The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has cautioned the public that the announced takeover of Saham Assurance Company by MUA Insurance Kenya is yet to be filed for approval.
Saham and MUA, whose parent firm is based in Mauritius, announced the deal to the public and clients between January 10 and January 13 without notifying the regulator.
MUA plans to buy 100 percent of the shares of Saham, which is owned by South Africa’s Sanlam Group.
“Please note that this transaction has not been approved by the Insurance Regulatory Authority as provided for under the Insurance Act,” Chief Executive Godfrey Kiptum said in the notice.
Saham managing director Lydia Kibaara told the Business Daily that the parties expect to file papers seeking the IRA’s approval in the next few days, adding that they had been working on the documentation.
Saham’s executives were summoned by the regulator in the wake of the announcement, indicating that the announcement was premature.
The IRA said Saham only made an informal notification but has not yet filed the requisite applications.
“As a client of Saham Kenya you may be wondering what impact this acquisition will have on your insurance portfolio,” Saham wrote to clients on January 13.
“The Saham Kenya team will continue providing same professional services and support to all our clients ensuring you have the same familiar faces to assist you with all your insurance needs.”
During President Uhuru Kenyata’s visit to Mauritius last year, MUA announced plans to boost its Kenyan investment by $30 million (Sh3 billion), through the acquisition of a local insurer.
MUA entered the Kenyan market through a Sh2.2 billion acquisition of Phoenix Trans Africa Holdings with operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda under Phoenix East Africa Limited.
Saham, which has a market share of 1.54 per cent with Sh1.62 billion in premiums, was bought by Sanlam in 2018 but the business was not merged with the multinational’s other subsidiary in the country (Sanlam Kenya).
This meant they held two separate licences. Following pressure from the regulator to merge the licences, Sanlam offered to sell off Saham.