Kenya’s reinsurance sector is expected to become more competitive with the introduction of CICA-RE into the market.
The Togo based reinsurer hopes to replicate its success in Francophone African countries by using Nairobi as a launch pad to expand its commercial presence throughout the rest of the continent.
“Kenya is one of the largest economies in the Eastern and Southern Africa and also has one of the highest insurance penetration rates in the region. It is also East Africa’s financial hub and this is the ultimate driver for insurance growth,” said CICA-RE Managing Director Mr. Jean Baptiste N. Kouame.
The Nairobi office will act as a liaison under the guidelines of the Insurance Regulatory Authority and will be required to become a subsidiary company within the next three years with a capital injection of Kshs 1.5 billion.
Mr. Kouame believes that emerging sectors are key to the growth of his company’s business as underwriters take on more risk. He also highlighted Kenya’s strong middle class which will drive up insurance sales.
“We have expertise in different areas such as property underwriting, Marine Hull and cargo, Engineering, Liability covers and oil and gas,” said Mr. Kouame.
“Our expansion positions us to be the reinsurer of choice in Africa and beyond by creating specialist technical capabilities to handle the new emerging risks especially in the energy sector,” he added.
In regards to oil and gas, Mr. Kouame believes that his company’s experience in Ghana and Nigeria will benefit the regional market due to oil deposits found in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.
CICA-RE which is based in Togo has a vast West African footprint that includes Cameroon, Cote d’ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Central Africa Republic, Congo Brazzaville, and Chad.
The company has witnessed steady growth over the last three decades since its inception in 1981. Its turnover in 2014 was US $ 60.5 Million up from US $15 Million in 2008.
“We have been in operation for over 30 years and we would like to share this experience with the Kenyan market. We will bring in technical capacity through our training program thus help the industry write bigger business and help fulfill its potential,” said Mr. Kouame.
The company’s geographical scope of operation is Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America. It has paid claims running into billions of shillings including the fire destruction at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where CICA-RE paid in excess of Kshs 35 Million and last year’s Nepal earthquake