By Silvia Nyambura
In a country where the insurance industry is grappling with low penetration levels and lack of awareness about insurance, insurance companies have had to find innovative ways to stay in business. The sector’s premium growth declined to 18.48 percent in 2012 from 20 percent in 2011 owing to ‘high inflation and bank lending rates’, which made different products expensive.
However, with a 24 percent market share, Jubilee Insurance Uganda has been at the helm of the industry growth, emerging market leader over the last 5 years and while the industry recorded fluctuating growth over the years, Jubilee grew by 43 percent in 2012 marking the highest growth in the history of the company.
According to the Insurance Industry Report for 2012 recently released by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), Jubilee insurance underwriting profit rose by 17 percent to represent 66 percent of the industry’s total underwriting profit. Additionally, the company was awarded the best insurer award for 2012 for the third time by the Uganda Association of Insurance Brokers (UAIB).
The story of Jubilee Insurance began 75 years ago in Kenya when the mother company Jubilee Holdings was founded on 3rd August 1937 to mark the Agha Khan’s golden Jubilee. The name Jubilee was settled on as it was the amount of paid up capital that would be needed to launch the company that would take up all kinds of risks from fire to marine, life and accident.
The company was incorporated with an authorized capital share of Kshs1 million made up of 50,000 shares of Kshs20 each. In a few months, Jubilee had issued over 1,200 life policies and in 1940, the company opened a branch in Kampala and another one in Mumbai, India. Following a period of political and financial instability in the 1970s and 1980s in Uganda, Jubilee Insurance Uganda closed shop and only re-established presence in 1992.
The company is owned by Jubilee holdings limited with 30 percent shareholding, Jubilee investments Uganda (a 100 percent subsidiary of Jubilee Holdings limited) with 30 percent and the Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development holds the remaining 35 percent.
Innovation, many firsts
The company CEO, Deepak Pandey attributes Jubilee’s success to brand equity, values, claims paying ability and team work. Having worked with Jubilee Insurance for 16 years, it is safe to say that Deepak Pandey is part of the legacy and the strong brand that the company has built thus far.
He is proud to be at the helm of a company that has established itself as a strong brand and which enjoys support from customers, brokers and other stakeholders who trust the company’s ability and willingness to pay claims. Pandey says running a successful and profitable insurance operation while retaining the market leadership is no mean feat.
“We have had to constantly find ways to do things differently in order to stand out and create a better perception for the company amidst the negativity surrounding the industry on claims payment. In line with this we took a number of initiatives,