The HOLLARD Botswana Leadership team of Jane Tselayakgosi and Lydia Andries epitomise both the shift happening in the Botswana insurance industry and the growth of business opportunities in the country.
As dynamic businesswomen, they have embraced the challenge of building a company that is completely Botswana-powered in a market dominated by subsidiaries of South African insurance companies. As mothers, they know the hardships and sacrifices that come with creating a work-home balance.
Established in May 2005 with an initial capital of P10 million, Hollard Insurance Botswana is powered solely by Botswana experts in personal and business insurance. This strong local knowledge allows Hollard to develop insurance solutions that are Botswana-specific.
Tselayakgosi developed an interest in the insurance sector during an internship in her university holidays. In those days, insurance was not an environment that was a popular career choice among graduates, with banking, auditing and accounting representing more obvious choices for B.Comm graduates. However, Jane’s intern experience piqued her interest sufficiently to encourage her to pursue "something different".
She originally joined a short-term insurance company In Botswana and, in progressing through the ranks, learnt about Hollard "by accident" when it was considering purchasing her employer.
"I was fascinated by the fact that this was one of the largest companies in South Africa and yet it was privately owned. I liked their track record and their way of doing business and was intrigued by their culture, because local insurance companies were traditionally corporate and rigid – and I was at a point in my life when I was looking to move away from accounting and engage in something completely new," she says.
Hence, when Hollard failed in their bid to purchase her employer while retaining an interest in establishing an operation in Botswana, Tselayakgosi's dream to lead a business became a real opportunity. She quit her job in December 2004 and began the process of applying for a license and establishing Hollard Insurance Botswana.
Born and educated in Botswana, Tselayakgosi is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the UK. She began her insurance career in 1990 of Botswana Insurance Company. She moved through the rank to general manager finance until leaving in 2004 to found Hollard Botswana as MD.
She describes her role at Hollard as being both operational and strategic, with her responsibilities extending to the daily operational performance of the business, via a senior management team accountable for specific areas of the operation.
Lydia Andries has nearly 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector, having started her insurance career in an administrative role, before pursuing an actuarial degree. She grew up in the mining town of Jwaneng where she lived until moving to Gaborone to launch her financial services career. She then promptly relocated to the UK to study. In June this year, she joined Hollard Life Botswana specifically to create a strategy that could build and grow the business and ensure its sustainability.
"This means driving both innovation and growth, as well as ensuring disciplined execution in the delivery of results. In the next few years Hollard Life will be expanding its service reach without losing focus on revenue generation and profitability," Andries says.
Andries was attracted to the Hollard culture, one in which everyone was equal, but the boundaries were respected. It was an environment where individuals were free to share ideas irrespective of seniority, while at the same time providing a platform for personal growth.
Both women also have to juggle a family life and children. Andries has been married to Obusitswe Andries for 17 years and is mother to two sons and two daughters and Tselayakgosi is mother to a daughter and a son.
"My children inspire me to become a better person. Seeing their innocent faces smiling at me and admiring me is priceless – they motivate me to seek out the best life has to offer and pursue a rewarding career to build a strong foundation for their lives," Andries says.
Motivation is also a strong theme in Tselayakgosi’s life. “I am motivated by success in whatever goals I’ve set myself personally and professionally. Specifically, I am driven by challenging myself to learn and master new things – and in mentoring young people, particularly women. I can share my experiences and lessons with the hope this will help them avoid the mistakes we often make earlier in our careers and I love seeing people grow and achieve their goals," she says.
Comparing the insurance landscapes in South Africa and Botswana, both women agree that the Botswana environment is highly competitive, as is the case in South Africa. New entrants are streaming into the broker-driven market. As with South Africa, increasing regulation is also an issue –while the regulatory environment in Botswana is not as stringent as in South Africa and legislation is enacted at a slightly lesser pace, the trends are similar.
But the market also faces significant challenges specific to Botswana – low education levels regarding insurance and its low perceived value mean that penetration rates are not as high as they should be.
"Botswana has a very low insurance market penetration – estimated at just 2% for life insurance – and that statistic highlights the significant opportunities for future growth. Understanding how best to optimise the balance between opportunities and risks within the sector is a significant challenge executives face today," Andries says.
Andries also believes that insurance companies have traditionally controlled the market, but that the recent promotion of banks as a key sales channel offered fresh opportunities for companies to gain new footholds.
"In emerging economies like Botswana, bancassurance – a partnership that allows banks to sell insurance products – has become critically important for insurance companies. Other innovative channels are also taking hold; retail distribution channels have raised their share of insurance sales and insurers are also using affinity groups like utility companies to sell policies. This shifting insurance landscape is exciting, presenting significant growth opportunities especially for new market entrants like ourselves," she says.
Tselayakgosi’s vision is for Hollard to be placed amongst the top 3 insurance companies in the market and to continue being at the forefront in providing consumers with affordable and relevant insurance solutions. "I also want Hollard to have the best team and be the number one company that professionals want to work for," she says.
As a parting shot, Tselayakgosi mentions that when she initially joined the industry, it was one dominated by men, but today there is an equal gender split among people holding senior and leadership positions. This will come as no surprise to anyone who encounters Tselayakgosi and, Andries – it seems that when it comes to female power, Hollard has plugged into a very rich vein of talent.
As South Africa's largest privately-owned insurance group, the Hollard Insurance Group includes the Hollard Insurance Company and Hollard Life Assurance Company. Established in 1980, the Group provides short-term and life insurance as well as investment products to a diverse customer base including individual consumers, commercial entities and corporate clients. It ranks among a growing number of companies advocating an inclusive growth model, measuring its social dividends aside its shareholder contributions.
Since inception, partnership has been at the heart of its business model, with the group today boasting over 100 ventures across the insurance value chain. Each one demonstrates the Hollard belief that there is always a better way. Headquartered in the historic Villa Arcadia in Parktown, Johannesburg, the group embraces 6 million policy holders in 10 countries on four continents. Hollard employs almost 3000 people across the globe and posted R15.3bn in premium income in the year to June 2014.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.