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Continental Reinsurance Announces Growth Plans for North Africa

Lagos, Tunis – 25 April 2014:  Continental Reinsurance Plc, Africa’s largest private reinsurer outside of South Africa, has announced the opening of a regional office in Tunis and the introduction of its Takaful offering.

The insurance industry in North Africa is the biggest in terms of total market gross premium written in Africa, apart from South Africa.

Dr Femi Oyetunji, Group Managing Director/CEO of Continental Reinsurance PLC said: “Our strategically positioned local office in Tunis is a central location, which greatly helps extend our reach into the Maghreb and North African markets.  Being close to our clients allows us to improve our insight into local markets, better understand their needs and local risk requirements, and deliver locally relevant offerings.”

He said the opening of the regional office in Tunis is part of Continental Reinsurance’s strategic approach to develop the African reinsurance market and to realize the Company’s vision to be the premier Pan-African reinsurer.

“It’s important for Africa’s development and growth to have strong, robust and large reinsurance institutions so that African premiums remain in Africa,” said Dr Oyetunji.

The launch of the Tunis office is coupled with the introduction of Continental Reinsurance’s Takaful offering, which will serve clients and partners from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The exponential growth of Takaful has led to increasing demand for Retakaful capacity, particularly in the region of North Africa which has a majority Islamic population in the range of 95%–99%.  “It is Continental Reinsurance’s aim to meet local market needs by developing innovative offerings,” said Dr Oyetunji.

Life insurance is currently significantly underdeveloped in the majority of Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Global Takaful premium is presently estimated at US$9.15 billion and is projected to grow to US$25 billion by 2015 – and African income is projected to grow at the same pace.  Life insurance business in the region is expected to grow in conjunction with the higher discretionary income levels and demographic structure of the area.

Continental Reinsurance has already been doing business in Algeria, Morocco and Libya over the past few years and the new Tunisian office will act as Continental Reinsurance’s underwriting centre for the Maghreb. Five of the top ten insurance markets on the continent are found in this region and have average insurance penetration rates that are higher than those of most African markets.

One of the factors that makes North Africa a desirable option for the setting up of an office are its high growth prospects. The region’s demographics and per capita income nuances reflect compelling indications of prosperous growth for insurance in both the Life and Non-Life sectors.

Mrs. Dorsaf Sassi has been appointed as the Regional Director for the newly established Continental Reinsurance office in Tunis.  She brings to the region her extensive reinsurance experience in the Tunisian and North African markets.

“It’s important to keep in mind that the insurance market in North Africa is still in its infancy and accounts for roughly 0.46% of total world premiums, including the Middle East.  And its contribution to Gross Development Product is still below international standards.  However, this also means we have phenomenal growth prospects,” said Mrs Sassi. “Our regional office in Tunis will enable Continental Reinsurance to play a significant role in the region’s growth and development by delivering world-class service and locally relevant offerings to our clients and partners.”

Continental Reinsurance is one of a few reinsurance companies in Africa committed to sustainable business and corporate responsibility by signing up to the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance. Signatories to this accord commit to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their core business strategies and operations.

Established in 1985, and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2007, Continental Reinsurance provides support to over 200 insurance companies in Africa. It has operations in 44 African countries, with its main offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia.

The Company has plans underway for the opening of another office later in 2014 to support business development plans in southern Africa.

(Ends)

ABOUT CONTINENTAL REINSURANCE

Continental Reinsurance is the leading composite professional reinsurance company in Africa. The Company offers a full suite of non-Life and Life reinsurance services to African insurers. It is rated B+ (Good) by AM Best for financial strength and credited for robust risk-adjusted capital.

 

Continental Reinsurance thinks globally but acts locally. It operates in more than 46 African countries and has expanded its regional footprint with offices in Cameroun, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and Tunisia. Continental Reinsurance began operations in 1987 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2007.

 

It has strong differentiators that make it a strong leader in the market, namely:

§   A solid range of international shareholders (including Emerging Capital Partners, CDC UK, Al Rasheed, Investec Asset Management, Salag Limited and a number of insurers)

§   A consistent and strong track record. The Company has shareholder funds in excess of US$84 million, and total assets exceed US$154 million.

§   Leading the trend for opening fully licensed subsidiaries across the African Continent. Continental Reinsurance Ltd, Kenya was launched in July 2012.

§   A team of in-house actuaries, plus external support who have put in place a rigorous Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework and work across all of its offices.

§   An energy specialty practice with extensive knowledge of the African oil and gas industry offering a range of underwriting competencies.

 

Continental Reinsurance is continuing to build the premier pan-African Reinsurance Company, premised on ‘Sustainable Trust’.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Mrs Dorsaf Sassi

Regional Director: Tunis

Tel no: +216 71 964 997 / 988

Mobile: +216 98 631 930

Email: dsassi@continental-re.com

 

Or

 

Ms Lynette Lambert

Tel no: +44 20 7638 6856

 

Or

 

Ms Elsie Mbera

Tel no: +254 20 242 9391/2/3

Mobile no: +254 733 780 420