Uganda: Insurance firms restructure and competition intensifies

By Jeff Mbanga in Kampala
Posted on Monday, 23 June 2014 15:25

There is another reason for the changes, too. the insurance act of 2011 took effect in December 2013, meaning that companies had to split their life and non-life offerings into separate companies.

It would be important to understand why the shift to HMOs is occurring and what can be done to increase medical insurance company’s market share

The rationale for the law is that the life sector is different in nature from short-term products and thus should be treated differently.

Kenya, rwanda and tanzania are all implementing similar reforms.

A 2014 survey commissioned by the uganda insurance association calls for companies to come up with ways to counter the spread of health management organisations (HMOs), which are taking a sizeable share of the life business.

HMOs insure patients but also deliver healthcare.

“The main threat to medical insurance companies is HMOs. It would be important to understand why the shift to HMOs is occurring and what can be done to increase medical insurance company’s market share,” the survey notes.

Kampala’s Nakasero Hospital terminated its services with insurer Sanlam in order to offer its own products.

The hospital formed the Nakasero health care HMO and received a licence to offer insurance in March.

Small insurance companies might not be able to compete against HMOs.

With stringent regulatory rules such as the increase in the minimum paid-up capital, they might be targets for takeover or merger.

In november 2013, Sanlam emerging Markets, parent company of South Africa’s Sanlam, completed the purchase of 49% of Malawi’s Nico Holdings, which has a presence in Uganda.

Sanlam took over 50.3% of Nico’s Uganda unit, making it the majority shareholder. ●

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