EMEKA EJERE |
UK insurer Prudential last week entered the Nigerian insurance market via a joint venture with Zenith Bank, one of the country’s biggest commercial banks, buying a stake in Zenith Life, the bank’s insurance business.
Zenith Life has N6.6bn of assets under management and annual gross written premium of N3.3bn. Prudential has bought a majority stake in Zenith Life but did not disclose the exact size of the stake, or the amount paid.
Zenith Life is Prudential’s fifth business in Africa. Since entering the market three years ago, it has gone into Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. But the African operations are still small compared with the group’s biggest businesses in Asia, the US and the UK.
With its landmark partnership with Prudential Plc, one of the oldest and most capitalized life insurance companies in the world to produce what is now known as Zenith-Prudential, Zenith Life may have redefined the nation’s insurance landscape.
The partnership, which will see Zenith Life trade under Zenith-Prudential Life, also involves an exclusive bancassurance agreement with Zenith Bank Plc in Nigeria and Ghana.
“The union is set to literarily redefine the Nigerian insurance sector considering the pedigree of Prudential Plc, as one of the oldest and most capitalized life insurance companies in the world and Zenith Life been one of the fastest growing life insurance companies in Nigeria, with gross written premium of N3.3 billion at the end of 2016,” a spokesperson for Zenith, Victor Adojie, said in a statement.
Zenith Life, incorporated in 2001, has grown its gross written premium by 22 per cent per annum over the last five years.
The partnership, according to Mr. Adojie, will see Zenith Life trade under Zenith-Prudential Life, and also involves an exclusive bancassurance agreement with Zenith Bank Plc in Nigeria and Ghana.
The partnership and bancassurance agreement will allow Prudential access to Nigeria’s huge 180 million-market, which is the largest in Africa, Mr. Adojie said.
Prudential Plc was founded in London in 1848 and, together with its affiliated companies, constitute one of the world’s leading financial services groups, serving around 24 million insurance customers, with £599 billion of assets under management (as at 31 December 2016).
The company, which has operations in the UK, the US, Africa and 14 markets in Asia, is incorporated in England and Wales and is listed on the stock exchanges in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York.
Mr. Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank and Zenith Life, said: “This landmark transaction is set to redefine the life insurance industry in Nigeria. Given the combination of Zenith Life’s local presence with one of the world’s oldest and most successful life insurers, we expect Zenith-Prudential Life to act as a significant catalyst within the sector. We anticipate creating thousands of employment opportunities in Nigeria by embarking on this transformational deal”
Matt Lilley, Chief Executive of Prudential Africa, said: “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for Prudential and our growing portfolio of high quality life insurance businesses in Africa. We are excited by the opportunity of partnering with Zenith Bank, one of the largest and most dynamic banks in Africa, and working with our new colleagues to build Zenith-Prudential into a leader in Nigeria’s growing life insurance industry.”
In his contribution, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, Mr. Peter Amangbo, said: “Zenith Bank has always sought to partner with best-in-class global players. By developing a bancassurance offering in conjunction with Zenith-Prudential Life, we will be positioned to offer our clients a greater bouquet of products, enhancing our ability to meet their financial needs.”
Zenith Bank Plc, one Nigeria’s biggest bank, provides corporate, business and personal banking products through its network of over 350 branches, serving millions of customers.