Equity Bank to establish insurance business in Uganda 

Equity Group already has insurance operations in Kenya and is currently piloting insurance services in DR Congo. Photo / Edgar R Batte 

What you need to know:

  • Equity is currently piloting insurance services in DR Congo, which is expected to provide knowledge that it will need while rolling out insurance services across the four countries, including Uganda

Equity Group has approved a plan in which it will create a holding company to operate four subsidiaries, one of which will handle the insurance business including in Uganda. The holding company will also handle other subsidiaries, among which will include banking, technology, and a foundation. 

“Equity Group will now operate under four groups, the banking group, insurance group, technology group, and the foundation group,” a post-annual general meeting notice, reads in part. 

The approval is part of the larger plan in which Equity is seeking to establish insurance operations in four countries it now operates banking subsidiaries, among which include Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Rwanda. 

The Group already operates an insurance business in Kenya and is currently piloting insurance services in DR Congo, which is expected to provide knowledge that the Kenyan-based company will need in rolling out insurance services across the four countries above.  

Equity already operated life insurance in Kenya, where it had more than 11.5 million policies as of May 2024.

The DR Congo pilot is expected to provide key lessons before insurance services are launched in other subsidiaries.  

“Through a local partnership in the DRC from March 2024, we have commenced doing some distribution for risk products. As we progress, you will perhaps see more from a footprint perspective of the insurance business in the other regional markets in 2025 and beyond,” Equity Life Assurance managing director and principal officer Angela Okinda, told shareholders during the June 26 annual general meeting. 

Equity currently operates banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and DR Congo. 

However, the baking group is now seeking to diversify its operations by entering the insurance market, for which, shareholders have already given the green light for the incorporation of a health insurance subsidiary to undertake health insurance underwriting, first in Kenya, and later across the region.

We could not readily get a comment on when the Ugandan subsidiary hopes to roll out the insurance business. 

An email sent to Ms Barbara Among, the Equity Bank Uganda communications manager, remained unanswered by press time. 

Equity will be seeking to tap into one of Uganda’s most resilient components of the financial sector that continues to register growth despite dampened economic prospects.

For instance, during the period ended December 2023, insurance written premiums increased by 11.13 percent, rising by Shs160.3b, from Shs1.44 trillion in December 2022 to Shs1.6 trillion. 

Banks in Uganda largely sell insurance products through bancassurance. However, the approval by shareholders to form a subsidiary means that Equity will directly operate an insurance business.

Equity Group’s first insurance subsidiary was operationalised in March 2022 to provide life products, closing the quarter ended March with Shs596.5b (Ksh20.8b) in total assets and with a pre-tax profit of Shs9.2b (Ksh321m), a 106 percent growth from Shs4.4b (Ksh156m) in the same quarter last year.