Botswana insurance Company (BIC) is as old as the local insurance industry. The largest short term insurer in the country has reached 40 years of operating as a business. As they celebrate the present, the company has readied itself for the future and the next forty years look promising.
The BIC story in the words of Managing Director, Johann Claasen, is told in three parts:
THE PIONEERS – These are the people that started with a vision for BIC. They wanted to provide protection that would not only create peace of mind for the individual but would help businesses sustain themselves and have some form of business continuity, if losses were incurred.
THE COUNTRY – They also chose Botswana which at the time was a country which had not reached its peak but with good sound governance, a plan for socio economic development, visionary leadership and a solid reputation for being a peaceful nation, there was certainly a sense of hope and confidence that Botswana would one day surface and create an impression on the global map.
“We are proud to be a local brand that carries the name of this country and spreading it beyond our borders,” said Claasen. The road to 40 years has been a roller coaster and the company has achieved tremendous growth over the years, explained the MD.
THE PEOPLE – Our customers of which we have 17000, “we are proud to have loyal customers that have been with us since BIC’s first 10 years – your belief and commitment in BIC is important.
Claasen thanked the team at BIC as well as the Brokers who make the insurance industry to tick. The future is certainly bright for BIC as the company has accommodated and adopted latest technologies to ensure that services are at the click of a burton away for customers.
A thankful managing director, Claasen, told the gathering that: “Together we have turned one idea into a company that empowers people to feel at ease knowing that if they had to encounter a loss, they are covered. We have empowered our intermediary distribution partners to build sound, integral business that add to the enrichment of Batswana and to the growth of not only the private sector but to the other socio development landscape. We have given our staff the platform to reach their full potential and they know that they have what is the ability to make it happen in their own lives.”
The company is now focused on service delivery a focus on getting customer feedback and market research for client evolving requirements, faster claim turnaround times, shorter convenient processes and multiple convenient points of payment such as mobile money and on the newly launched website.
BIC aims to be more relationship driven in the future, with partnerships between brokers and agents, strategic affiliations with Reinsurers and industry leaders, media and bancassurance growth.
New products will also drive growth with product innovation such as cyber crime insurance and more participation in other markets gaps that the company has identified.
BIC is also focused on Corporate Social Responsibility, supporting partners such as Cancer Association; The Botswana Society; Dignity Foundation; Happy Boys an d various donations and sponsorships and being part of a monthly sanitary pad drive.
BIC is now a subsidiary of Masawara Plc, an AIM listed company with interests across the continent. BIC opened its doors for business on the 12th February 1975, aiming at providing insurance solutions for general insurance and life assurance business. The company originally had two shareholders being Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) who held a 51 percent stake and JH Minet and Company Limited of London who held the remaining 49 percent.
THE BIC CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
According Claasen, BIC is not just a private company interested in making profits. He is of the view that they are a socially responsible company that is duty bound to contribute to the country’s development agenda. He linked the role of the BIC to some of the wider agendas of Botswana.
He pointed out that they are aware that government and other stakeholders are working hard to push the job creation drive. He said they continue to support government initiatives such as the internship programme.
He said they provide internship to various graduates including those from an insurance background, finance, marketing, information and technology, administration and other disciplines. He said they currently employ hundreds of citizens around the country especially at their centres in Gaborone, Francistown and Maun.
He also drew interest on the subject of diversification. Claasen said as an industry, the insurance sector has the potential to help government diversify the economy which is heavily dependent on mining, especially dimaonds mining. He said they keep on coming with new products that could motivate diversification from the insurance perspective.
Although the insurance market penetration in Botswana is only estimated at 3.5 percent, Claasen said the new industry laws will soon reveal more opportunities for the sector players.
The BIC Managing Director was happy to also report that his company continues to play a big role in the education sector. He said they are working with several institutions of higher learning to ensure that modules related to the insurance industry are tailor made for the industry. He said they are currently working with the Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) to produce an insurance module.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.
Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.
A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.
Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.
Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.