LAGOS, Nigeria & TUNIS, Tunisia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Continental Reinsurance Plc, Africa’s largest private reinsurer outside of South Africa, has announced the opening of a regional office in Tunis and the introduction of its Sharia-complaint Takaful offering.
The insurance industry in North Africa is the biggest in terms of total market gross premium written in Africa, apart from South Africa.
Dr Femi Oyetunji, Group Managing Director/CEO of Continental Reinsurance PLC said: “Our strategically positioned local office in Tunis is a central location, which greatly helps extend our reach into the Maghreb and North African markets. Being close to our clients allows us to improve our insight into local markets, better understand their needs and local risk requirements, and deliver locally relevant offerings.”
He said the opening of the regional office in Tunis is part of Continental Reinsurance’s strategic approach to develop the African reinsurance market and to realize the Company’s vision to be the premier Pan-African reinsurer.
“It’s important for Africa’s development and growth to have strong, robust and large reinsurance institutions so that African premiums remain in Africa,” said Dr Oyetunji.
The launch of the Tunis office is coupled with the introduction of Continental Reinsurance’s Takaful offering, which will serve clients and partners from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The exponential growth of Takaful has led to increasing demand for Retakaful capacity, particularly in the region of North Africa which has a majority Islamic population in the range of 95%–99%.
“It is Continental Reinsurance’s aim to meet local market needs by developing innovative offerings,” said Dr Oyetunji.
Life insurance is currently significantly underdeveloped in the majority of Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Global Takaful premium is presently estimated at US$9.15 billion and is projected to grow to US$25billion by 2015 – and African income is projected to grow at the same pace.
Mrs. Dorsaf Sassi has been appointed as the Regional Director for the newly established Continental Reinsurance office in Tunis. She brings to the region her extensive reinsurance experience in the Tunisian and North African markets.
“The insurance market in North Africa is still in its infancy and accounts for roughly 0.46% of total world premiums, including the Middle East. Its contribution to Gross Development Product is still below international standards,” said Mrs Sassi.
“Our regional office in Tunis will enable Continental Reinsurance to play a significant role in the region’s growth and development by delivering world-class service and locally relevant offerings to our clients and partners. It will also as the company’s underwriting centre for the Maghreb region.”
Continental Reinsurance is one of a few reinsurance companies in Africa committed to sustainable business and corporate responsibility by signing up to the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance. Signatories to this accord commit to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their core business strategies and operations.
Established in 1985, and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2007, Continental Reinsurance provides support to over 200 insurance companies in Africa. It has operations in 44 African countries, with its main offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon,Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia.
The Company has plans underway for the opening of another office later in 2014 to support business development plans in southern Africa.