Since entering the aerospace market, insurance giant AIG South Africa reports solid growth and strong prospects, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s according to Sean Scandling Head Underwriter of the company’s Aerospace division in South Africa.
“It has been a good period during which the AIG brand has gained traction in the South African and African markets,” he says.
Scandling confirms that the local environment is highly competitive and well traded, yet AIG South Africa continues to make headway in securing market share. “We’ve improved our positioning in the market from around 10% in late 2012 to some 12.5% today. That’s sound growth in a short period of time and sets the scene for further expansion as AIG’s global reach and capacity is increasingly recognised by aerospace clients.”
Globally, Scandling points out, AIG has served as a long-term strategic partner working on various aspects of aviation insurance and risk management. The company offers insurance and risk transfer solutions for a wide array of general aviation risks, from airport facilities to aircraft. In South Africa and Africa, the division’s focus falls on facilities insurance for airports and airfields.
Just how it is winning business comes down to the AIG approach. Scandling says this is characterised by a high level of expertise and a sound international track record. “AIG writes a lot of business covering airports and providing product liability cover which isn’t always available locally, or especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Our focus is therefore on helping local broking houses with these coverages.” Brokers, continues Scandling, have welcomed the introduction of additional insurance products, as they see it as an opportunity to extend their portfolios.
Projections for future growth are strong. In South Africa, “We’ve exceeded our budget targets for the first two quarters of 2013 and our projections are to secure 16-17% market share by the close of this year,” Scandling says. Some of that growth will inevitably come at the expense of competitors, but he adds that the extensive portfolio offered by AIG also means it is breaking new ground.
However, he is even more bullish about Africa; “This is arguably where the biggest opportunity lies as these markets are immature and therefore offer potential for substantial and rapid growth.”
Expanding into neighbouring territories depends on entering into sound partnerships, market education and a long-term view. “We’re looking to partner with companies which perhaps don’t yet offer aviation insurance, but would like to expand their portfolios. With the low level of market penetration for aerospace facilities insurance, it’s an appealing value proposition for these organisations.”