Driving its agenda for transformation, ZEP-RE has encouraged the take up of insurance by thousands of new African policyholders.
The Pan-African reinsurer that is headquartered in Nairobi and with country offices in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Ivory Coast is forging ahead with plans to improve financial inclusion across the continent by supporting insurance markets and country national development agendas in line with its development mandate:
- Support from the A.M. BEST B++ and GCR AA+-rated reinsurer has enabled the launch and expansion of small enterprises, spurring economic growth by creating employment and encouraging a savings culture across eastern Africa.
- In terms of agriculture insurance, ZEP- RE supports providers of weather-based index insurance significantly scaling down the vulnerability of farmers in the face of drought or natural disaster. For example:
- In Kenya, ZEP-RE reinsures weather index insurance through a government sponsored project with more than 250,000 farmers covered;
- In Zambia, the reinsurer supports weather-based crop insurance directly impacting more than one million farmers under the auspices of the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP).
- ZEP-RE has invested in initiatives to provide affordable housing through its collateral replacement indemnity product, assisting banks to finance 100% of loans. So far, more than 1000 housing units have been supported across East Africa.
Insurance markets need clear regulatory frameworks. Regulators play a critical role in shaping policy and determining how the industry should be managed and regulated. Engagement with regulators is key in driving policy, aimed at strengthening the region’s insurance industry.
ZEP-RE works with and carries out trainings for different markets and regulators, encouraging best practices and experiences. In February 2019, ZEP-RE hosted a regional forum in collaboration with the East Africa Insurance Supervisors Association (EAISA).
The forum discussed opportunities such as expanded financial inclusion, capacity augmentation for local companies, new platforms such as insurtech and the important role that effective risk management could play in prudent growth of the business. EAISA and ZEP-RE have agreed to continue working together on the issues and opportunities identified.
Enabling all of this, ZEP- RE has appointed a truly diverse board, including those with backgrounds in development banking, government, insurance and brokerages to reflect the broad shareholding of ZEP-RE.
New entrants include Chileshe Kapwepwe, the Secretary General of COMESA, whose support will be essential in delivering the development mandate of financial inclusion and minimizing premium flight. Simon Chikumbi, who most recently served as the Executive Chairman and Principal Officer, Aon Re Africa has joined the board as Independent director in line with corporate governance best practice.
Meanwhile, the reinsurer is in the third of its 10 year “I Believe” strategic plan and has restructured itself to achieve its vision 2026 through increased footprint and developing its people.
To deliver this, Ronald Kasapatu formerly Operations Director has been appointed as Director of Partnerships, Government Relations, Agriculture and Micro Insurance. Jephita Gwatipedza, formerly Southern African Hub Director, is now the Chief Operating Officer and Benjamin Kamanga, formerly Finance Director has been appointed Director Strategy and Investments.
To deliver on its mandate of developing the Insurance and Reinsurance industry regionally, Shipango Muteto, formerly Country Manager, Zambia has been appointed to head the ZEP-RE Academy which was set up to develop skills in the industry at regulatory, executive and technical level. Furthermore, ZEP-RE runs a Young Professionals program where young graduates are encouraged to take up the insurance profession, trained for a year and later absorbed by the industry.
It is worth noting that in the past two years, ZEP-RE has achieved gender parity in its ranks - a remarkable achievement. 30% of the top management team at ZEP-RE are female. ZEP-RE young professionals’ training programme is also geared towards introducing female interns to the industry.