Project Manager:Stuart Parker
Old Mutual is a name synonymous with financial security and insurance innovation across sub-Saharan Africa, and indeed the world, and is leveraging this influence to full effect in Zimbabwe via an ever-growing portfolio of market-leading services.
Offering the full range of integrated financial services, while customising each product to meet the specific needs of every customer, its life assurance, asset management, unit trust, property development, short-term insurance and banking services arms ensure that no stone is left unturned for its comprehensive customer base.
“Old Mutual has wide portfolio of clients that reflects the diversity of Zimbabwe’s financial needs,” elaborates the Company’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Jonas Mushosho. “The name Old Mutual has become synonymous with savings, investment, life and insurance products in Zimbabwe.”
One of the Company’s key contributors to its own success is the willingness - as well as the capability - to move not only in line with the times, but ahead of them; a factor epitomised by a series of recent investments in areas including technology, automation and facility upgrades.
Mushosho details: “Old Mutual has refreshed its technology infrastructure and systems to cater for the growing needs of the business and increased product offering. This investment includes a multi-million dollar refresh of the core banking infrastructure, and a replacement of the asset management and Unit Trusts product administration systems.
“Similarly, our Life Assurance division recently launched an automated premium collecting application, Digiata. One of the main benefits of this system will be a considerable increase in productivity and flexibility in premium collection.”
As the adoption of advanced technologies escalates, so too does Old Mutual’s adherence to the digitisation; the business also now using online quick quote and personal insurance management tools to further enhance customer control and speed of service.
Such a forward-thinking strategy is an indictment of the ethos that has made Old Mutual the Company it is today, as Mushosho emphasises: “Old Mutual is renowned for its strong heritage buttressed by a solid balance sheet, integrity, sound corporate governance and its contribution towards Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development.
“We invest heavily in the training of our staff so that we are able to offer an unparalleled experience to our customers.”
Continuously evolving its market offering and scope of service, Old Mutual Zimbabwe has recently compounded its appeal through the introduction of a financial inclusion strategy, aimed at reaching out to marginalised communities and to the growing informal sector.
Programmes such as the financial literacy initiative, On The Money have subsequently been unveiled and are already going a long way to addressing the needs of Zimbabweans previously unexposed to such services.
“On The Money is a financial education initiative that is based on the unique characteristics of Africa’s Big Five animals (elephant, lion, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard) as found in nature. The behaviours have been distilled to teach people how to best manage your personal and family finances,” Mushosho notes. “Old Mutual’s investment in financial education aims to equip Zimbabweans with the tools to realise their goals and dreams. It also empowers individuals, families and ultimately the entire nation to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty that enslaves thousands of our people.”
Through CABS, the Company’s banking arm, internet and mobile banking facilities have also been improved to achieve universal access to banking for the entire country. The general insurance business is also rolling out complementary services including a Whatsapp notification platform, courtesy car cover, and a drought insurance product.
“Zimbabwe has become an ‘informalised economy’ so we have responded with appropriate products for the market,” Mushosho emphasises. “Also, the digital era has taken over and therefore we are adjusting to it through eCommunications and eTransactions for premium payments and claims settlements; as well as through products such as the EasyInsure mobile funeral cover product and our tailor-made retail products.”
To facilitate such widespread and comprehensive external development, Old Mutual’s internal evolution is every bit as considered, with much of its focus surrounding hiring the right personnel, training them the right way and instilling a sense of pride within its workforce to encourage optimum retention.
Subsequently building a culture of excellence throughout the Group, the drive to empower employees and to manifest their own professional development is compounded by a local emphasis in Zimbabwe to ensure long-term sustainability also.
Mushosho says: “The Company continuously benchmarks its people practices of hiring, training and retention against international best practices through annual participation in the Top Employer survey and has recently been certified ‘Top Employer Africa’ for 2017.
“Our local employment strategy is largely focused on growing our own timber. For this reason, we run various programmes which rely on local supply of skills such as graduate trainee programmes and participation in the TOPP programme. Our strategy is supported by comprehensive and robust talent management, development and retention practices.”
This holistic and sustainable philosophy emanates further into society via its corporate social responsibility initiatives bridging areas of rural energy and digitisation, sponsorship of the arts and sport, and of course education.
Mushosho continues: “Old Mutual’s interventions in society are in pursuit of our purpose, which is to help our customers thrive by enabling them to achieve their lifetime financial goals, while investing their funds in ways that will create positive futures for them, their families and the community and world at large.
“As the leading integrated financial services Group, three years from now, we would want to have extended our dominant position by growing our market share and exploiting pockets of growth which will ensure our business is future fit as the world drives to a more digitalised way of operating.
“This involves servicing the financially excluded customer and a whole strategy and operation has been set up to drive this financial inclusion strategy.”