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Santam announced in August 2016 that it had acquired 100% of RMB-SI Investments, a structured insurance business previously owned by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings. The deal received regulatory approval in February and became unconditional last week providing Santam with access to new clients and markets and will enhance the group’s innovation and solutions mind-set.
RMB-SI is an industry innovator in specialist insurance structuring, offering partners and clients individually designed insurance solutions. According to Quinten Matthew, executive head of Santam Specialist, the opportunity for growth in the structured insurance space in South Africa is significant. “Our acquisition of RMB-SI has placed us in a strong position to capitalise on this growth by delivering bespoke insurance solutions to short-term insurance clients in the specialist space.”
Santam believes that the insurance industry is well disposed to niche offerings which offer higher growth opportunities. “The RMB-SI team has unique skills which will complement the existing capabilities within the Santam group.”
The local structured solutions space is currently dominated by three or four key players. “Santam will establish RMB-SI as an integrated offering in the Santam group, which will leverage off the financial strength of the business.”
Matthew says that on the African continent, this type of structured insurance is largely untapped outside of South Africa. “We can therefore use our existing global footprint to deliver the acquired expertise in appropriate markets. RMB-SI has licences in Ireland and Mauritius, so this too is a new capability for us.”
The first priority for Santam is to successfully integrate RMB-SI into Santam in South Africa. The company will be rebranded under the Santam banner, but the strong business model will be allowed to continue to flourish. “We have the utmost regard for the leadership team at RMB-SI and we know we’ll learn a lot from the expertise that they will bring to the Santam group.”
Matthew says that internationally, there is an excess of capacity in the insurance space, with unique skills required to create solutions. “Technical and specialist skills are in short supply globally and we believe that by on-boarding the RMB-SI team, we’ll be able to upskill and build up a leadership position in this specialist area.”
The RMB-SI group uses its portfolio of on and offshore insurance licences and its highly specialised skill set to create tailored insurance solutions for organisations needing access to an insurance license and/or looking to use their risk capital as efficiently as possible.
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