British insurer Prudential has acquired a majority stake in Zenith Life, a subsidiary of one of Nigeria’s biggest banks Zenith Bank Plc, as it seeks to participate in Africa’s fastest-growing insurance market.
Prudential, which already has a significant presence in several African markets including Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia was keen to grow its interests across the continent and was particularly pleased to have made significant inroads into Nigeria, which is currently experiencing a near-boom in the insurance sub-sector.
Prudential protects families against risks in life and enables them save for aspirations such as paying university fees.
With operations in the UK, the US, Africa and 14 markets in Asia, it has £599 billion of assets under management and 24 million insurance customers.
“Prudential’s purpose is to take the worry out of life’s big financial concerns, helping our customers face the future with confidence. This is an important milestone for Prudential’s growing portfolio of high-quality life insurance businesses in Africa. We are excited about working with our new colleagues to build Zenith-Prudential into a leader in Nigeria’s growing life insurance industry,” said Matt Lilley, Chief Executive of Prudential Africa.
The Nigerian insurance firm will now operate under a new brand name Zenith-Prudential Life Insurance and will see Prudential sell insurance via Zenith Bank’s branches.
Zenith Bank is Nigeria’s biggest bank by tier-1 capital and one of the largest and most dynamic banks in Africa. It provides corporate, business and personal banking products through its branch network of more than 350 branches that serve over 1.6 million customers.
Prudential failed to disclose how much it paid for the stake or the percentage of the firm it now owned but Business Daily Africa reported that Zenith Life had gross written premiums worth an estimated 3.3 billion Naira ($10.82 million) as at December 2016.
Incorporated in 2001, Zenith Life is one of the fastest-growing life insurance companies in Nigeria growing its grown written premium at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent over the last five years.
Jim Ovia, Founder of Zenith Bank and Zenith Life highlighted the expectation that the transaction would redefine the life insurance industry in Nigeria adding, “We expect it to act as a significant catalyst within the sector and anticipate creating thousands of employment opportunities in Nigeria by embarking on this transformational deal.”