Fri, 29/09/2017 - 07:40
Current Issue 54
Here For You
Sacos Insurance Group has established itself as the leading insurance provider in the Seychelles over the past 37 years, offering an expansive range of services to rival competitors all over the world
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Sacos Insurance Group has achieved numerous accolades since inception and this August the Company celebrated its 37th anniversary, quite an accomplishment for a business operating in the Seychelles.
Its longevity in the industry emanates from an in-depth knowledge of insurance solutions and products, as well as an ability to continuously provide solutions that meet the requirements of clients.
In August, 1980 Sacos began work as a parastatal company, acting as a reinsurer until it was ready to launch itself as a separate insurance entity. After entering the market, life assurance was added to its portfolio and from that point an extensive range of products has been added to the Company’s repertoire.
“We take a lot of pride in the range of services offered at Sacos,” explains John Esther, Chief Executive Officer at Sacos Insurance Group. “Beyond our insurance, we have also taken the time to engage in property management of both residential and commercial complexes.”
Being adaptive - despite fierce competition all around - the Company has remained the dominant player in the market, as well as obtaining a name for itself as one of the strongest corporate entities in the Seychelles.
In recent times, the Company has embarked on a different and exciting strategic direction in attempts to simplify both its structures and procedures.
“We conducted an extensive review and evaluation of all our operations and have since used the collated information to embark on a process of amalgamation, improving efficiencies across the board,” continues Esther. “It is our aim to create one company trading as Sacos Insurance Group and a second separate Sacos Life Assurance Company Limited, as life business needs to be separated.”
Market-leading insurance solutions
Sacos has built up an extensive range of products with a mission to provide market-leading insurance solutions to the country, continuously working to identify products that meet specific needs.
“We have progressed tremendously over the years from our starting point offering motor insurance to the people of the Seychelles,” states Esther. “Today we are able to offer far more complex solutions, including credit protection insurance, liability insurance, engineering, fire and special perils, marine insurance, health insurance, travel insurance, householder’s insurance and personal accident.”
Of course at the centre of all this product development, Sacos is always searching for innovative ways to adapt its products further in order to better meet its clients’ demands. In this respect, the Company is introducing a tiered motor comprehensive insurance product.
“The tiered product we are putting in place will not only offer our clients a broader range of options, but also give our clients the flexibility to tailor their policies,” states Esther. “All of this is happening whilst our clients are comforted by the knowledge that they are adequately covered at all times.”
As a whole the Seychelles has a relatively small insurance industry, especially when you compare it to many developed countries located around the world. Subsequently, the possibility for the Company to have a fully-developed research unit locally is a challenge.
“We have had to make frequent use of the services available to us from many of our regional partners,” Esther explains. “They have been able to assist us in developing and introducing new products. Of course in the long run we intend to develop our departmental facilities to respond faster to market needs.”
Both Sacos Insurance Group and its subsidiaries have invested in a large number of commercial and residential properties, enabling it to balance its investment portfolio in line with strategic diversification guidelines. When taking into account the huge demand in the Seychelles for land, office space and accommodation, investing heavily in property has been a wise investment for the Company.
“However, we want to ensure that our properties provide us with competitive returns, as well as our policy holders,” adds Esther. “Bearing that in mind - alongside our drive in optimisation - we have conducted a wholesale revaluation of our properties which allowed us to make any relevant adjustments.”
In order to remain fully up-to-date with the goings on in the Seychelles and to act as a truly Seychellois company, the majority of the workforce is local. Currently only one expatriate is working in the Company’s finance department, in which very specific skills were required that were not readily available locally.
“One of the things that we strongly believe within this company is in the capability of the local people surrounding us to deliver good work, which of course is of an international standard,” explains Esther. “The local people have also been strengthened by the continuous improvement of the Seychelles economy, making our local business environment more competitive.”
Not only does the Company have to compete for its clients in the market, but also sourcing the best talents that are available locally; and subsequently, to aid that, Sacos has introduced an employee value proposition including a salary and reward structure.
“Through introducing this programme we have strengthened our management team thanks to bringing in new talents, while also retaining our well-established staff,” adds Esther. “Of course when we have found the right staff, we then need to continuously look to improve our skills and services through providing our staff with training opportunities to harness their skills.”
Over the years the Company has placed a lot of importance on developing local partnerships, building a strong legacy in the Seychelles through strong bonds with local businesses.
Having been in operation for more than 37 years in the Seychelles, Sacos has many longstanding relationships with its clients and continues to explore the best possible ways to offer new products and delivery channels that will better meet their needs.
“It is pivotal to our business and business relationships that we ensure investments are safe with us,” affirms Esther. “In order to achieve this we are supported by world-class reinsurers, while regularly conducting an internal review of processes to see how we can improve our services.
“During our time in the industry, we have weathered a number of tumultuous times economically, but we have always come out stronger than before. We believe our longevity within the industry is a true reflection of the commitment we have shown to our clients over the years.”
Although the Company is well established within the Seychelles insurance industry, Sacos isn’t afraid to make changes to the business and has recently engaged in a comprehensive rebranding process. The aim of this most recent rebranding was to achieve an international-standard brand that can easily stand on-par with the best in the world.
“We believe we have successfully achieved this through thorough research of what was required in order for us to continue competing in the Seychelles, while also analysing systems and processes with thanks to feedback from our clients,” concludes Esther. “Currently we are in a reconfiguring stage with this rebranding, but once we achieve this I believe it will drive expectations across the rest of the industry and enable us to be at the forefront of understanding the ever-changing expectations of our clients moving forward.”