Africa

James Cowper advises global microinsurance specialist on investment funding

Thames Valley accountants and business advisory firm James Cowper has advised global microinsurance specialist MicroEnsure on its fundraising.

MicroEnsure raised USD10.4m from its existing investors, as well as from Sanlam Emerging Markets and AXA, to help finance its expansion into new markets.
 
Following an 88 per cent increase in the number of clients served in the past five months, the UK-based company now covers more than 7.6 million people across Africa and Asia with a range of accessible insurance products including life, health, personal accident and property.  
 
Through its partnerships with mobile network operators and microfinance banks, the company expects to enter a further three new countries reaching 12.7 million clients by the end of 2014.
 
“MicroEnsure is delighted to have Sanlam Emerging Markets and AXA invest in the group and join Telenor, IFC, Omidyar Network and Opportunity as strategic investors,” says Richard Leftley, CEO for MicroEnsure.  “Sanlam and AXA’s underwriting capacity and skills will be critical additions to our existing investors as we continue to rapidly expand and reach millions of low and middle income families in new territories.”
 
In parallel with this investment round the Telenor Group has taken equity in the MicroEnsure Group through a conversion of debt and by merging its 51 per cent shareholding in the MicroEnsure Asia joint venture with MicroEnsure Holdings Ltd.
 
Heinie Werth, CEO of Sanlam emerging markets, says: “Our partnership with MicroEnsure will complement us well on the high volume, low premium micro insurance side for both life and non-life products where we will be the preferred insurance underwriter.  In addition to this, MicroEnsure overlaps our footprint across Africa and India with future opportunities in Malaysia. We regard the company as the ideal partner through which to extend our micro-insurance offering.”

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