Mon, 02/09/2019 - 08:46
Current Issue 75
Combining quality service competencies, employee and partner power and a community-first approach, Hollard Ghana is leading the national indemnity revolution
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Sam Love
Sweeping changes are striking the Ghanaian insurance industry, inciting economic confidence across the sector and country.
“I will commend the National Insurance Commission, our regulating body, for the massive steps being taken to facilitate the growth and development of the insurance industry.
“I think the introduction of new types of compulsory insurance and the strict enforcement of existing products such as motor insurance and insurance for commercial buildings will go a long way in boosting sector performance.
“We’re excited about the draft bill that has compulsory insurance like group life insurance, workmen’s compensation, public liability insurance, marine insurance and professional indemnity, and we look forward to the this finally being passed by the end of the year.”
Standing front and centre in the Ghanaian insurance industry, Patience Akyianu’s optimism speaks volumes of the mutual strides being taken by public and private entities alike.
Having spent 17 years in banking, holding senior positions at the likes of Barclays Bank Ghana and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, she took a transitional cross-industry jump into insurance owed to this buoyant outlook, joining Hollard Ghana as its Group CEO in October 2018.
“Last year was an inflection point in my career,” Akyianu affirms. “After 10 years at Barclays Bank Ghana, I decided it was time to do something different.
“I found the opportunity to champion the growth strategy of Hollard in Ghana exciting because the insurance industry here is still in its infancy. As disposable incomes increase and public perception about insurance improves through greater education and awareness, we can expect very strong growth.
“Life insurance, for example, has been growing at an average of 25 percent per year over the past three years.”
Against this lucrative back drop, the Hollard Group in Ghana is determined to become the country’s favourite insurer, offering prospective national clients innovative, tailormade, bespoke insurance solutions.
Such offerings are backed up by the brand’s presence in 18 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa (including Ghana), maintaining a combination of world-class standards and a deep understanding of the local market.
“Hollard can be described as a global brand with a strong pan-African focus,” the CEO affirms. “We benefit from our 25 years of operating in Ghana, having been formerly known as Madison and Metropolitan Insurance, combined with the expertise we derive from being a member of a strong multinational insurance group.”
Such a combination is readily reflected in the Ghanaian division’s ethos, ensuring it always observes and listens to its customers’ requirements and demands to ensure that it is able to design and deliver meaningful insurance products that suit these needs.
From its life and general insurance offerings to its commercial and corporate lines, this approach is maintained across the board, a major reason behind its General Insurance Company being named the Most Friendly and Supportive Insurance Company in 2017 by the Ghana Insurance Brokers.
“Our exceptional claims payment ability backed by our unrivalled technical and service quality competencies distinguish us from other industry players,” Akyianu adds.
These esteemed services are also supported by the Group’s network of valuable partners, recognised by the firm as crucial cogs in its operations. Providing what is described by Akyianu as a triple win for Hollard Ghana, its clients and distribution partners alike, this approach is another key differentiator that stands the company apart.
“Our strong, long-term relationships are all constructed in a way that recognises the unique contribution and capabilities of each partner,” she states. “All partners are a critical factor to the success of our business; we believe that they are at the heart of everything we do and deserve our support.
“From our cherished brokers and Hollard2U managers and agents to our partner banks, retail distribution partners and suppliers, we see that relationships matter and there is power in diversity.”
Indeed, these partners only constitute one part of the Hollard Ghana success story, its staff comprising a second lengthy string to its extensive bow of expertise.
This in mind, the company continuously works hard to ensure that it both retains and helps to develop its best talent.
“Top performers are provided with tailormade programmes and incentives, such as a long-term bonus schemes and awards,” Akyianu reveals. “Equally, our comprehensive training schemes aim to bridge the competency gaps for all talent, prioritising technical development and leadership development.”
The use of in-house coaching and mentoring, workshops and seminars, and coordinating with key Ghanaian universities in line with the National Service Program are other methods that are leveraged to bolster this ever-growing talent pool.
As a result, the merits of these
methods have aptly proven their worth in supporting the firm’s strong growth agenda, Hollard Ghana now positioned as an employer of choice.
Growth is not the sole objective of Hollard Ghana’s efforts in regard to employment, partners and training, however.
Social empowerment is an alternate albeit equally important motivator for the firm, evidenced not only by its coherent career development structure for local people, but also its wider CSR practices.
“Our financial literacy initiative, Streetwise, is one such practice, helping to address the inherent issue that many people don’t know how to manage their finances, especially in the informal sector,” Akyianu affirms.
“Hollard recognises that financial inclusivity is a major issue in Ghana, but there’s far more to it than having the financial resources to participate in our economy. It’s also about understanding how to manage money – what is currently a snare in the poverty trap.
“We believe that if Ghanaians are given an opportunity to learn basic financial management skills they’ll be empowered to make better decisions that can have a profound impact on the way they choose to live their lives, manage their affairs, and most importantly, allow them to retire comfortably.”
The initiative has taken the form of engaging materials, like posters, maps, games and other visual aids, helping to provide a working understanding of financial terminology and topics such as savings, banking, lending, insurance and retirement.
“There are no formal presentations,” Akyianu continues. “Instead, Streetwise is highly interactive, providing a real opportunity for people to engage, discuss and ask questions in a comfortable environment, in turn leaving them with a practical understanding of basic money matters that can make a meaningful difference in their daily lives.”
Whether it’s the continual improvement of quality service competencies, the expansion of its partner and employee bases or indeed an ever-greater adherence to its community first ethos, Hollard is set
to excel in Ghana for years to come.
In the way of investments, the Hollard Group recently opened its first insurance shopping arcade, named The Hollard Purple Avenue, in the industrial epicentre of Tema.
“The Hollard Purple Avenue will serve as a one-stop shop to our current and potential clients and customers who want to find insights on any of our innovative, problem solving life and general insurance products,” Akyianu states proudly.
Meanwhile, looking at the bigger picture, Akyianu outlines four key strategic priorities for the coming year that will contribute towards the firm’s medium-term ambition of becoming the most profitable insurance group
“We are focused on building the capacity required to properly position both our Life and General Insurance businesses to take advantage of the emerging business opportunities in the market, and will continue to pursue partnerships and collaborations and expand our footprint across the country with more distribution outlets,” she states.
“We will also be engaging in activities that will enhance the Hollard brand in Ghana and increase our market share. Whilst we have a strong desire to grow exponentially but sustainably, we are also very committed to financial inclusion and will ensure we give back to the community.
“Lastly, we will leverage technology to drive our efficiency in the market and invest in the appropriate systems.”