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VENTURES AFRICA – Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM), a unit of South Africa’s second biggest insurance firm, is poised to open new operations in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola and other East African countries in the year ahead, it said on Thursday.
SEM has operations in 12 emerging market countries on three continents and believes that these countries, in spite of everything, are likely to grow faster and better than their developed market counterparts.
“We have optimistic projections for 2014 and are quietly confident that our developing market investments will report good growth,” Heinie Werth, CEO of SEM, said.
SEM contributes almost 20 percent to the Sanlam group’s gross earnings and has operations in 10 African countries, mostly in Anglophone Africa.
The planned further expansion into Africa has been driven by the fact that in Africa, insurance infiltration in the short term and life categories is at lower levels.
SEM said Africa’s insurance penetration is about 1.6 percent, which is lower than India’s 3.4 percent.
“The biggest potential contributions to our business, purely due to scale, will be from India during 2014 and Nigeria over time,” he continued.
At 14 percent, South Africa is among the highest insurance penetrations anywhere in the world, according to SEM.