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Sanlam, MTN Group form strategic InsurTech alliance

Cape Town – Africa’s largest non-banking financial services group, Sanlam Group together with Africa’s largest telecommunications operator, MTN Group today announced a partnership which the two described as an exclusive strategic alliance (the Alliance) to distribute Sanlam Group insurance and investment products across Africa, while also developing MTN’s mobile financial services business.

The Alliance stated that it will build a digital insurance and investment business, which will be an integral part of MTN’s fintech offering, while also providing people across the continent with easier access to these services, particularly those sectors of the population that have typically been unable to access traditional distribution channels for such products.

The Alliance has the potential to pre-empt and adapt to digital disruption in markets where both Sanlam and MTN operate. It will also enable MTN to accelerate and scale its InsurTech offering through its brand and reach by leveraging Sanlam’s licensing and geographical footprint, as well as its broad product capabilities and expertise. MTN InsurTech businesses currently have approximately 6 million active policyholders, with a target of over 30 million policyholders by 2025 with this new Alliance.

Commenting on the formation of the Alliance, Sanlam Group CEO, Mr Paul Hanratty, said: “We are excited by MTN’s development of modern mobile financial services for the benefit and empowerment of the African consumer. It gives us great pride to be able to partner with MTN to build the best possible range of solutions in the insurance and investment arena for consumers. We anticipate strong long-term growth in mobile financial services, and insurance and investments are no exception to this.”

The collaboration offers MTN the opportunity to provide more value-added services to its customers, enhancing its existing offering. “MTN Group is equally excited to be partnering with Sanlam in driving financial inclusion across the continent and providing customers with insurance and investment products tailored to the needs of the African consumer,” said MTN Group President and CEO, Mr Ralph Mupita.

“Sanlam is the ideal partner as the leading insurance and investment business across Africa, and with partnership key to its strategic and execution approach. MTN has built a scale fintech business with over 100 million wallets, of which approximately half are actively using Mobile Money services every month, presenting a meaningful opportunity to further drive financial inclusion through the provision of appropriate insurance and investment solutions.”

In the initial period, the Alliance will be chaired by Mr Mupita, with Mr Hanratty as Deputy Chair. While approximately 46% of Africa’s population has access to and uses cell phone services, insurance penetration remains low at less than 5% in most markets except South Africa. Sanlam has a presence in 33 countries across Africa,  while MTN has a presence in 17 countries on the continent, but with a total of more than 270 million subscribers across its 21 markets. It is also a large fintech operator, with a presence in 19 countries and 100 million wallets, 800 000 agents and 650 000 merchants signed up.

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