Global Alliance is one of the leading insurance companies in Mozambique. What underpins your company's success?
We believe that we have to challenge the market and ourselves. We need to dare and disrupt ourselves before somebody else does, and that is what Global Alliance did. We soon realized that the market as a whole had deficiencies in terms of customer service levels, client education, and keeping promises, and we did our best to capitalize on those areas. We understand that, being an insurance company, we are here to pay claims, and we need to provide solutions to our clients and keep our promises.
How does the relationship with Barclays enhance Global Alliance's branding strategy?
We have a very strong and sound relationship with Barclays, and ultimately we are part of the same group. Barclays is a household name globally and we are trying to leverage all the opportunities that we can in terms of banking and insurance, maximizing cross-selling and bancassurance opportunities on three fronts; retail, corporate, and investment as well as business banking. With so many competitors coming into the market, we also understand that healthy competition will come with the growth of the market. If the market is not growing then dumping will come along and this brings a roller-coaster effect on the entire business and economy chain. Competition will always be there and increase, either quality or quantity wise, and this is very good for both the customer and the economy. It also brings the innovation side of businesses. We have to go back to basics and keep doing what we do best, which is offering the best services and keeping our promises to clients. The rest will come with the correct attitude in and to the market.
How do you assess the performance of Global Alliance over 2014-15?
Over the past two to three years we have been market leaders, and our overall market share stands at 31% of a total of $278 million insurance market. We have 34% market share in short-term insurance, and 13% in life insurance. We see that there are opportunities in growing our business in the life segment. We are devising strategies to increase our market share, but overall we are happy with our performance.
How is Global Alliance's portfolio evolving?
When the market is not growing at desirable levels and in the face of challenges, then you have to either maximize the productivity of your customer portfolio through new products/services or create a new market. We have seen that the insurance market is dominated by corporate insurance, and we see that there is a market gap in retail insurance, so are considering tapping into this gap. Everyone talks and is waiting for oil and gas to kick in, but for me this is too much fuss about something that we haven't yet banked and there are so many uncertainties about it. As a business, we have to think about sustainability, so we can balance our earnings and growth in order to remain relevant. All businesses should devise strategies that will keep them in the game in a sustainable way. When oil and gas materializes it will be a bonus for everyone.
What industries hold the greatest potential for growth and development?
There are opportunities in all sectors. I think that for Global Alliance, agriculture represents great opportunity. With some 80% of the population working in the sector—although we are more interested in insuring the assets for now—there is opportunity in insuring crops also. However, because of the volatility of this business, if the government could create a sort of back-up, the way that other countries have, for the insurance companies, I believe that this would be of interest to the market as a whole. We do this by working together and not individually, like a syndicate wherein the government presents security and guidance.
What is the importance of human capital at Global Alliance?
Businesses tend to neglect the value of people. For Global Alliance, the greatest asset, which is not measurable but is not on our balance sheet, is our staff. Without motivated, engaged, and well-trained people, you cannot do anything. They form a key part of the organization, and we have many projects and events aimed at attracting, training, and retaining our people. We give opportunities to our workers and encourage them to improve their skillsets and get promoted within the organization. We arrange scholarships and hold training sessions almost every week, which is basically with the sole purpose of offering the best service to our clients also a tool for motivation, and for keeping our staff engaged in what they are doing.
What is your mid-term outlook for the local economy?
Every single business needs to devise sustainable strategies, but my personal opinion is that there are too high expectations on oil and gas, a sector that is still in its embryonic stage and surrounded by huge uncertainties. This should not be the case; we have to carry on with our businesses, as if everything goes well, we all have see a big bonus. This is a tough year for most businesses, as there is a combination of internal and external factors that are affecting the economy. However, whenever there is a slowdown or a crisis I see new opportunities, because if you are losing on one front, you have to look to another segment to compensate. From now things can only get better. Mozambique has a bright future, and in the long term there are many opportunities to be exploited by all.