One Alliance CEO Says Targets Expansion in Africa Re-Insurance

One Alliance Insurance, the South African company that just sold Angola’s largest closely-held insurer by revenue, plans to start a re-insurance arm focused on the continent, Chief Executive Officer Robert Lewis said.

The firm is seeking a re-insurance license by June in the U.K. for a new company called One Re to do business in Africa, Lewis said today in an e-mailed response to questions. One Alliance is also targeting expansion in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Southern Sudan.

“In these three countries we will be aiming to establish property and casualty insurance companies aimed at large national and multinational organizations,” Lewis said.

Insurers including One Alliance and Old Mutual Plc, the U.K.-based company that has the biggest share in Africa insurance, are vying for business on a continent that’s seeing returns growing at a faster pace than more mature markets. Premiums in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, are expected to increase fourfold over the next five years, the country’s National Insurance Commission said yesterday.

Groupe Saham, a Morocco-based investment company, bought One Alliance’s GA Angola Seguros SA for an undisclosed amount on Nov. 20. The Angolan insurance market is valued at about $1 billion a year in gross written premiums, with policies dominated by the oil industry, according to a May report by Trevor Barsdorf, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Global Credit Rating Co. Angola is Africa’s largest crude producer after Nigeria.

Chairman Ivor Michael Alan Lewis began One Alliance in 2001 with Global Alliance Seguros in Mozambique, a company sold to Barclays in 2011, Robert Lewis said. Global Alliance Ghana was licensed in 2005 and sold in 2009 to the Activa Group, while GA Angola Seguros started in 2005 as the country’s first private insurance license granted in 30 years, he said.

GA, with revenue last year of $161 million or about 16 percent of Angola’s market, has a client list including General Electric Co., Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. energy company, Brazil’s Odebrecht SA and diamond producer De Beers, according to a company presentation.

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