MTN Group, Sanlam announce strategic Insuretech alliance

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Sanlam and MTN Group announced today that they are joining forces in an exclusive strategic alliance (the Alliance) to distribute Sanlam Group insurance and investment products across Africa, further developing MTN’s mobile financial services business.

The Alliance will build a digital insurance and investment business, which will be an integral part of MTN’s fintech offering. It will provide 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.

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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 and 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 target of over 30 million policyholders by 2025 with this new Alliance.

The collaboration provides Sanlam with the opportunity to extend consumer access to its products and grow its Africa operations by providing insurance to MTN’s customer base across the continent, thereby deepening its extensive footprint in Africa.

Commenting on the formation of the Alliance, Sanlam Group CEO 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 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.”

The Alliance will build and leverage the strengths and assets of both Sanlam and MTN to establish a digital insurance and investment capability across Africa.

In the initial period, the Alliance will be chaired by Ralph Mupita, with Paul 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.

The transaction is subject to the parties concluding definitive agreements and completing the relevant suspensive conditions.

MTN is the largest telecommunications operator in Africa with a presence in 17 countries on the continent and a total of more than 270 million subscribers across its total 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.

Sanlam is the largest non-banking financial services group in Africa, with a presence in 33 countries across the continent. Forming mutually beneficial partnerships is part of Sanlam’s business model and is a key pillar for accelerating growth on the African continent.