Nicoz Diamond angles for SMEs

INSURANCE giant NicozDiamond Insurance Limited is remodeling its products as it angles for the  growing and uninsured SME sector

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NicozDiamond general manager special projects Gugulethu Ngwenya

NicozDiamond general manager special projects Gugulethu Ngwenya

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Competition from unconventional insurance players intensify is forcing traditional insurance companies to innovate.

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Nicoz is presently mulling introducing a new homeowner’s insurance package targeting the lower end of the market, especially those in the high density suburbs.

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The product, which will be called Chengeto, has an average monthly premium of US$4,50.

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General manager special projects Ms Gugulethu Ngwenya said the group recognised the new economic dispensation where SMES have become drivers of the economy, contributing significantly to the annual GDP and employing over half of the country’s employable population.

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Yet the same SME sector remains largely uninsured.

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“That is where the money is. SMEs are in all key sectors of the economy, mining, agriculture and manufacturing. We want to follow the money,” she said during an analysts briefing in Harare.

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The group is partnering with organisations already working with SMEs for guidance on appropriate packages for the sector, at competitive prices.

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However, the company is concerned over the convergence of markets where the entrance of other players like mobile phone operators into the insurance sector threatens their bottom line.

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“Everyone is coming into our space; banks, mobile phones and these have access to large audiences. Our challenge is coming up with strategies that keep us relevant in the market and give us a competitive edge,” she said.

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NicozDiamond’s gross premium underwritten for the first quarter of 2015 grew 44 percent to US$10,3 million from US$7,15 million achieved in the same period last year.

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One of the group’s latest acquisition, United General Insurance (UGI) of Malawi, played a significant role in the growth.

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However, the group’s profit for the year ended December 30, 2014 dropped 52 percent to US$1,39 million from US$2,31 million on losses incurred by its Mozambique subsidiary, Diamond Seguros.