Hollard Insurance Group has officially announced the completion of its R1.8 billion acquisition of the Regent Insurance Group from Imperial Holdings, making it the second-largest short-term insurer in South Africa.
The Regent Insurance Group comprises of insurance operations and investments in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho.
The acquisition was formally completed following Financial Services Board approval of the South African leg of the transaction, after South African Competition Tribunal approval was received in April.
The conclusion of the South African portion of the deal comes after Hollard International Holdings’ successful acquisition of the Regent Group’s non-South African interests in Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho for an upfront consideration of R697 million in January 2017.
“Acquiring Regent is an important milestone for Hollard, given our objectives of increasing our African footprint and building scale in our South African business. The deal expands our life distribution capability and significantly enhances our presence and capability in the commercial vehicle space” says Nic Kohler, CEO of Hollard Insurance Group.
He explains that the integration of the two businesses will strengthen Hollard’s position as South Africa’s largest independent insurance group, and result in a consolidated operation that employs more than 3 600 people and generates more than R20 billion per year in premium income.
The earlier acquisition of Regent’s non-South African interests has already supported Hollard’s international growth, which now contributes more than 25 percent of the Group’s profits and is enjoying growth of almost 30 percent per annum.
Hollard is now the largest short-term insurance company in Botswana, and entered its seventh African market in Lesotho through the acquisition.
“Hollard is actively pursuing opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa and other markets where we see potential for growth,” said Kohler. “This expansion has been enabled by a strong skills base, infrastructure and balance sheet, as well as a partnership approach that places a premium on matching cultures,” he continued.
The company originally announced its intention to acquire the Regent Group from Imperial in September 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.
Following a lengthy competition authority approval process, the transaction was restructured to exclude Regent’s Motor Value Added Products and Services business, which will now be retained by the Imperial Group.
Kohler emphasised that existing Hollard and Regent policyholders will continue to enjoy the same benefits and commitment to service excellence that they are currently receiving, as well as additional peace of mind that their policies are underwritten by a larger entity, with enhanced financial and technical resources, and competitive pricing.
“Insurance is a people business, and in an industry in which skills are at a premium, the unification of two strong industry players will create an insurer with a comprehensive set of skills that will benefit intermediaries and customers alike,” says Kohler.
“Hollard was founded more than 35 years ago supported by long-term, genuine and mutually beneficial relationships, and strengthened by our commitment to doing things differently in order to make a difference,” Kohler adds. “We want to help our customers, our brokers, and our employees to make positive changes in their lives – and we look forward to extending this to Regent’s employees, brokers and customers too.”