Barclays Africa to rebrand Absa Life in Botswana

BARCLAYS Africa Group said on Wednesday it was rebranding the Absa Life operations in Botswana to Barclays Life, raising questions whether the banking group would also do the same to its South African insurance business in the future.

The brand change will enable the insurer to leverage off the larger Barclays bank retail footprint to distribute insurance products.

“We believe by operating under one particular brand we are able to provide holistic solutions to both our banking and insurance customers,” Lanz Zulu, the managing executive of Absa Financial Services Africa Holdings, said on Wednesday.

South Africa’s Absa Group was renamed Barclays Africa Group on August 2 after the banking group acquired eight Barclays Africa operations in an R18.3bn deal.

The operations Absa acquired were in Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

“In Botswana we had an Absa Life business brand and a Barclays brand. We have now decided to have only one brand in Botswana,” Mr Zulu said.

He added that under the Barclays brand, Barclays Life Botswana would be better positioned to offer additional risk and investment products, with new endowment and education products due to be launched later this year.

Barclays Africa Group said in a statement on Wednesday that Absa Life Botswana — which started operations in 2010 — was the third-largest life insurer in Botswana, with 130,000 policyholders and a 5% market share.

Absa Life Botswana was expected to produce gross premium income of R177.5m this year. It was adding over 2,500 policies a month and expected to maintain strong growth in the medium term.

Mr Zulu said that in Zambia there would not be a need for a change as the insurance unit there was already trading under Barclays Life.

Last year Absa acquired an insurance business in Mozambique known as Global Alliance.

Mr Zulu said the Mozambique business would remain Global Alliance. “We believe that Global Alliance is a strong brand in Mozambique and it will continue to trade like that,” he said.

Asked if the Absa Life business in South Africa would be transformed to Barclays Life for consistency purposes and in line with the changes in Botswana, Mr Zulu said for now the decision was that Absa Life in South Africa would continue to trade as it is. However, he could not say how long Absa Life in South Africa would keep its name and whether there was a likelihood of it being changed to Barclays Life.

In the six months to end-June the Absa Financial Services division, which deals in insurance, grew headline earnings by 5% to R671m. Source: BDlive

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