By Mc Donald Chapalapata, a Contributor
Conglomerate Press Corporation plc has invested in a new insurance holding company called LifeCo Holdings Limited which will essentially trade in life insurance, pension services and asset management.
Press Corporation plc Group Chief Executive George Partridge who is also Chairman of LifeCo Holdings Limited confirmed the investment in an interview yesterday saying PCL controls 49.5% shares in the new company. The other shareholders are Equity Investments with 25.5% and Fidelity Limited with 25.5%.
He said LifeCo Holdings comprises three operating subsidiaries namely LifeCo Life Insurance Limited, LifeCo Pension Services Limited and LifeCo Asset Managers Limited and all the three operating subsidiaries have been granted a license to operate in their respective sectors by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
“A project was initiated in 2018 to explore the gap in the life insurance and pensions market and propose the solutions that customers were expecting. The research revealed a significant gap in the market to better serve customers, which culminated in three of Malawi’s leading institutions combining their expertise, financial strength, customer trust, governance and championship to form a joint venture company to respond to customer needs.”
“We thought that the life insurance and pension industry could accommodate a new significant player due to the exponential growth of the sector occasioned by the enactment of the Pensions Act. In addition, the very low penetration of insurance products in general points to the potential for the substantial growth of the industry.”
“PCL wants to be part of that growth story in addition to being part of the financial inclusion movement to advance the deepening of the financial sector in general. The company will also help the economy in managing the concentration risk in the country due to the duopolistic nature prevailing currently, hence the motivation to invest in this business,” explained Partridge.
He said the joint venture company LIFECO Holdings Limited has been established to bring alternative services to customers that are looking for wider choice, competitive pricing, improved service delivery, innovative solutions and empathy.
“LIFECO Holdings’ mission, vision and values clearly articulate the research solutions and creates the promise LIFECO makes to its members. LIFECO clearly understands the customers’ expectations and commits to delivering that promise,” said Partridge.
LifeCo Holdings Limited Chief Executive Officer is Ravi Savjani while well-known experienced Insurer Osman Karim is the Chief Executive Officer for LifeCo Life and LifeCo Pensions and Lilian Yamikani Macheso is the Chief Executive Officer for LifeCO Life Asset Management.
“We want to assure Malawians that LifeCo is a Malawian company which will offer solutions for our customers and this new kid on the block is here to stay,” said Partridge.
President of Life Insurance and Pension Association of Malawi (LIPAM) Stain Singo welcomed the new company saying it will bring competition on the market which in the end will benefit customers.
“We welcome them because they will bring competition on the market which will in the end benefit customers. We have noted that they will be offering the similar products that are already on the market but maybe the difference will be on service delivery and the rates which they will charge and this will increase competition which will benefit the customer at the end of the day. We hope they will be applying to join LIPAM so that we should serve our customers better,” said Singo.