ZEP-RE Opens US$36m Business Park in Lusaka
The PTA Reinsurance Company (ZEP-RE) launched a US$36 million Business Park in Zambia’s capital Lusaka. This is the largest single investment in real estate for the COMESA institution in the Eastern and Southern African region.
Present at the ceremony was Ms Hope Murera and Zambia’s Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu among other dignitaries
The nine floor star building was officially launched by Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu who commended ZEP-RE and COMESA for implementing infrastructure projects that will help further deepen regional integration and contribute to improving the living standards of the people.
“This investment, in addition to other achievements in the region, including perfect across-the border investment opportunities for governments and entities, are a clear example of ZEP-RE’s commitment to real economic growth in our region,” President Lungu said.
Who is ZEP-RE
ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) was created under the auspices of the then Preferential Trade Area (the precursor to COMESA).
The Company promotes the trade in insurance and reinsurance trade through creation of capacity, training of the region’s insurance personnel, provision of technical services and the re-investment of premium funds within the region.
The company’s functions include among others;
- Transact reinsurance business within and outside the Region.
- Create and administer pools for the interest of the Region’s insurance markets.
- Train insurance and reinsurance industry personnel in the Region.
- Provide technical assistance to the insurance industry of the Region.
- Invest premiums in the Region to promote economic development.
- Promote contacts and business co-operation in the Region.
The company’s support in the region has enabled the provision of low-cost housing, long term savings or pension coverage, health insurance and insurance coverage of farmers.
The President’s Words
President Lungu stressed the importance of insurance in sustaining a healthy and growing economy and commended the company for making its largest investment in Zambia.
“ZEP-RE has actively participated in mitigating losses suffered in the market as part of its business operations. The company has invested more than US$ 50 million in government bonds in the last ten years. As we all aware, such investments are critical to a country’s economic development and I thank ZEP-RE for its demonstrated commitment to our country.”
“In addition, bearing in mind its footprint across Africa, it is the kind of institution that will bring the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade area to fruition, as its in position to support trade facilitation among member states through provision of the required risk mitigation services. In the same spirit and with what we are seeing today, it has demonstrated its capacity to enable retention of premiums within our continent prior to foreign placement,” he said.
“We are all aware that insurance funds constitute a major contributor to economic development, particularly within developed economies. It is therefore critical that we work towards stemming the flight of such funds and use these for developing our own markets.” President Lungu said.
He further recognised the company for undertaking market development initiatives to grow financial inclusion through the development of Zambia’s agriculture sector, a key component of the economy by supporting the country’s farmers input support programme, designed to address food security and risks faced by small scale farmers.
President Lungu welcomed the news that ZEP-RE is enabling the development of micro-insurance solutions targeted at low-income earners and small and medium-sized enterprises.
He added that he was pleased to learn that the company has developed technical and professional skills for practitioners within the insurance industry and is supporting policy and regulatory reforms with the objectives of growing insurance penetration, enhancing the capacity of local insurance companies and increasing the contribution of insurance to the country’s GDP and as such was fulfilling the mandate for which it was created.
The president made clear “For as long as countries can actively address the risks commonly faced by the ordinary population and enable their integration into the financial system, then we have fulfilled our obligations as leaders of our people.”
ZEP-RE Membership and Officials
Established in 1990, ZEP-RE is one of the most successful COMESA institution with 37 States as shareholders from the initial five. It has also opened offices in eight countries with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and has offices in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and writes business in over 60 countries within and outside Africa.
ZEP-RE Board Chairperson Mr. William Erio said the company has so far underwritten premiums currently standing at US$1 billion with claims paid at US$700 million on cumulative basis. The company is now also rated B++ by AM Best and AA+ by GCR and has set up the ZEP-RE Academy responsible for capacity building and industry thought leadership.
COMESA Secretary General Kapwepwe said Zep-Re was undoubtedly the leader in reinsurance business in Africa and a success story that everyone should be proud of.
“ZEP-RE has championed a comprehensive financial inclusion and literacy programmes that will ensure sustainable socio-economic development and better standards of living,” she said.
At the launch of the US$36 million Business Park in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, ZEP-RE also received accolades for promoting growth of the insurance and reinsurance business on the continent, leading to its business spread beyond its original focus, the eastern and southern Africa region.
COMESA and ZEP-RE collaborates to strengthen the operations of the COMESA Third Party Motor Vehicle Insurance Scheme- Yellow Card and the Regional Customs Transit Guarantee operations. Its objective is to grow utilization and efficiency of the cross-border trade instruments as ZEP-RE is the Reinsurance Pool Manager for both schemes.
The commissioning of the ZEP-RE Business Park coincides with the 25th Anniversary celebrations of COMESA.