The insurance space is ripe for growth, considering the low 1 percent market penetration of the sector in Botswana. However, the oldest short term insurer in the country, Botswana Insurance Company, is looking at playing in the blind spot to generate more business and grow.
Botswana’s insurance market penetration is on par with the rest of the continent, excluding South Africa, with a figure of 14, 28 percent, whose highly developed industry far surpasses the worldwide penetration figure of 3.5 percent to 6 percent.
Besides increased competition in the market with more players coming into the insurance space in the last five years, there is competition coming from all over the world including South Africa, China, India and the rest of Africa.
“Unfortunately, it becomes more of a rate issue then a service issue,” said Claasen.
But Claasen said that underwriting cycle, globally, is soft at the moment.
An underwriting cycle is said to begin when insurers tighten their underwriting standards and sharply raise premiums after a period of severe underwriting losses. Stricter standards and higher premium rates often bring dramatic increases in profits, attracting more capital to the insurance industry and raising underwriting capacity.
On the other hand, as insurers strive to write more premiums at higher levels of profitability, premium rates may be driven down and underwriting standards relaxed in the competition for new business. Profits may erode and then turn into losses if more tax underwriting standards generate mounting claims. The stage would then be set for the cycle to begin again.
The underwriting cycle is considered a risk for the insurance sector as it requires quick recognition so that insurers can acclamatise and change swiftly enough.
Claasen, earlier this year, said told this publication that: “With increased competition, obviously the market becomes a little bit more difficult and more competitive. But over and above that, your broker community has also increased quite significantly and the biggest proportion of business in short term insurance is generated from brokers so this means competition has grown and that puts pressure on rates.”
Having recently reached a milestone in celebrating its 40th anniversary in business operations, BIC, last week launched a new more interactive website that allows claims to be made and processed online. Claasen told BusinessPost that the company will be bringing in more technology use with mobile apps and software aimed at creating client convenience, using technical devices for.
Claasen said that potential lies in the Agriculture insurance product whose take up has been slow but word is bound to spread about some significant pay outs that have been made recently, that are likely to galvanise farmers into taking out insurance.
BIC is a subsidiary of Masawara Plc which is listed on the Aim London Stock Exchange and has interests across Africa, various sectors. BIC has a AA- credit rating and services 17,000 clients directly as well as through agency and broker channels.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.