Business

French insurance brokerage firm ventures into Ugandan market

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By FARIDAH KULABAKO

Posted  Monday, May 19   2014 at  01:00
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HOIMA.
Uganda’s oil and gas sector has continued to attract players who seek to cash in on the opportunities presented by the industry as the country progresses towards the production phase.
Gras Savoye Insurance Brokers, a French firm which launched last week is the latest entrant in the market.
The company hopes to rely on its vast expertise in handling complex insurance tasks especially in the oil and gas business to cash in on the lucrative but high risk, high capital oil and gas industry.

World class firm
Speaking at the launch in Kampala, the company deputy chairman East Africa, Mr Johnny Evans said: “We are a heavily capitalised company with world class competence to handle even the most complex business tasks such as those in the oil and gas sector.”

Local insurance firms were also urged to position themselves to tap into the sector by forming an oil and gas insurance pool to help the sector underwrite huge oil and gas risks that require huge financial capital and expertise.
Gras Savoye joins the market at a time when insurance brokerage firms are complaining of declining business deal sas most insurance policy buyers prefer to buy directly from insurance companies rather than going through brokerage firms, a move brokers say has affected their operations.

Available statistics indicate that the insurance policies bought through brokers in the last two years in Uganda declined from 40 per cent to the current 35 per cent, compared to the 75 per cent in Kenya and 80 per cent in Tanzania.

Insurance brokers serve as intermediaries between insurance companies and their clients, offer consultancy services to insurance buyers by providing counsel in terms of which insurance policies to buy and at what cost.
They also help insurance companies to collect and remit insurance premiums from the policyholders in addition to helping clients secure appropriate claims from the insurers in a timely manner.

Late last year, the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) warned that it would not re-license brokers that don’t remit premiums to insurance firms in time.
This followed several complaints from insurers that brokers were not remitting premiums collected by brokers on their behalf, resulting into huge outstanding balances of about Shs50 billion as of June 2013, which affected insurers’ ability to pay claims promptly.

About Gras Savoye
Gras Savoye is the leading insurance broker in France and also operates in Kenya among other African countries The group is specialised in three main activities including brokerage of insurance products such as risk analysis, contract drafting and negotiation with insurance companies, contract management on behalf of insurers and clients and advisory services.

fkulabako@ug.nationmedia.com