on April 25, 2012 by admin in Insurance Industry, Comments (0)

LeapFrog Expands Insurance Industry in West Africa via Record Foreign Direct …

ACCRA, Ghana, Apr 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- LeapFrog Investments today announced the largest private foreign investment in the history of Ghana's insurance industry, acquiring a majority stake in the Express Life Insurance Company. LeapFrog is the largest dedicated investor worldwide in companies that serve emerging consumers with insurance and related financial services. Express will draw on LeapFrog's capital and distinctive operational expertise to become the market leader in serving the large untapped market of low-income consumers in Ghana with products often costing less than US$10 per month. The investment is expected to substantially increase financial inclusion in this pivotal African market and to mark a new phase of inclusive growth for the sector.

Ghana's GDP grew at 13.5% last year and its life insurance industry has grown at 40% annually for the past five years -- yet the vast majority of the country's 25 million people do not have access to insurance. Express Life was launched in 2009 by Obed Danquah, a Ghanaian entrepreneur whose businesses focus on financial services for the mass market in Ghana. The company primarily offers hybrid savings and risk products to individuals employed by public sector institutions.

"Creating positive social impact along with strong financial returns has always been a focus of mine," said Mr Danquah. "Given LeapFrog's profit-with-purpose approach to investing and experience in the insurance industry, they are an ideal partner. This powerful strategic alignment will permanently alter the insurance space in the country by setting a new standard for ethical and inclusive provision of insurance to the mass market."

LeapFrog brings both capital and expertise to Express, investing USD$5.5 million into the company and providing operational support across the organization. Key operational initiatives include strengthening management, building and training a distinctive agency force, and designing relevant and affordable products.

"LeapFrog is committed to driving the delivery of affordable insurance for low-income consumers across Africa, and Express will play a leading role in this regard for Ghana," said Doug Lacey, the LeapFrog partner who led the transaction. "Our portfolio now covers five African countries and includes landmark investments in companies such as Apollo, the leading insurance group in East Africa, and AllLife, the innovative South African insurer for people living with HIV/AIDS."

Dr. Andrew Kuper, LeapFrog's Founder and President, concluded: "Investing in Ghana underscores LeapFrog's commitment to high-growth emerging markets that are home to the next billion consumers. To date, LeapFrog has made landmark investments in Africa and Asia, contributed to robust operational and financial performance of its portfolio companies, and currently reaches over 8.6 million people, 70% of whom are women and children. Through Express, LeapFrog aims to empower over 500,000 Ghanaians with financial safety nets and springboards to a better life."

About LeapFrog Investments

LeapFrog's $135m fund is the world's largest investor in inclusive insurance and related financial services. Launched with former US President Bill Clinton, the fund invests in companies serving the next billion, the vast untapped market of emerging consumers in Africa and Asia. LeapFrog brings unique value-adding support and global best practice in microinsurance to its portfolio companies. The fund aims to generate robust investment returns while reaching 25 million vulnerable people. Investors in LeapFrog's high impact investment fund include global banks such as JP Morgan, Triodos, IFC, KfW, and EIB; leading funds such as Soros EDF, TIAA-CREF, Omidyar Network, FMO, and Calvert; global reinsurers SCOR, Haverford, and Flagstone Re; and development financiers including Proparco and Accion Frontier Investments Group.


About Express Life Insurance Company Limited

Express Life Insurance Company Limited (ELIC) is Ghanaian company founded by Mr. Obed Danquah that aspires to be the company of choice for life insurance products and services in Ghana. Express aims to support Ghanaian consumers across the country, including low-income consumers in both urban and rural areas. Express has a team of dedicated and motivated staff that focuses on identifying customer needs and developing and delivering solutions for them. The core values of the company are Honesty, Integrity, Transparency, Ethics, and Professionalism.


SOURCE: LeapFrog Investments

        LeapFrog Investments 
        Tahira Dosani, +1-646-321-7105 
        Director of Global Engagement  Strategic Projects 

Copyright Business Wire 2012

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/leapfrog-expands-insurance-industry-in-west-africa-via-record-foreign-direct-investment-2012-04-24

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