CEO's gather in Namibia desert

By: Tony van Niekerk, Editor COVER magazine

On the 9th and 10th of April, 100 Re/Insurance CEO’s gathered in Swakopmund for the annual CEO Summit and Pan-African Re/Insurance Journalism Awards

Continental Re, the host of the annual CEO Summit and sponsor of the Awards programme presented a fascinating two days of insights into various crucial areas of the industry.

Several speakers and panelists participated over the two days of the conference:

Patty Karuaihe-Martin, Managing Director, NamibRe opened the mornings sessions by giving an overview of the state of Namibian Insurance Industry. She provided a few figures on the country, such as the 2.3m population, 400 000 of whom are in Namibia and 70% in the northern part of the country. English is the national language although there are 16 indigenous languages. The Namibian insurance industry provides 15 525 jobs.
She welcomed everyone to their beautiful country and wished then a wonderful stay. Finally, she invited us to visit again on holiday, to ensure we have time to take in what Namibia has to offer.

Changing regulatory framework

Speaker: Kenneth Matomola, Commissioner of Insurance, NamibiaCEO Summit
Moderator: Liz Booth, Editor Commercial Risk Africa
1.Thomas Olorundare, Dy. Commissioner, Nigeria
2.Kenneth Matomola, Commissioner of Insurance, Namibia
3.Charles Nakhoze, CEO, Zambia State Insurance, Zambia
Based upon indicators of a rapidly evolving regulatory environment, two-way conversations are vital and insurers need to stay ahead of the changes. Mr Matomola also tackled the question on what the fundamental considerations are of instituting a regulatory compliance environment?
The main focus of Mr Matomola’s presentation was around relationships. He emphasised that it should be a two-way street where issues are discussed and solutions seeked. What it should not be, is a fight situation where the industry and the Regulator bash heads all the time
He provided an overview of some insurance market figures in Namibia, mentioning that the market is served by 4 insurers, long and short term, holding 75% and 80% of the market. Referring to this, he asked other CEO’s to come to Namibia to diversify the market as it is too concentrated.
Mr Matomola indicated that they are introducing microinsurance regulation to enhance inclusion. He invited delegates to visit the Regulator’s website and look at the NAMFISA Bill.
Insurance contributes to wealth creation and protection, individually and nationally.
Penetration across the continent is very low. This means most people are excluded from the benefits of insurance. The industry needs to focus on all income groups, and especially the low income group, to increase penetration and inclusivity. This is a great opportunity for the industry, which could only be harvested by innovating products and distribution channels.
He mentioned that the industry has complained about increased cost of regulation but that this is important for the industry to increase trust between clients and the industry. Regulators need to harmonise legislation with growth and inclusivity needs.
Indicating that the insurance sector faces numerous challenges that, if not adequately addressed, will have a negative impact, he stressed that, if we respond actively, we can harness these changes and developments to grow our industry.
As example he highlighted that cyber risk is fast becoming a serious threat to most industries and organisations, which again provides opportunities, if approached positively and pro-actively.

Technology disrupting the industry:

CEO Summit

Charles Murito, Google Country Manager, Kenya
Charles expressed the opinion that insights and knowledge of clients and potential clients are most important. He says mobile internet usage will increase by 135% by 2015 and, while customers are changing, we are not changing fast enough to keep up.
Some of the issue the industry needs to keep in mind is the fact that the average phone on the continent does not have a smartphone. It is most likely a phone with 1G or less storage and we need to work out how to reach our customers in this new environment.
Mentioning that our clients are now curious, impatient and demanding, Charles said the battleground for growth is ASSISTANCE.
Assist needs – You have to show up (be where they are), wise up (innovate to reach them in the way they want to be reached) and speed up (make life easier, less time consuming. Save them time and effort.
Innovation as a culture – Charles said that Google has an open culture of sharing. Even the intern or janitor. Think about the right challenge and big enough problem. Pushing the envelope is required. One of our own big innovations is building open platforms to bring even outsiders in, to bring innovation.
He used the example of that used to be an agency and did not create and underwrite own products. However, they allow insurers to place their business via the platform.

