Momentum Short-term Insurance Company, under the flagship of MMI Holdings Namibia, is the newest entrant into the domestic short-term insurance market.
Launched this week, following MMI’s successful acquisition of a 70% stake in Quanta Insurance, the new insurance firm adds to the expansion and diversification of products and services in the Short-term insurance industry.
CEO of MMI Africa Dumo Mbethe pledged MMI’s enduring commitment to Namibia.
Mbethe also outlined the company’s efforts to employ as many Namibians as possible for the Namibian operations. He also indicated that MMI plans to be in Namibia for the long-term, saying “we are here to do long-term business”.
Finance minister Calle Schlettwein, who launched the company in Windhoek this week, said the business proposition is a credible demonstration of confidence in the domestic economy and the financial sector in particular.
“Financial stability and soundness are key hallmarks of our financial sector and compare favourably with the rest of the World. To these two pillars shall be added the inclusiveness dimension, which is key for financial stability and wealth creation,” said Schlettwein.
The minister said Namibia’s “well-capitalized and competitive financial sector remains a key catalyst for economic growth, employment and wealth creation. This is particularly so at the time when our economy is emerging from a downturn and undergoing a complex adjustment process.”
Regarding the future, he said prospects for 2018 are brighter than two years ago and the economy is projected to emerge from a mild contraction experienced last year.
The recently released Inclusive Development Index by the World Economic Forum places Namibia as the 5th most inclusive economies in the African region and 56th among Emerging Economies. In pursuit of sustainable development, inclusivity is a key pillar as espoused in the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Vision 2030 and the successive National Development Plans.
Schlettwein believes the insurance industry has a distinct role to play in contributing to this growth narrative through providing relevant, inclusive and affordable products and services to businesses and individuals.
“The enquiry on user fees in the financial sector has brought out evidence that the cost of products and services in the sector are prohibitively high especially for the low-income earners,” he said.
Successive FinScope Surveys indicate that general access to financial products and services has improved over the years, with financial inclusion having expanded from 49 percent in 2007 to about 69 percent by 2011. However insurance coverage remains limited with only a relatively low percent of the population having access to some form of insurance. There is thus a considerable mileage and a business case for the insurance industry to deliver on its commitments.
“I would like to encourage MMI Namibia to deploy its capacity to service low-income groups of our society, those in the informal sector employment and SMEs, as they contribute a considerable share of the economy,” he said.
They are however, said Schlettwein, “exposed to risks for which mitigating insurance has to be developed and I foresee good business opportunities developing within this sector.”