London, Johannesburg, Paris, Lagos – One Re, a newly formed non-life reinsurance company established to focus solely on business emanating from the African continent, has been approved by UK regulators.
The company is the first traditional start-up reinsurance company to be approved under the UK’s new regulatory regime that came into effect in April 2013.
One Re, having been approved by one of the world’s most stringent regulatory authorities, is able to provide local African insurance companies well-capitalised and transparent reinsurance solutions, backed by credit ratings and the oversight of the UK’s strong regulatory bodies, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The founders have invested an initial USD 50,000,000 in cash as start-up capital to fund the London-based reinsurance company.
The Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of One Re, Mr Andrew Lewis, said: “The One Re team is committed to leveraging its previous fifteen-year track record of in-country experience in Africa, technical expertise and success in the African insurance market to support Africa’s growth.”
Mr Lewis said global investors’ return to Africa has provided a great opportunity for local markets in Africa to develop and grow their local reinsurance sector.
The company is supported by A-rated international reinsurance companies who provide capacity and protection to the One Re portfolio.
Lewis said: “There is undoubtedly a return in global risk appetite. Sub-Saharan African markets have benefitted from renewed investor interest, which has provided an increase in demand for insurance and reinsurance in Africa.”
Large infrastructural projects and developments taking place in Africa today are driving the demand for reinsurance. According to the latest forecasts by the IMF, Africa’s sub-Saharan region will continue to be the second fastest-growing region in the world in 2015 with growth forecast to be 5.75%.
“The three key factors needed to support the growth of Africa’s reinsurance markets are (1) specialist knowledge and technical expertise of risks in Africa, (2) in-country training, skills development and knowledge transfer and (3) an increase in the retention of risks and premiums in Africa,” said Mr Lewis.
He said training and up-scaling local insurance knowledge and skills in African markets will be a priority for One Re.
In response to the challenge, One Re plans to invest in establishing insurance training programmes, specifically tailored for local African markets.
“One Re is solely focused on Africa, our success is dependent on the success of the entire African insurance industry. Our shareholders and majority of the executive management are African and have worked in Africa for over two decades; we are confident in the African continent and the sector’s growth,” said Mr Lewis.