It is clear that non-life insurance is not taking off in Africa: Africa represents about 17% of the world’s population (increasing), for 3% of the world’s GDP (underestimated by the calculation method and increasing) and only 1% of non-life insurance premiums (stable). Penetration rates are the lowest in the world and past growth in premiums collected is more proportional to economic growth than to an increase in penetration rates.
Yet, insurance development is both a marker and a driver of a country’s economic and human development. Moreover, insurance companies represent an important source of financing for economies, as they invest a large part of the premiums collected from policyholders in the capital or real estate markets, in order to guarantee their solvency and their ability to cover claims, whatever they may be. Non-life insurance companies are also among the fundamental institutional investors in ecosystems, although they account for a smaller share than life insurers or pension funds, banks or development finance institutions.
Yet, despite this vicious circle, Africa remains, behind Latin America but ahead of Asia, the second most promising continent in terms of the growth potential of its insurance markets. And it appears to be the largest reserve of growth potential for insurance in the world.
The reasons for this low penetration rate are multiple, and many of them (political, cultural and economic) are outside our direct field of competence. For this reason, we will limit our analysis to only those factors that fall within our area of expertise.
One only has to note, for example, that the economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic had the immediate effect, particularly in certain African countries, of reducing all non-vital expenses, starting with insurance, to understand the limits of an analysis of strategic and technical aspects alone.
On the other hand, when the need for coverage seems so great and there is an offer that can satisfy it, at least in part, one wonders why insurance is not fulfilling the economic, financial and societal roles that it is being asked to play and for which it has already invested heavily? What is the reason for this failure?
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Chairman and CEO of ADDACTIS Group.
Executive Vice President of ADDACTIS Group,
Head of Strategy & Alliances