GABORONE – Leading life insurance and advisory business, Botswana Life, continues to hold a key role in driving the performance of the Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Group. Having taken a number of shocks to performance in the first half of the period due to excess mortality experienced during the period ended 30 June 2021 and subsequent increases in claims, performance of the period was notably lower, as was expected and communicated by the Group prior to the results announcement. Botswana Life, working with the Group, however, has a number of strategic imperatives to help continue to ensure resilience in the latter half of the year.
Operating profit for Botswana Life decreased by 48% to P102 million. This was on account of excess mortality experienced during the period, and a notable P119 million worth of claims were classified as COVID-19 claims across the different product lines, representing 29% of the total claims. This is set against operating profit for the Group having decreased by 44% compared to the prior year.
SAID THE BIHL GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CATHERINE LESETEDI, “BOTSWANA LIFE REMAINS AN ANCHOR BUSINESS IN THE GROUP, DRIVING SIGNIFICANT VOLUME AND PERFORMANCE. AS WAS TO BE EXPECTED GIVEN THE NATURE OF THE BUSINESS AND ITS INTRICATE BEARING WITH COVID-19 AND RELATED CLAIMS, PERFORMANCE WAS CONSIDERABLY MORE MUTED THAN IN PREVIOUS YEARS. HOWEVER, WE REMAIN FOCUSED IN SUPPORTING FROM A GROUP PERSPECTIVE IN ENSURING RESILIENCE, FORTITUDE AND SUSTAINABILITY.”
Botswana Life’s premium income grew by 28% during HY1 2021 from P 1.21 billion attained in HY1 2020 to P1.56 billion with most income lines contributing positively. New business written grew by 67% year on year underpinned by solid performance from some of the group lines. The value of new business, being the present value of future profits from new business premiums written during the half year, also grew by 47% year-on-year. The net insurance claims and benefits paid increased by 44% in total compared to prior year.
Said Botswana Life Chief Executive officer, Ronald Samuels, “Our balance sheet remains well capitalised despite these negative shocks, and we continue to work to ensure that not only is the business stable, but that we working to actively support our clients and policyholders through this period and indeed beyond. This is especially as the impacts of COVID-19 are expected to continue to be felt in our operations and new business for the rest of the year. In that vein, we are also eternally grateful for the support and loyalty of our Clients, Brokers, Agents, Staff and other Stakeholders. These partnerships and relationships are at the core of our business, and we continue to safeguard and grow them for true mutual benefit.”
Botswana Life Management continued to roll out the 5-year Se Sarona strategy in this period, focused on steering the business towards sustained growth. The Fiduciary Services offering, launched in July 2021, will be a key driver in the coming months of enhanced performance and earnings. This new arm of the business will be focused solely on offering estate planning products and services including wills, the setting up of Trust amongst other services to Botswana Life clients. Noted Samuels, “This is a first in Botswana’s insurance landscape and a step in the right direction in ensuring that all Batswana have access to our holistic long-term financial solutions and advisory services.”
Last but not least, Botswana Life continued to enhance its digital platforms in the period, with a view towards delivering greater convenience, access, customer experience and financial inclusion. This is through such developments as the customer portal, WhatsApp for Business and the revamped company website. The business’ efforts are supported by and in line with the BIHL Group twin strategies of growth and profitability and aligned to the overarching desire to support and drive the safety and wellbeing of colleagues, clients, community and Nation.