HARARE – Fidelity Life Assurance of Zimbabwe (Fidelity) plans to merge its funeral and individual life assurance units as part of a strategy to streamline operations and contain costs.
Simon Chapereka, the group’s managing director, said the move is targeted at rationalising business structures in line with international standards.
“This will result in rationalisation of licences, elimination of the duplication expenses, both administrative and marketing, and more focus on similar business under one roof,” he said.
Chapereka, however, noted that the funeral services arm will remain a stand-alone entity.
“The business will be recapitalised to give it a competitive edge,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed insurer is also finalising a partnership agreement with an insurance company in South Sudan as it seeks to expand its foothold in Africa.
“The company is currently doing short-term insurance business and is desirous to expand their business into long-term insurance. We have applied for regulatory approval to make the investment,” said Chapereka.
“In the first week of July we will be deploying our advance team to South Sudan to finalise negotiations on the partnership,” he said.
In the early 2000s, Fidelity had a similar agreement with the State-controlled Kenya National Assurance Company, which it saved from imminent collapse after deploying its experience and expertise in the insurance sector.
And the Kenyan transaction transformed into a cash-spinning deal, raking $25 000 per month at one stage.
Fidelity’s footprint currently extends into Malawi, where it operates Vanguard Life Assurance.
The listed firm — with influence also in property development, micro finance, asset management and actuarial consultancy — indicated that it had made significant progress in securing Harare City Council approval for its Southview Park development plan.
Chapereka said the Council is currently numbering the stands, the penultimate step before the issuing of the permit.
“On receipt of the permit, we will immediately go to tender for the servicing funds for servicing have been secured. We anticipate to start servicing by August. On our presales — we have sold stands on five and 10-year instalments and these are within our expectations. We expect the uptake to improve once servicing has commenced,” he said. – John Kachembere