BIC turns 40
BIC Managing Director, Johann Claasen
Botswana Insurance Company Limited (BIC) is proud to announce that this year, 2015, is its 40th yearin business. BIC opened its doors for business on the 12th August 1975, aiming at providing insurancesolutions for both general insurance and life assurance business.
The Company was originally divided between two parties, with Botswana Development Corporation holding 51% of the shares and J.H. Minet & Company Limited of London the remaining 49%. In 1985, J.H. Minet sold its 49% holding to St Paul (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary company of the St Paul Incorporation of Minnesota USA.
In 1991, Botswana Insurance Company, to comply with the Botswana Insurance act of 1987, was subsequently restructured to provide only short term market solutions.
BIC is a subsidiary of Masawara Plc, which has interests across Africa in insurance, the hospitality industry and agrochemicals sector.
The Insurance company is the longest serving short term insurance provider in Botswana, with a head office in Gaborone, and 2 branches, one based in Francistown catering for the Northern region and another in Maun, targeting sector specific industries for specialized insurance, particularly for Aviation and Tourism. With a sound reputation, BIC is still the leading insurer in the short term industry since its inception in 1975.
BIC has maintained its leadership status by continuously being product oriented, in terms of customising clients ever changing needs, innovative by embracing technology and including it as a fundamental component of the business growth strategy, being customer centric and forming key strategic affiliations, specifically in reinsurance.
A robust service delivery model of exceptional short‐term insurance products and services aimed at specific markets, as well as optimizing our Broker & Agency network as the main delivery channel is the key drive of the business. BIC has the capabilities and expertise to provide insurance covers for personal, commercial and specialised lines of business.
BIC was the first insurance company in Botswana to be awarded an AA‐credit rating, which is the highest national rating a short term insurer in Botswana can currently attain as accorded by Credit Global Ratings.
The AA‐ credit rating was achieved through BIC’s firm capital accumulation, through sound earnings generation, underwriting profits and stable investment income. Further, BIC’s balanced investment strategy, which is supportive of adequate liquidity metrics, underpinning its claims paying ability was an important added factor.
BIC has contributed tremendously to socio‐economic d evelopment and employment creation.
Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) is a crucial component of the business , and in 2014 BIC won a Vision 2016 award for its contribution to social development, based on its sustainable partnership approach strategy for CSR.
BIC’s talent pool is also vital to growth; BIC has invested heavily in training its team, and is one of the only short term insurance companies to have a fully functional local operational team, looking at various core functions as well as support services.
The BIC team commemorated their 40th anniversary on the 12 August, simultaneously at the head office and its Francistown and Maun branches. BIC Managing Director, Johann Claasen highlighted that the road to 40 years has been a roller coaster ride and the company has achieved tremendous growth over the years.
"Today we want to say a big thanks to you all for your dedication and immense value add to the company", Claasen emphasised to employees.
BIC has a number of initiatives planned in celebrating this milestone through a ‘40 years of making it happen’ campaign which will run through to the end of November 2015.
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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.
The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.
“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices. Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.
“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.
Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.
“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.
Food import bill slightly declines
The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.
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Moody’s Reaffirms African Trade Insurance’s A3 Rating & Revises Outlook to Positive
Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has affirmed the A3 insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) for the fifth consecutive year and changed the outlook from stable to positive.
Moody’s noted that the change in outlook to positive reflects the strong growth in ATI’s membership base – that has resulted in improved portfolio diversification, strengthened capital adequacy, and the good profitability despite the challenging operating environment. In addition, ATI benefits from its preferred creditor status (PCS) amongst sovereign member states which protects it from the risk of default by member sovereigns through securing recoveries against claims paid on guarantees.
The strong membership and equity growth are some of the key considerations for the consistent reinstatement of ATI’s A/Stable rating by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating, over the years. Also supporting the rating affirmation are; consistent improvement in financial performance, commitment of its shareholders who continue to uphold the preferred creditor status, its high quality and conservative investment portfolio as well as strong relationships with a number of global reinsurers that provide significant risk-bearing capacity.
With the change in outlook to “positive”, ATI is now better placed to provide enhanced support to its member countries, attract additional shareholding and grow its portfolio. The positive outlook is an indication that if ATI continues to demonstrate its strong underwriting performance and ability to recover claims under the preferred creditor arrangements, among other factors, an upward pressure towards an upgrade may be generated. The Moody’s press release can be accessed from here
Commenting on the rating, Africa Trade Insurance Chief Executive Officer Manuel Moses said: “This positive revision is in line with our 2023 – 2027 strategic objectives in which we set to improve our rating outlook to positive in the first year, and achieve an upgrade of at least “AA”/Stable rating by both Moody’s and S&P within this Strategic Plan period. We aim to achieve this by doubling our exposures and increasing our capital to more than USD1 billion.”
ATI’s mandate is to provide trade-credit and political risk insurance, as well as other risk mitigation products to its member countries and related public and private sector actors. These insurance products not only directly encourage and facilitate foreign direct investment as well as local private sector investment in our member countries, but also contribute to intra- and extra-African trade.
About The African Trade Insurance Agency
ATI was founded in 2001 by African States to cover trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI predominantly provides Political Risk, Credit Insurance and, Surety Insurance. Since inception, ATI has supported US$78 billion worth of investments and trade into Africa. For over a decade, ATI has maintained an ‘A/Stable’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by Standard & Poor’s, and in 2019, ATI obtained an A3/Stable rating from Moody’s, which has now been revised to A3/Positive.