The New Sudan Insurance Company is finding new ways to excel in a market that is suffering due to political turmoil, staying true to its core vision and mission to develop the local market
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Since inception, New Sudan Insurance Company (NEISCO) has remained true to its core vision and mission to develop the South Sudanese insurance market. Establishing a harmonised industry while widening the capacity of indigenous young people is a big part of the Company’s development plan, enabling the future leaders to manage their insurance industry.
NEISCO is the result of a particularly fruitful joint venture between Wawat Securities Ltd and the National Insurance Corporation of Eritrea, which was incorporated in September, 2007. Utilising its paid-up capital of US$3 million the Company has been able to undertake all types of insurance in South Sudan and capitalise on its position as the only indigenous insurance company in the country.
The Company was fully licensed by the Bank of South Sudan (BOSS) and commenced underwriting risks in early 2008. Since that point the Company has grown considerably, especially when it comes to earning the trust and support of members of the insuring public, including government ministries, commissions, corporate, NGO/IOs and individuals.
“In support of our work to develop the leaders of tomorrow, NESICO – initiated by the late Dr. John Garang – arranged for 14 young South nationals to undergo insurance training in Eritrea for two years,” explains Zeru Michael, Chief Executive Officer at New Sudan Insurance Company. “The training began in April, 2015, with the majority of candidates on distance learning and some attending courses at the National Insurance Academy in Pune, India, creating our pioneers of the future.”
Policy of development
The Company’s portfolio now includes a huge variety of property and liability insurance policies, some of which include motor, marine, goods-in-transit, money insurance, fidelity guarantee, fire and allied perils, burglary and housebreaking, industrial all risk insurance, engineering insurance, public liability, group personal accident and medical insurance.
“Since we adopted this policy of development we have we have found our portfolio of insurance solutions has expanded dramatically, with NESICO providing all classes of insurance,” affirms Michael. “Currently our medical insurance portfolio is increasing at a high speed, as well as our involvement with the energy and oil & gas sector.
“We have to be wary of the current political disorder which is rife in the country as it has seriously affected our operations, but through these challenges we have found ways to enable them to positively contribute to our survival.”
The aforementioned political turmoil has caused the Company to adopt a strategy centrally focused around survival in the industry, an approach that is not necessarily the easiest to work with in such a structured market.
“We have recently added political, violence and terrorism risk into our products in order to respond to the associated political risks plaguing us at present,” continues Michael. “This has provided us with a lot of additional work and wider coverage to secure the confidence of our customers.”
Over the years NESICO has invested in properties and having a strong capital base that would put it in a solid position to survive instances such as the current political struggles. It is with thanks equally to the board and shareholders of the Company that it is in this position and able to withstand the troubles.
“We are also supported by a number of well-renowned reinsurers with a security rating of B and above by A M Best, including Munich Re of South Africa, Africa Re, Zep Re, Kenya Re and East Africa Re,” adds Michael. “We are also supported by a number of prominent international reinsurance brokers, such as J B Boda (Mumbai) and Jordans Global (Lagos), Afro-Asian (London) and CK Re (London).”
Incorporating all of these, the Company’s original mission was to perform as a locally focused entity, investing in the development of the local national people in order to build their insurance skills.
“Currently out of our 35 employees, only two of them are expats,” Michael describes. “The Company has put in place arrangements for Juba to become the international exam centre of the Chartered Insurance Institute (London).
“The aim of this venture was to develop the insurance capacity of the indigenous people, while also securing the continuity of its employees.”
Unique market position
The unique position in the market that NESICO has evolved into is predominantly courtesy of its local-oriented focus, hiring almost entirely local nationals and maintaining a serious vision to empower the indigenous people.
“By hiring almost entirely in the local market, we hope that we are able to employ a customer-centric approach,” explains Michael. “We completely understand what our customers need and are able to deliver solutions to meet those needs and expectations.”
By constantly meeting these expectations, it is hoped that NESICO will be the employer of choice, attracting, motivating and retaining the right people and offering equal opportunities of employment to all. Integrity is paramount and the Company observes the highest standard of professionalism, while training to ensure that these values are deeply embedded within the business structure.
“Being a locally-focused company, we have had to pay special mention to complying with the laws of the countries in which we operate, contributing to causes that will promote social and community development in the area,” states Michael. “A part of our long-term strategy is to participate and partner with institutions that promote and preserve a sustainable environment.”
As previously mentioned, the current political landscape makes it all the more important for the Company to work on the sustainability of its local environment.
“Despite the best will in the world, it is difficult to plan too far ahead when we are in the middle of such political difficulty,” concludes Michael. “As an indigenous company, we have a plan to seriously develop and involve ourselves in micro-insurance moving forward, placing special emphasis on agriculture, medical, life and pension services.”