Friday, September 18African Business News
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ADVANTAGE PRESTIGE

Prestige Assurance Plc “has the advantage” as it is strategically positioned to provide efficient and effective solutions to your risk management issues, using the modern information technology, skillful and professional workforce with the objective of making its esteemed clients feel the positive impact in every sphere of their lives.

Mr. Sarbeswar Sahoo, Managing Director, Prestige Assurance Plc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prestige Assurance Plc, is one of Nigeria’s leading general insurance Company with offices nationwide, with about 68 years of undisputable insurance services, and a commitment to create long-term value for its clients and stakeholders through strong business fundamentals, consistent with its mission and guided by a strong vision and excellent core values was established in 1952 as a branch office of The New India Assurance Company Limited, Mumbai.

Incorporated as a limited liability company on 6th January 1970 and licensed to write all classes of Non-life insurance in Nigeria. Before its incorporation, the company has operated as a branch office of The New India Assurance Company Limited Mumbai, the largest general insurer in Afro-Asian region with presence in over 28 countries and ‘A-‘ Excellent Positive outlook rating by A.M. Best Company of USA for eighteen years.

However, in order to reflect the majority shareholding of the Nigeria public in the Company, its name changed to Prestige Assurance Plc on 24th September 1992, in line with the indigenization decree passed by government of Nigeria. After successful recapitalization in 2007 and subsequent Rights issue in 2015, Prestige Assurance Plc currently operate as a subsidiary Company of The New India Assurance Company Ltd, Mumbai with 69.5 percent shareholding.

As one of the largest insurance company in Nigeria, Prestige has a shareholders’ fund in excess of 8.1Billion as at 31st December 2018 and has established a reputation for excellent delivery of insurance products and services, especially in special risks, such as fire and special peril, oil & energy, aviation, engineering, and industrial risk management, health.

The company is strategically positioned to provide efficient and effective solutions to your risk management issues, using the modern information technology, skillful and professional workforce with the objective of making its esteemed clients feel the positive impact in every sphere of their lives.

Speaking with Inside Business Africa at the prestigious Victoria island Lagos head office, the Managing Director of Prestige Assurance Plc. Mr. Sarbeswar Sahoo confirm the readiness of the firm to builds capacity for shocks as competition, deteriorating economic outlook beckons against the backdrop of recent global economic challenges occasioned by the covid 19 pandemic.

According to Mrs. Sahoo, Underwriting firm, Prestige Assurance Plc is aware of the challenges that the business environment will face in the short and medium term as result of the covid-19 pandemic, and so has continued to implement initiatives that will make the company strong and competitive, including capacity building across the various departments of the firm..

Speaking further, Mr. Sahoo said in the coming years, a combination of stiffer competition, the entry of big players from abroad acquiring local companies, ongoing recapitalization in the industry, the sudden deterioration of the economic outlook and an unstable environment of interest rates will define the operating environment for the business hence the company is currently working on various strategies with New India Assurance, Mumbai to look at options open for growth to ensure sustainability.

According to him, with the amendment in the recapitalisation timetable by the National Insurance Commission(NAICOM) “we must attain N5 billion by the end of this year and complete the recapitalization by the 2021 deadline. To this end, the right issue which opened on August 10, 2020 is one of the various ways of which the company will, at the end of the exercise will increase it visibility and capacity within the Nigerian insurance market.

Again, you must be aware that the strength of New India Assurance, presently in 28 Countries across the Globe, and there is a global saying that the sun never sets in India, which means in the whole of 24 hours a day the company is in operation globally with the same set standards and ethics with continues to impact on the performance of Prestige Assurance Plc. in Nigeria.

Asides that New India is a Government owned Company, where profit is not the only motto because its vision is to solve peoples’ problem, to help the economy of Countries where it operates. Basically the company thrives on being part of the growth story of any of these countries. So the focus is always about the peopleno doubt but in the process of solving the people, be a part of the people, meet up the people’s requirement which is the mission, as a business we must also make return on investment.

Speaking on the growth story of Prestige Assurance Plc, and his indian heritage Mr. Sahoo said “I am very proud to be from India, India has seen a good growth story, since 1947 to 2020 the growth is tremendous particularly in the areas of education and health, across the globe you can see that Indians are going out and giving out their Technical services, Medical services, you could also see that most of the biggest companies across the globe are headed by Indians. You see, there was a time in my childhood population was a challenge in India but now that is now an advantage for potential growth of India. The growth story of India is tremendous, most especially in healthcare, and the way the healthcare facilities are being increased and become Health care hub for the rest of the world”.

Like l said earlier when New India Assurance started in Nigeria in 1952, it was almost one of the pioneers of the Insurance Industry in Nigeria from there on it continued, it has experienced many ups and downs, doubt including handling many, many, many calamities of claims in this Country.

You might have heard of the Major plane Crash in 2012 of which the insurance was handled by Prestige Assurance PLC., successfully and claims paid, so we are Synonymous with the Economy of Nigeria, the Insurance  Industry of Nigeria. You can imagine for 68 years this Company is operating in this Country with strong Management without any hitches, I will tell you that this is a credit in itself. Especially, in this Country where companies do change Managers frequently, mergers and acquisition, including Political, Economy and all, it helps signifies how Prestige is Synonymous with the people of Nigeria and the Economy.

Meanwhile, speaking on the challenges in the industry as pioneer of many products Mr. Sahoo said “our challenge in the general insurance is that people don’t have the money to buy insurance so this is a constraint in even where the products and services are available”. I have a product but I cannot sell it I cannot take the product to people who really need it, so distinguishing is one challenge, pricing and  rate are another challenge.

The Economy is sinking today, who are the sufferers? The sufferers are people who are below the poverty line and their daily wages are not met. There are two challenges that needs to be addressed, the Health Requirements, and the loss of their properties and their life and I think there is a great potential in the insurance sector in the Agriculture sector, they are the people who need the Insurance most because they can get real protection for their produce among other benefits. There is need to engage in more awareness on the importance of insurance.

For us, Prestige is a strong Brand, it is supported by a Company which is a global with strong finance and strength and in the country for the past 68 years it would continue to be here because is not only having a backing of the New India it is also indirectly having the backup of the government of India.

Therefore, my message to the shareholders is that “Prestige Assurance Plc, is one of the strongest brands and stable  Company in Nigeria.. It is known for its product innovations, services and there is confidence in the market about the company to the extent that whenever you mention the name Prestige people will definitely give you one answer that, this is the Company that can pay your claim when you can count on it”.

For me and the board and management we have strong confidence on our Shareholders and they have confidence in this Company and will always support the growth initiatives.

In the last 68 years  we can say that Prestige has always tried to give the best services in the Industry, so since there is a large opportunity for the goal of Insurance sector and prestige having the backing of New India and the Government of India it would definitely be known as a strong brand and it will continue to play  major role as one of the pioneers of this Insurance Companies in Nigeria and India.  So our message to new investor is that you should have confidence, come invest in this Company, definitely you will not regret and we will definitely add value to your investments.

Prestige Assurance Plc is a Company with a strong Vision and it is known for its Values and commitments and to provide the right types of services with good and innovative products to the people of Nigeria so be with us, have interactions and we are there to serve you and Prestige are Compassionate and we are also caring and we continue to keep to our commitments, Mr. Sahoo concluded.

 

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