Independent, Bespoke, Innovative
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Patula Risk Swaziland has recently cemented its position in the risk insurance market, with two new profile-boosting partnerships that will enhance the Swazi-Company’s ability to provide specialist insurance and risk services to the market.
Started by three companies – Montigny Investments Limited, Swaziland Plantations Limited (SPL) and MTI Investments – Patula Risk was borne out of their frustrations with existing service providers at the time.
“The Company was created with the intention of looking after the specialist insurance requirements of its members, such as the three companies responsible for setting up Patula Risk, and to closely assess the sustainability of some of the market players in Swaziland,” confirms Doctor Mhlanga, the General Manager of Patula Risk.
As part of this partnership, the founders have managed their growth risks by arranging their insurances with Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), a subsidiary of Santam Insurance. Patula Risk will now market TIC’s products in Swaziland, further boosting its product offering.
Further to this, partnering with Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT), one of the largest and leading worldwide financial service providers, will boost the Company’s competitive edge in Africa. JLT provides specialist services including insurance, reinsurance, employee benefits-related advice, and brokerage and associated services; and Patula Risk will be able to draw from this wealth of experience on offer.
“Most insurance consumers located in Swaziland are complaining about poor service, limited product choice and lack of innovation, and it is our main focus to challenge that,” explains Mhlanga. “Our aim is to be pioneers in offering bespoke services that exceed the expectations of our clients.
“Our partnership with Jardine Lloyd Thompson will further assist Patula Risk with the introduction and placement of the specialist products necessary to our clients, but not available from the local market; further enhancing the service of corporates and multinationals.”
Formed off the back of Floxilinx (Pty) Ltd, Africa’s largest specialist Forestry Insurance Brokerage, the culminating offering focuses exclusively on the corporate and large private stakeholders in the agri-forestry and forest products industries.
As one of the founders of Patula Risk, Montigny Investments Limited is a Swazi-owned and operated, fully-diversified timber Company, founded in 1997 by entrepreneur, Neal Rijkenberg. It has grown from a small family run business to one of the largest diversified private timber owner-operators in Southern Africa.
Mhlanga continues: “Montigny serves approximately 40 percent of the regional wet-off-saw timber market, and has diverse timber-trading interests in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Japan. Swaziland Plantations Group on the other hand is situated closest to high value pine saw logs and they have been cutting both pine and eucalyptus in the industry over the years extracting maximum value from its raw materials.” Patula Risk Swaziland (Pty) Ltd is the bespoke independent insurance broking arm for Montigny & Partners, focusing on providing the innovative and specialised risk and insurance solutions to this growing business.
The shareholders of Patula bring significant experience, depth of relationships and specialised skills to the Company. Patula Risk varies slightly in this area as a newcomer to an industry that is faced with an acute skills shortage, therefore preferring headhunting as opposed to placing adverts for positions.
“All of our employees are highly qualified individuals, with both companies offering and enabling a work environment in which its workers can thrive,” adds Mhlanga. “Alongside learning opportunities from our highly skilled team leaders, the Group is not adverse to sending employees to South Africa when gaps in knowledge are identified.”
The Company’s local emphasis continues with Patula Risk Swaziland being a primarily locally-owned business trading entity within the Swazi economy only. Directors of the Company have a wide local network which emphasises its intentions for meeting the risk and insurance needs of the local economy and clientele.
Patula Risk is centrally focused on its business as a licensed insurance broking firm, undertaking its business as insurance brokers and risk management consultants.
“We work closely with our clients to find cost-effective strategies to mitigate and manage risks effectively,” explains Mhlanga. “Our main target market is the corporate commercial sectors, such as aviation, agriculture, construction, education, financial institutions, manufacturing, hospitality, retail, transport and entertainment, etc.”
By centralising its focus on corporate clients in Swaziland, Patula Risk is perfectly positioned to act as an extension of any risk management team. Looking forward it aims to be one of the market leaders, not to mention the broker of choice in Swaziland for quality service offerings.
Empowering the community
The Company has a very passionate history of committing substantial resources to both corporate social responsibility schemes and the aid of the less privileged. Playing an active role in these projects has and always will be vitally important to all the employees of the company.
Bulembu Ministries Swaziland is perhaps one of the Company’s most exciting and successful projects to date, co-founded by Montigny’s founder. The old mining town of Bulembu has been completely transformed into a home for 350 destitute children with Montigny playing an active role in the village’s commercial enterprises, care, education and community healthcare.
“The Wattle Growers Programme is a little different. Not only do we buy wattle from small-scale community growers, but turn the focus more onto empowering the community,” continues Mhlanga. “It demonstrates to them their ability to transform their traditional wattle jungles into manageable commercial plantations for future gain.”
The Usutu Community Project engages with the local community through various social projects, school support initiatives, study scholarships, health clinics and sports events.
The passion for corporate social responsibility schemes really begins from the top down in this Company; with the Executive Director of Patula Risk an ENACTUS Volunteer and business advisor to the University of Swaziland. ENACTUS is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring young people to improve the world through entrepreneurial action.
The highest level of quality service
From a business perspective at Patula Risk the central ideal of the Company remains to focus on engaging corporate clients; driven by a passion for both the business and the people it deals with.
“We always put the needs of our clients ahead of our own, enabling us to forge good relations in the market that we trade in,” says Mhlanga. “We are more passionate about service than making quick profits, and it is our philosophy that we grow with our clients and we have teams that are capable of delivering the highest level of quality service.”
There is a true synergy between all of the Company’s organisations, including Montigny, Swaziland Plantations, MTI Investments & Patula Risk and it is that fact that is making the young Patula Risk such a success in the sector.
“We expect our shareholders to receive their first return on investment from Patula Risk within three years, and not only that, the Company is well positioned to be in the top four in terms of market share,” concludes Mhlanga. “Over the following years, we hope that our brand will be both well known and trusted in the market, and our goal is to have partnered with 10 of the top 20 corporate clients in Swaziland.”