A 25-Year Commitment to Quality Service
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) has made its mark in Kenya over the past 25 years virtue of a desire to provide excellent technical services to the region’s insurance domain, and is now looking to leverage this experience to become the pre-eminent reinsurer in Africa.
The regional organisation has been charged with the task of promoting trade, development and integration within the COMESA (The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) region since it was formally set up in 1992; achieving this goal through the trade of insurance and reinsurance business.
And subsequently gearing its operations towards developing its technical services for the sake of its clients, ZEP-RE has successfully instilled itself across both strands of the sector.
“ZEP-RE has, over the past 25 years, created a brand which provides its clients with high quality products and services,” Managing Director, Hope Murera affirms. “This includes products and services across motor and liability; miscellaneous accidents; marine hull and cargo; aviation; fire; engineering; life and micro-insurance; bonds; COMESA Yellow Cards; and Retakaful business.
“ZEP-RE is a respected regional Reinsurer within the COMESA region and beyond. We have a strong operating position in the region and a significant physical presence in the key markets of Africa.”
Driving its overall ambition of becoming the pre-eminent reinsurer on the continent, Murera attributes the Company’s key differentiator as being its loyal, skilled, indigenous and experienced workforce; compounded by a hierarchy that has our clients’ best interests and long-term future of the business at heart.
Murera continues: “The Company has strong, diverse and supportive shareholders who have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the Company as evidenced by the injection of additional shareholder funds to the tune of $50 million during the past three years.”
Headquartered in Nairobi since inception, its regional influence is ensured by a physical presence in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Sudan; all of which have evolved and split into three key hubs as follows: the Eastern and Southern African hub (operating out of Nairobi, Kenya), the Southern Africa hub (operating out of Harare, Zimbabwe) and the Western Africa hub (operating out of Abidjan, Ivory Coast).
Expansion has been a theme running throughout the business’s service portfolio as well, with the Company priding itself on the ability to build capacities at a quick yet sustainable rate.
“This has been one of our great milestones over the years to make this contribution towards building capacities in the region and a recent example, in September, 2016, saw us launch the ZEP-RE Academy to train local and regional insurance executives,” Murera explains. “The ZEP-RE Academy, the first of its kind on the African continent, has been established in collaboration with the College of Insurance to train insurance executives on reinsurance. We seek to address the skill gaps identified in an ever-changing market environment.
“In the area of publication, we launched a book authored by ZEP-RE in collaboration with the College of Insurance, titled Proficiency in Short Term Reinsurance Practice. Work on other titles on various insurance classes is ongoing. We trust that the training delivery in Africa will be substantially improved through the provision of this and other local literature on reinsurance operations.”
In order to continue providing support to the industry in terms of entrenching best practice, the emphasis once again stems back to skills development in the COMESA region.
Murera adds: “A competitive recruitment process is being undertaken. There is a training budget for each and every staff member which is followed according to their personal development plans that are aligned to the Company’s objectives.
“The Company’s terms & conditions of service are structured in such a way as to retain the critical skills and remuneration is then reviewed in tandem with market competitiveness.”
Good corporate governance
Where ZEP-RE has a host office, this employment strategy remains a local one too, with the bulk of staff sourced from each respective country without diluting the quality of the overall operations.
This shines a light on another key facet of the Company’s ultimate ethos in Africa: to act responsibly and sustainably for the betterment of the surrounding communities as well as just for ZEP-RE and its immediate clients.
“ZEP-RE is committed to principles of good corporate governance. We stand for a form of responsible company management and control geared at long-term creation of wealth and value for shareholders,” Murera details. “We place critical importance on promoting and respecting the interests of shareholders, efficient supervisory practices at board level, a communication policy that is open and transparent both internally and externally, and an appreciation of other stakeholders interests.”
Outside of its stakeholder remit, initiatives undertaken by ZEP-RE include the Global Give Back Circle initiative aimed at empowering disadvantaged girls; the Educate Her parade and Farasi Lane School initiative by way of contributions and funding; and through the Gashora Girls Academy in Rwanda where ZEP-RE once again supports the girls’ school from an education and healthcare perspective.
“Social responsibility is an integral part of ZEP-RE’s business, representing one of its core values of being a responsible corporate citizen,” Murera enthuses. “Over the 20 years of being in service, ZEP-RE has continued to mainly support the education sector in the continent of Africa and will continue to do so in the future.”
The pre-eminent reinsurer in Africa
Further to its influence on people and industry, the creation of local capacity also addresses the supply chain and the enhancement of local businesses via the formation of TAN-RE in Tanzania, Uganda Re in Uganda and WAICA Re in West Africa.
And across each and every satellite office and regional hub, the Company looks to maintain the momentum of improvement via ongoing upgrades and investments. Recently, these have entailed the computerisation of all services as well as the refinement of its ultra-modern insurance system which assists on processing claims and premiums online.
The recent upgrade in 2016 of the Company’s credit rating from B+ to B++, despite a challenging business environment in the region, is evidence of the strong credential the Company possesses as a reinsurance security and should place the Company in good stead to compete and provide further assurance to its cedants.
All of this will help stand the Company in good stead in the future as it once again brings to mind the overriding goal of continental grandeur.
“In line with our 10-year strategy, ZEP-RE will be the pre-eminent reinsurer in Africa. We will grow our physical footprint to bring us even closer to our clients and thereby continue to provide them with first-class service,” Murera states. “We will be a trusted thought-partner providing access to world-leading technical expertise and groundbreaking approaches to our clients’ underwriting and risk management needs.
“To deliver on this ambition, we are making strategic investments in our human capacity through targeted training and recruitment while further establishing a high performance and collaborative culture within our organisation.
“And in achieving these objectives, we will support the growth already being experienced in Africa in-keeping with our mandate as a COMESA institution.”