Demand for insurance and reinsurance continues to grow globally, but nowhere as quickly as in Africa.
Rating agencies are awarding stronger ratings to African Reinsurance providers despite the continuing economic crisis in the West.
The Economist states that seven African countries, including Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mozambique, are forecast to be among the 10 fastest–growing economies over next 5 years. Nigeria has by far the largest population in Sub-Saharan Africa, which, combined with being the second largest economy (after South Africa), gives it the highest potential for life insurance.
The middle class in each of these countries is fueling a growing demand for goods & services. Demand for insurance products, new or otherwise, should therefore follow. According to Continental Reinsurance “this urban consumer class, that is expanding faster that the middle class base anywhere else in the world, is the insurance industry’s biggest opportunity. However, with the exception of South Africa, little headway has been made in unlocking it”.
Africa has not escaped the general increase in the worldwide incidence of natural catastrophes that, according to an AON report, saw 900 occurrences globally in 2012, compared to 820 in 2011. The African continent experienced widespread flooding in Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Nigeria, and severe drought in parts of the horn of Africa. The lack of insurance in these areas shows that the market is still very much in its infancy, and, with the exception of South Africa, should translate into immense potential.
“Unlocking” is certainly the key word.