Foreign investment into the Nigerian insurance industry has just received another boost as Swiss Re takes up about 25% shareholding in Leadway Assurance.
Leadway’s Assurance is one of Nigeria’s most profitable insurance firms. While Leadway is not quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE the company’s fundamentals are strong when compared to its peers in life and non-life side of the business.
The coming of Swiss Re as an equity participant in Leadway is the second biggest investment coming into the Nigerian insurance sector. Last year, AXA, one of Europe largest insurance group took up investments into Mansard. The company has since become AXA Mansard as a result of the merger.
However, Nigeria’s insurance sector still needs more investment as the sector is still fragile and shallow to provide dependable protection instruments for Nigeria’s risky business climate.
With an annual USD1 billion total premium, Nigeria is still trailing South Africa with USD50 billion premium collected in the market.
Swiss Re is the world’s second-largest reinsurer. It acquired GE Insurance Solutions in 2006. Founded in 1863, Swiss Re operates through offices in more than 25 countries. Swiss Re was ranked 118th in Forbes 2000 Global leading companies 2016. It was also ranked 313th in Fortune Global 500 in 2015.
Commenting on the development, Leadway’s Managing Director Mr Oye Hassan-Odukale said ”
Swiss Re was selected as an investor because of the existing and well-established relationship between the two organisations. This comes in addition to Swiss Re’s long-standing commitment to the insurance sector which combines financial strength, risk transfer expertise and its direct investments.”
He added that “The investment allows Swiss Re to deploy capital in-line with its strategy of accessing new risk pools in emerging markets and to support insurance development across the globe. The investment comes after the exit of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, which was the second largest shareholder of Leadway Assurance.
“The relationship between Swiss Re and Leadway started nearly 40 years ago when the then domestic insurer was in the process of ramping up its direct and personal line insurance operations into commercial and industrial line insurance operations to compete in a market which was dominated by much older foreign-linked insurers.’’ he said.
Leadway has a diversified portfolio of subsidiary investments in pension fund management, trusteeship and hospitality.
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