been challenges for other insurance companies that have not been able to honour their engagements. Such developments impact the reputation of the insurance industry in Ghana. The experience has been excellent. Ghana is a great market with great potential. There are challenges which can be easily addressed with the involvement of all parties including the government.

Are there challenges because of the flooding?

Yes. There has been a number of customers who have suffered extensive damage due to the flooding, and the company will have to settle their claims.

Over the past five years the focus has been on building our relationship with the brokerage industry because the Ghanaian insurance industry is led by the brokers.

SAHAM Insurance is part of a conglomerate based in Morocco and you are a leader in insurance in Africa. How is the public reacting to the name change that happened last year? What has been the feedback?

When we entered into the Ghanaian market, we entered under the brand name “Colina”. We then took the opportunity with the name change to do an extensive media campaign in order for the public to get to know a little more about us. The feedback, of course, is very positive. Clients, customers, and the public got to know the size and financial strength of the group. Of course, with any change comes challenges, but none of them will have a serious impact on our business. The company keeps growing. In 2014 the company witnessed a phenomenal growth of 50%. From the preliminary figures, the business will grow by a whopping 100% this year.

What is your position within the market?

We currently are a mid-size insurance company among the 25 current insurance companies operating in the market. SAHAM Insurance started from the bottom, because we started our business from scratch. We kept growing and we have had a continuous growth throughout the years. The strategy of the company is to be in the top 10 insurance companies in the next two years.

What are your unique products and insurance solutions? What kind of services do you bring in that might differentiate you from the rest?

SAHAM Insurance Ghana
“SAHAM Insurance has a wide international network of 740 branches, with a presence in 22 countries through 40 subsidiaries in Africa.”

Basically, insurance is about paying claims. With the insurance package, the aim is to offer the clients the fastest claim settlement. The strategy is to position the company as a partner and not only as a supplier. This means adding consulting as part of the services. Whether a direct customer using the services or a broker, we try as much as possible to advice our clients what will be the best insurance cover in respect to the business they are operating. SAHAM Insurance plans to introduce new products to the market such as Road Assistance, All Life insurance, and specific travel insurance policies. Some of the new products and services cannot be disclosed at this time due to competition. Clearly, the company’s products strategy is to differentiate the services from the competition in 2016.

Could you talk more about the corporate segment you are primarily targeting? You also mentioned that you have started building your branch network as well as thinking of stepping into the retail side of the business. Is this your strategy for 2015 and 2016?

It’s a process. Over the past five years the focus has been on building our relationship with the brokerage industry because the Ghanaian insurance industry is led by the brokers. Many significant and big corporate clients are using the services of the brokers to advise them on what is good for them in terms of insurance for their businesses.

We’re gradually moving in the retail business by building a network of branches. The network comprises of 5 branches across Ghana, based in the regional capitals. The company’s plan is to add another five branches to double our presence. We want to be able to reach out and get closer to our customers in order for them to take advantage of our products and services. But of course, this has not been done against the interest of the brokers. We should be able to work in both channels of distribution jointly.

What is your vision of the company and where would you like to see it in one-two years?

In two years, SAHAM is going to be part of the significant insurance players. The goal is to be recognized as a company which pays its claims promptly and is able to offer its clients value-added services.

The areas SAHAM Insurance is going to focus on is paying claims and improving the risk to the clients. No matter the amount of money we are going to pay when the unexpected occurs, the client still suffers losses.

We should all work together in order to avoid the incidents that cause the claims to begin with. Even if we are part of a group, we want to be recognized as Ghanaian company. We want the public to see that SAHAM Insurance is improving the lives of Ghanaians, and improving the standards in the insurance industry.

Hopefully, the insurance industry in Ghana is going to have a bright future. Also, I hope and trust that we are going to welcome all the challenges that we are now facing. In the future, we’ll talk about all the successes that SAHAM has achieved.

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