The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Life Insurance Firms Write U.S.$183 Million

ZIMBABWE'S life insurance companies wrote US$183 million in net premiums in the half quarter to September 30, 2013, according to figures from a report by the Insurance and Pensions Commission.

The report is based on 10 life companies. This was an improvement from the parallel period last year when they recorded net premiums to the tune of US$129 million.

It also reflected a 33 percent and 86 percent annual and quarterly growth rates, respectively. This is attributable to improvements in policyholder confidence and the addition of two former funeral companies as highlighted above.

In terms of business composition, the IPEC report shows that for the period under review, the US$186 million in gross premium terms was constituted by 93 percent from recurring business and the balance of 7 percent was new business.

Corporate (employee benefit) business contributed US$132 million or 71 percent in gross premium whilst the balance was individual lines business.

"This trend may be attributable to the generally low disposable incomes moreso on the part of individuals and the shift of the economy towards the informal sector," explained the report.

On the other hand, in terms of business composition by policy type, it was noted that the three major classes of business were from fund business (US$107 million or 58 percent), funeral (27 percent or US$50 million) and GLA (US$18 million or 15 percent).

IPEC says it encourages product innovation both to dilute this concentration risk and for sustainability of the industry in the long haul given the ongoing changes in the socio-economic environment.

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