Jubilee Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies in East Africa. How does your regional strength translate into the Tanzanian market?
We have four more companies in addition to the one in Tanzania; we are in Rwanda, Mauritius, Kenya, and Uganda. One of the things that people know is that at Jubilee we work with multinationals more than anyone. We have many international and multinational clients on our books, and we have partnerships with several companies; therefore, we are able to underwrite business for the multinational employers in the region. For example, some of our medical insurance plans make it easy for us to take care of customers regionally. Jubilee Insurance is a one-stop shop; we give clients a solution in the region as well as in Asia.
What opportunities do you see arising from the new president's agenda?
As an organization, this is the most positive outcome that we could have hoped for. One of our values is integrity, and it is difficult to work in an environment where corruption is the order of the day. We are excited about the new crackdown on corruption and attempts to level the playing field. We are looking at the agriculture sector, and one of things we aim for is helping with financial and insurance literacy for small farmers. Similarly, Jubilee looks at infrastructure, which it has always been a key insurance provider for. There are many recent infrastructure projects that we are the insurers for, like the new airport terminal.
Do you target incoming investors as potential clients?
We position ourselves to be able to deliver insurance services to some of these large corporations. Being the market leader, things are focused on being able to help people and alleviate their financial difficulties if there is a claim in the country. We are in the energy sector; we also have a couple of clients in the mining industry, as well as in oil and gas exploration. We look forward to bidding for new clients in a level playing field and taking care of the risks of the megaprojects coming into the country. Our reinsurers are also second to none; they are rated A+ and above through Standard & Poor's. With such strong backing, we are the strongest insurance company in the country, and we will be able to deliver outstanding service and better volume to our clients.
What are the major barriers to higher insurance penetration in Tanzania?
As an insurance company we need to go to the regions and talk to people about insurance. One important step is that we require incentives to set up some branches in remote areas, as has been the case in countries like India. Micro insurance or compulsory insurance legislation could be an incentive. If the tax barriers were reduced, it would be cheaper for companies to open branches in remote areas. Another problem is the lack of innovation among insurance companies and an overreliance on generic products being used in ways that will not fit some regions. The lack of research into a client's needs damages the ability to meet needs. One possibility is legalizing the selling of insurance through bank branches. We are asking the Bank of Tanzania and the Finance Minister to legalize bank insurance for all insurers of the banks in order to help insurance companies distribute the insurance products through banking halls. It would be a win-win situation for both of us; we would partner with banks and we would be able to increase the penetration level of insurance in this country. We need some organized farming system in order to insure a large number of farmers. We need to organize our farming into strong, cooperative societies so that we can deliver the insurance packages easily. We want weather stations in various places within the country so that we would be able to deliver insurance packages that are weather index-based.