Market News

South Africa-based Old Mutual eyes Kenya expansion

Billionaire investor Chris Kirubi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Billionaire investor Chris Kirubi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

South African insurer Old Mutual has signalled it intends to expand its Kenya operations as it positions itself to take a bigger chunk of the local insurance market.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed financial services firm, which two years ago acquired a 60.7 per cent in UAP insurance, said it would seek to expand its real estate and health insurance segments.

“Old Mutual Emerging Markets is to focus on building a high-quality property and casualty book in Kenya,” Peter Moyo, newly appointed chief executive of Old Mutual Emerging Markets’ said in a statement.

“We will also look to drive cost-efficiencies by taking advantage of its scale across the markets in which we operate.”
In Kenya, UAP has the third largest property and casualty market share, the second largest health insurance business, a substantial property investment portfolio and a fast growing life insurance business.

Old Mutual bought the 60.7 per cent of UAP in two separate deals in January, initially buying 23.3 per cent from billionaire investor Chris Kirubi and NSE-listed firm Centum before taking up another 37.33 per cent stake from three private equity firms.

South African insurance giants have lately been flexing their financial muscle through locally owned units in Kenya.

The subsidiaries of South African underwriters UAP Old Mutual Group and Sanlam Kenya have, for instance, in the recent past indicated they will actively seek a piece of the Sh30 billion marine cargo insurance market by issuing cover to traders backed by parent firms.