Insurtech Developments

Presenter: Arun Lyer, Managing Director, Alpha Direct Insurance
Moderator – Tony Van Niekerk, Editor, Cover Publications, South Africa

  1. Stephen Wandera, Principal Executive Director, BRITAM
  2. Junior Ngulube, Chief Executive Officer, SANLAM Emerging Markets
  3. Lawrence Nazare, Group Executive Director, Continental Reinsurance
  4. Arun Iyer, Managing Director, Alpha Direct Insurance

Arun kicked off with the following question: “How can insurers identify potential emergence of technology and retain a direct relationship with consumers?” He them took us through a bit of history of insurance, from the first legislation in 1601 to the Insurtech hype which got into motion in 2015.
chart of insurtech value chain
Going through the value chain in insurance, Arun made the following comment: “The insurance industry is facing a hugely unpredictable future landscape. Insurers who do not fully develop and implement an overall strategy or vision to combat the coming external pressures will quickly lose their relevance.”
Ending off a fascinating presentation, he made the following recommendations:

  • Understand what the consumer is experiencing in the overall market
  • Affect the transformation with independent tech/digitization of individual parts of the value chain
    • Attain a seamless flow of info to support data analytics and to disaggregate the Value chain
    • Focus on the unique sources of competitive advantage, ecosystem integration and consumerization.
  • Your Digital Strategy should be accounting for the essence of the strategic intent to be resource allocation.
  • Remember majority of the customers only demand what they have experience overall in the market
  • Therefore CREATE a customer experience that challenges the industry(eases the pain point in the value chain) and the customer will be loyal.

Tenets of succession planning

Presenter: Simon Chikumbu, Chairman, AonBenfield
Moderator – Tony Van Niekerk, Editor, Cover Publications, South Africa.

  1. Solanke Ogunlana, Executive Director, SCIB, Nigeria
  2. Franco Feris, CEO, Santam, Namibia
  3. Abayomi Oluremi-Judah, Chief Risk Officer, Continental Re

Simon shared on his journey towards retirement, in relation to his personal life planning after retirement as well as succession planning in within AonBenfield.
Simon discussed how succession planning relies heavily on good planning and communication within the company. According to Simon it is important to identify possible successors internally and externally and mentor/develop potential successors until the actual successor is confirmed.
The audience participated actively in the panel discussion, especially when it comes to transformation, but also with regards to Simon’s personal journey and retirement plans.

Evolution and role of the media

Speaker – Tony van Niekerk, MD and Editor of COVER Publications
Moderator – Souvik Banerjea, MD, Continental Re (Nairobi Subsidiary

  1. Patty Kuruaihe-Martin, CEO, Namib Re, Namibia
  2. Ronald Musoke, CEO, Uganda Re,
  3. UgandaToye Odunsi, Managing Director, Custodian & Allied, Nigeria

In his presentation, Tony thanked Continental Re for sponsoring the Pan-African Re/Insurance Awards, thereby promoting professional journalism in the re/insurance industry, Tony said: “Professional journalism is essential for the successful promotion of inclusivity of insurance products across the continent”.
Tony mentioned that, when it comes to media, and specifically insurance business media, the business purpose is the following:

  • Grow an audience/ audiences
  • Educate existing and potential insurance clients on the value of insurance
  • Educate clients on risk management issues
  • Promote the products and services of re/insurance products to potential re/insurance clients at a price

Pan-African Re/Insurance Journalism Awards

At a fabulous dinner in the middle of the Namibian desert dunes the delegates gathered for the awards ceremony. Sponsored by Continental Reinsurance, the Pan-African Re/Insurance Journalism Awards recognise the outstanding work of journalists on re/insurance from across the continent. Successful candidates have to demonstrate how their articles have raised awareness and understanding of the re/insurance sector in Africa.

The awards are an extension of Continental Reinsurance’s continued commitment to the advancement of excellence in the industry. The Pan-African Re/Insurance Awards were launched in April 2015.

  • Pan-African Re/Insurance Journalist of the Year

WinnerOdimegwu Onwumere, Africa Prime News, Nigeria

  • Best Re/Insurance Industry Analysis and Commentary

WinnerOtiato Guguyu, Standard Media Group, Kenya

  • Best Re/Insurance Industry Feature Article

WinnerAdenike Popoola, The Punch, Nigeria
A special award was bestowed on Gareth Stokes (South Africa), a past winner of the Journalist of the Year award, for his exceptional contribution to re/insurance journalism.

The beauty and life of the Namib Desert

Delegates were treated to a few exciting excursions to appreciate the Namibian natural environment. With a choice between a quadbike outride, an educational desert tour or a boat trip, I decided on the desert tour and was not disappointed. Our guide made sure we left the desert with a completely new respect for the amazing, and quite unexpectedly abundant, life forms in the desert. The photos below give you a small indication of what we discovered.

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