Africa insurance giant targets Zim

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HARARE ­ One of Africa’s leading insurance firm, ZEP–Re, is seeking to extend its business into Zimbabwe, businessdaily has established.

ZEP–Re, which is also known as Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Reinsurance Company, underwrites life and nonlife reinsurance risks in Kenya, Tanzania, India, Uganda, and Sudan.

Information gathered by this paper shows that the insurance giant could soon set up offices in Harare after a ZEP–Re (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill went through all remaining stages in the National Assembly on March 21, without amendment.
It was then transmitted to the Senate. The Bill was received from the National Assembly but has not yet been dealt with by the Senate.

With both Houses of Parliament continuing sittings this week, the Bill could sail through, and then transmitted to President Robert Mugabe for assent.

The Bill seeks to conclude an agreement for the purposes of regulating matters relating to the legal capacity and privileges and immunities of the ZEP–Re company to be recognised and granted in line with the provisions of Article 40 of the agreement establishing the company.

The ZEP–Re Zimbabwe regional office in Harare was granted authority to trade in Zimbabwe by the Insurance and Pensions Commission in 2012.

It has major shareholders such as the PTA Bank and the African Development Bank.
ZEP–Re promotes commerce in the regional trade bloc Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region and are the managers of the Comesa Yellow Card, which is a motor insurance product which allows smooth movement of vehicle traffic within the Comesa area.

Comesa secretary­general Sindiso Ngwenya is a Zimbabwean.

Zimbabwe — just like most of the estimated 30 countries in the trading bloc — is landlocked,
forcing it to rely on countries with ports like Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, and incurring some nof the highest costs in the world due to congested ports and poor road and railway networks.

The World Bank 2011 Doing Business report said many landlocked economies face high inland transport costs to reach ports, incurring higher export and import costs than other regions.

ZEP–Re is also keen to obtain membership of the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Association of Reinsurance.

The agreement for the establishment of the ZEP–Re was first concluded on November 23,1990, among member states of the then PTA, now Comesa, including Zimbabwe, which is a member.

ZEP­Re was in fact created by an agreement of heads of State and government of the Comesa on November, 21, in Mbabane, Swaziland.

It seeks to provide insurance in Zimbabwe in areas of fire, engineering and bonds guarantees.

Zimbabwe’s short­term insurance market is estimated to be over $1,2 billion. The Daily News

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