The Business Year

Tiago Dá Mesquita, General Manager of Zillian

ANGOLA - Finance

Tiago Dá Mesquita

General Manager, Zillian

Bio

Tiago began his career as a consultant at Delloite, where he participated in various projects for clients in the insurance sector. He joined Aon Angola (now Zillian Angola) in 2009 as a Senior Account Executive, where he managed the insurance portfolios of key clients. He later led the newly created Medical Division, specialized in medical insurance. He was appointed General Manager in 2013, and became the company’s majority shareholder following a management buy-out in 2021. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science from Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal) and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School. He also holds the professional qualification of Diploma (Dip CII) from the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK).

“In 12 countries where it had subsidiaries in the region, Aon decided to change the operating model in 10 of them, including Angola.”

Tiago Dá Mesquita, General Manager of Zillian, talks to TBY about the insurance and reinsurance sector, the firm’s strategy in Angola, and competitiveness.

Zillian is an insurance and reinsurance broker that advises and protects companies with innovative solutions. Can you tell us more about your services in Angola?

Tiago Dá Mesquita: Our name and our brand resemble the idea of resilience, so the main goal behind the solutions we offer is to make our clients more resilient whenever they face a loss. We do that by advising our clients on the best insurance and risk management solutions for their specific context. This can include purely local lines of insurance, but also global insurance programs that multinational companies usually have. Whenever we need to place a large or complex risk, which the local market cannot fully insure, we approach the international reinsurance markets through our partner Aon, a leading global firm in our sector. We also have a consulting practice, more focused on risk management and professional training in risk and insurance, directed mainly at large corporates, insurance companies and the public sector.

What was the strategy behind ceasing Aon’s business in Angola and creating Zillian?

Tiago Dá Mesquita: Aon decided to change its operating model in sub-Saharan Africa in most of the countries where it was present. In 12 countries where it had subsidiaries in the region, Aon decided to change the operating model in 10 of them, including Angola. Aon felt that business would be more agile if we were able to make decisions on the ground independently and develop products and solutions more catered to clients’ needs in Angola and in the other countries. We ended up having the best of both worlds, in the sense that we can still count on Aon’s global reach and expertise, while maintaining local specialists and a deep knowledge of the Angolan market and its various players.

Are you offering online services as well?

Tiago Dá Mesquita: We have launched an online portal through which our clients can access a wide variety of policy information and documentation, including policy schedules, terms and conditions, lists of insured people and assets, claims, payments, etc. The portal is accessible 24/7. We have also implemented another system to manage client requests. Every time we receive a request from a client, it gets logged automatically into the system. It helps us enforce our service level agreements (SLA’s) and clients can always go online and check the status of their requests. It is a more interactive experience and a way to improve the overall client journey and be more transparent with clients overall.

What needs to be done within the insurance sector in order to make it more competitive?

Tiago Dá Mesquita: The new general insurance law has recently been approved. It brings our legal framework up to speed with the current reality and introduces the ability to market and sell products online, which was a gray area in the previous law. This new law also introduces changes to insurance company governance, which does not necessarily affect competitiveness, but financial security and perceived trust, which are equally important. In addition to governance, financial security and the solvency of insurers is also stricter under this new legislation. It brings us closer to the best practices in other geographies. In the coming months, we also expect to see a new law specifically for insurance brokerage. From what we could gather during the public consultation phase, in which we participated with a number of inputs, the new brokerage law will introduce stricter rules for brokers and create a more demanding operational and compliance environment. It will also formalize new ways in which brokers will be able to collaborate with non-brokers in the distribution of insurance products, and that will generate innovative solutions and new ways to reach clients.

How did Zillian start offering services for the oil and gas industry?

Tiago Dá Mesquita: We have been a trusted advisor to companies in the oil & gas industry since the inception of our company in Angola, almost 20 years ago. However, the timing of the approval of the new content law, which was fairly close to our transition from Aon to Zillian, was somewhat of a happy coincidence for us. In 2020, the local content law for the oil and gas sector was approved, and in 2021, the National Agency of Petroleum, Gas, and Biofuels (ANPG) published a list of the goods and services that are now under the “exclusivity regime”, which means those goods and services can only be provided to the oil and gas industry by companies 100% owned by Angolan capital, which is  now our case. Because we are a 100% Angolan-owned entity, our clients can rest assured that they are fully compliant with the local content law, while enjoying the services of a local operator that conducts itself by international service standards, supported by Aon’s unmatched global network.

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