Swazi’s First Choice Provider of Short-Term Insurance
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Callum Philp
With the Swazi insurance industry still very much in the developmental stage, locally-owned short-term insurer, Lidwala Insurance Company has taken an opportunistic approach to securing future growth in the sector and the financial products required that offer affordable and innovative risk transfer solutions to the Swazi economy.
By addressing the shortfalls in the short-term insurance industry, Lidwala has been able to introduce a significant number of new insurance products to the local market – namely in the personal, agricultural, travel, motor and alternative risk transfer (ART) segments - while also making improvements to its conventional product offering in a bid to stand out from the increasing competition.
Since opening its doors in 2009, backed by strong capital and technical backgrounds, Lidwala’s deep-rooted philosophy to seek out the best short-term insurance solutions for customers has boosted the Company’s reputation in recent years; becoming the first-choice provider for alternative risk transfer solutions in the country.
“We pride ourselves on our flexibility, efficiency, reliability and uphold strong business ties with all our stakeholders. Driven by a team of innovative, young, agile and technically-sound staff, we adopt a customer-centric approach and offer a tailored product solution for our clients and brokers,” notes Alfred Madondo, General Manager of Lidwala Insurance Company.
A recent report found that Swaziland’s short-term insurance industry is worth approximately E550 million. In line with these findings, Lidwala has been keen to capitalise on the growing popularity of micro-insurance among the low-income public; broadening its clientele and strengthening growth in lower-valued assets. However, the Company’s ART solutions remain at the forefront of its focus in 2016, as it looks to expand interests in enterprise-wide risk management (EWRM) and Cell Fund insurance products.
Lidwala recently launched a new product into the ART solutions market designed to give clients more control over their money and retain the risk themselves. Covering all classes of insurance – including fire, theft, engineering, motor, liability, bonds and marine – the Cell Fund concept can be customised for medium to large organisations, local government authorities and other parastatals who want to reduce the cost of conventional insurance by retaining part of the risk themselves.
“ART solutions are modern and innovative means of transferring risk as opposed to other conventional insurance products. By working closely with industry experts and insurers who have access to world insurance markets, we can garner a huge amount of feedback on ways to create products that are specific to the local market,” says Madondo.
He continues: “We have always been very reactive to industry trends and introduced new products tailored for the local market as a result. By developing a product that would allow big corporations to reap some financial benefit from the money originally allocated to premiums, the Cell Fund has been steadily attracting the interest of a number of big company names.
“Setting up a Cell Fund with Lidwala would assist clients in managing the self-retained portion of the risk through access to expert advice in structuring the risks that would have been identified for self-retention, access to risk management services, as well as access to the reinsurance market in order to protect underlying Cell Funds.”
Having realised there was a gap in the market for an entity that could act as a risk management advisor to local businesses, Lidwala also developed the EWRM service to help companies effectively manage their enterprise risks; thereby reducing and, in some cases, eliminating the premiums payable for insurance cover.
“Essentially, instead of taking conventional insurance, companies can now pay for our value-add risk management advice instead,” Madondo states.
Lidwala has already set the pace in terms of both its Cell Fund and EWRM products, and will continue to invest in the dynamic needs of today’s customer to ensure that its products remain relevant and as up-to-date as possible. Further to this, the Company is also beginning to explore ART solutions that provide solvency relief and capital management.
With an aptitude for continuous improvement driven the changing needs of its customers, Lidwala has an equally impressive internal strategy to ensure efficiencies across the board. Since moving into bigger premises to accommodate its rapid growth, the Company has invested in a robust integrated IT system that manages operations, finance, HR and administration; all in a cohesive manner, while also operating in-house training for optimum local staff retention.
“We hope to take our internal systems’ development to the next stage soon with the introduction of stakeholder portals for our brokers, clients, assessors and so on. We are also pressing hard towards a paperless filing and archiving system,” Madondo highlights. “Our ultimate goal is that eventually our brokers and clients should be able to do business with us through this system, serving to streamline and digitise some of our offerings.”
As a Company that is 100 percent in-tune with the needs of its brokers and clients, these technological improvements showcase Lidwala’s commitment to forging sustainable local business partnerships that will last long into the future.
“We enjoy harmonious relationships with most players in the Swazi financial services sector, including our competitors, in addition to fostering healthy working relationships with regional and international business partners where possible,” he further adds.
Commanding an already impressive 25 percent market share, courtesy of its careful investments in the most relevant products, Lidwala hopes that the fruits of its labour will see this figure grow to at least 40 percent in the next three to five years. Madondo confirms: “Despite the short-term insurance market becoming increasingly saturated, we hope to leverage the reputation we already have to gain a substantial market share. Also, I would like Lidwala to become the go-to Company when it comes to the best customer satisfaction and innovation, which are two key elements for sustainability and dominance in any industry.”
He concludes: “By crafting workable alternative risk transfer solutions that address the current Swazi insurance shortcomings, Lidwala can guarantee sustainable and permanent risk solutions that add value for all of our clients and brokers. We ourselves are still in a growth phase, and will continue to develop our book to provide further stakeholder security and foster mutually beneficial relationships with customers.”