Business News of 2014-04-25

Prudential Ghana pledges over 2,000 direct jobs

Prudential plc (“Prudential”), one of the world’s oldest and most strongly capitalised life insurers, has formally started operations in Ghana, coming with an aggressive and targeted marketing and distribution strategy that promises to deliver life insurance products to most homes in the country.

Prudential, the United Kingdom (UK) company with operations across Asia, UK and the United States, says it will make investments to grow the business to a household name in the medium term and make important interventions in the local economy, as it partners its customers and businesses to make savings for their investments and other needs.

The Director of Strategy and Corporate Development at Prudential Plc, Mr Matt Lilley, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that already the company had injected $5 million capital in its Ghana business, making it the most capitalised insurance company in the country, besides what it paid for the acquisition.

Gallant entry

Prudential Plc entered the Ghanaian market after acquiring a local business, Express Life Insurance Company Limited last year, a deal which has since been approved by the insurance regulator, the National Insurance Commission.

This means the local business, Prudential Ghana, has now become part of a global brand, one of the largest financial service companies in the world.

Listed on the London, Singapore and Hong Kong stock exchanges, Prudential Plc has about 24 million insurance customers in the UK, Asia and the United States and US$745 billion of assets under management.

According to the new entrants, Prudential Ghana will use the symbol of Prudence, which has been the public face of Prudential since the company was founded in London in 1848.

“Ghana has tremendous long-term opportunity. It has a growing economy, young population and low life insurance penetration and we are excited about the long-term prospects,” the Director of Strategy and Corporate Development said.

He added that Prudential was bent on building the biggest and most successful life insurance business in the country and would in the coming months improve on its brand awareness, product distribution channels, as well as building internal capacity.

The Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Ghana, Mr Emmanuel Mokobi Aryee, said although life assurance offered a lot of benefits to people, many Ghanaians could not access such benefits due to low penetration, a phenomenon the company was ready to change.

“We will increase our product line, bring innovation in our distribution network and in the long term we want to be closer to the communities we operate in,” Mr Aryee said.

He said the merged business would draw immensely from Prudential’s 165 years of experience in providing life insurance in different jurisdictions and Express Life’s expertise and knowledge in the local market to make important and major interventions in the country.

CSRs

Prudential has already announced resounding initiatives to support communities.

They, include Prudential Ghana scholarships, which would be administered by Plan Ghana.

It will offer scholarships to more than 500 gifted senior high school students in Koforidua, Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Sunyani and Takoradi to complete their education.

The life insurance company would also support the study in actuarial science, an important skill needed for the insurance and other risk management-oriented companies.

The Prudential Ghana Award for Excellence in Actuarial Science in Ghana will offer the Cedi equivalent of US$500 to 10 high-achieving graduates in Actuarial Science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast.

The scholarship will also support their training and reimburse exam and study fees and the best student will receive a one-year internship with Prudential Ghana.

Industry reactions

Industry watchers and players have welcomed the entry of the company as good for the industry.

They said aside its vast experience in Asia, Europe and America, it definitely had something up its sleeve that would help to deepen insurance penetration and practice in the country.

So far, most foreign direct investments in insurance have come from South Africa, with another from Germany.

Industry watchers therefore see the entry of Prudential Plc, another company from Europe, as offering the right balance for the Ghanaian insurance industry.

Source: graphic.com
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