Lion Assurance recently stood on the podium of winners of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) Financial Reporting (FiRe) awards in the category of Insurance Companies in Uganda.
Lion Assurance recently stood on the podium of winners of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) Financial Reporting (FiRe) awards in the category of Insurance Companies in Uganda. Oyet Okwera spoke to Richard Mwebesa, the marketing officer of Lion Assurance and below are the excerpts of the interview.
Question: Briefly, what’s the background of Lion Assurance?
Answer: Lion Assurance is part of a Pan African group with footprints in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Uganda. In Uganda the company also has notable local shareholders as partners. The company draws from the strong interaction of the business units in the various countries to ensure the insurance solutions it offers are world-class. The company has a capitalisation base of over sh9b making it one of the strongest insurance players in the Ugandan market.
Qn: How did Lion Assurance win the FiRe Awards?
We came first in the Insurance category and also first in the Sustainability Reporting among all participants. We take these accolades with great pride as they signify our high level of professionalism and standards.
As part of a Pan African Group, Lion Assurance follows set standards from underwriting, claims, finance, human resources and marketing that ensure that our delivery is consistent and second to none in the markets we operate in. This philosophy is reinforced by engagement of professional staff whose quality, dedication and hard work enabled us become the overall winner on proper financial reporting in the insurance sector.
Qn: Compare the insurance sector now and then.
There has been significant growth which has seen premiums for the market over the period growing by 20% every year. There has also been significant entrance of new players creating a very competitive environment. In the same period we have witnessed an improvement in the general uptake of insurance over the period though it is still relatively lower compared to other East African markets. There has been more self-regulation where players in the market have been involved in the development or evolution of the Insurance Act which culminated in the establishment of the Insurance Regulatory Authority in 2011. We are excited to be part of this development over the years and we cannot over-emphasise the economic significance of a stable insurance sector in the development of the Ugandan economy.
Qn: Since inception, what are the main achievements Lion Assurance boasts of?
Having started at the bottom in the market with 20 players in 2004, Lion Assurance now boasts of consistency over the market average growth in Gross Premium Income over the years and is currently the sixth largest insurance company in the market. During the same period, the shareholders recapitalised the business to over sh9b displaying the confidence we have of the long term sustainability of the business. We have invested in a robust information technology underwriting and finance system that ensures quality and timely service to our esteemed customers.
Qn: Any future prospects
We are working on very exciting market-driven new products that we shall be launching soon. We are also in the process of expanding to various districts so as to take our services closer to our customers.
Double recognition for BRAC
By Oyet Okwera
As most firms are now looking to the closure of their 2011 books, the weighing scale seems so much inclined on revenues collected this year compared to last year. Most firms have promised employees Christmas packages coupled by parties perhaps to celebrate the annual achievements. However, BRAC-Uganda, a non-governmental organisation has something different to celebrate this year.
This is the recent award they received in November from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU). The award was under the category of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) of Financial Reporting.
BRAC is a development organisation dedicated to poverty alleviation by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. It also provides access to finance and critical livelihood development services to thousands of the country’s poorest people.
BRAC opened its operational gates in Uganda five years ago while in Bangladesh, it opened in 1972. It has since established itself as a pioneer in recognising and tackling many different realities of life.
Daniel Busingye, Principal Accountant at BRAC says organising the poor is at the heart of BRAC’s obligations.
“Our village organisations each with 30-40 women act as platforms for poor women to come together and access services like microfinance, exchange information and raise awareness on social, legal and other issues concerning their daily lives,” he says.
He says in order for the poor to come out of poverty, they must have the tools to fight it across all fronts.
“We have therefore developed support services in areas of human rights, legal aid, education, health care, social and economic sustainability coupled by disaster preparedness.
Busingye explains that self-reliance is a key theme at BRAC and since inception, the NGO has been a donor-funded one but now, it is 70% self-financed. He says BRAC has achieved this level of self-reliance not only through built-in measures to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness across all programmes, but also through innovating the concept of social enterprise.
“Our social enterprise, ranging from agriculture to handicrafts, are strategically connected to our development programmes and form crucial chain linkages that increase the productivity of our members’ assets and labour, and reduce the risks of their enterprises. The surplus generated from these enterprises is fed back into our development programmes that help to make us increasingly self-reliant,” clarifies Busingye.
In the recently concluded Financial Reporting (FiRe) Awards sponsored by Vision Group, East African Development Bank, The African Capacity Building Foundation and the National Planning Authority, BRAC-Uganda won two maiden ICPAU Financial Reporting Awards. The first award was for being the best in the NGO category under this year’s Financial Reporting Awards and the other was for emerging the third best in Financial Reporting in all sectors in the country this year.
Mrs. Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning explained that the accountancy profession plays a crucial role in the prudent management of economic resources, both in the private and the public sectors through the continuous application of professional standards.
The minister was speaking at Imperial Royale, Kampala during the ICPAU Financial Reporting Awards ceremony.
The awards aim at encouraging the implementation of financial reporting standards and improving the quality of financial and business reporting in Uganda.
Lion Assurance excels in Insurance-FiRe Awards Supplement