“Had I known” is often used to express a genuine regret for something missed and which was within one’s easy reach. And when the regret involves an irreparable damage or even death, no amount of tears can set one’s conscience free.
The story, of many families having to go through hardships at the loss of a breadwinner is pretty common in our society. It is even more devastating when no provision is made to cater for the family left behind in an environment where pensions are meager and people hardly see beyond planning their finances for their future.
It is during such challenging circumstances that the “had I known” syndrome comes into play and people begin to regret their actions or inactions. But where one’s future has been well planned and good investments such as in life insurance is undertaken to cater for eventualities in life, the picture ahead invariably looks certain.
One such life insurance company presenting the answers to an assured life is GN Life, one of the scores of successful businesses operated by Groupe Nduom. The various life insurance products of GN Life have the ready answers to anyone seeking to invest in a safe and reliable future as far as finances are concerned.
This is a future where one would not have to worry too much about relying on a meager pension or inadequate bank savings to live comfortably in retirement. The GN Life Assurance is also a future where one does not need to worry about the comforts and needs of one’s families if they should die prematurely. GN Life Assurance takes care of all such worries. So what is GN Life and why should anyone invest in it for their future?
What is GN Life?
GN Life Assurance Company Limited is one of the companies within the Groupe Nduom (GN) conglomerate. In 2014, having realised the enormous potential of the life insurance industry in Ghana and its potential to contribute to the economy of the country, Groupe Nduom decided to invest in the industry to help contribute to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as help individuals to plan for their future.
After receiving its life insurance license in November 2014, GN Life formally started operations in July 2015. The company worked tirelessly around the clock with the determination to make a mark and contribute to increasing the country’s GDP. Since then, GN Life has been in the process of recruiting and putting structures in place to meet their mandate. In April 2016, the Company was formally launched.
But why would GN invest in an industry that is little understood in an environment like ours and which is not well known? One knows that while almost every vehicle owner would virtually race to process and pay for a motor insurance and make sure it is regularly renewed no matter the premium; the picture is different for life insurance. Is it lack of knowledge on the benefits or is it because people do not see it attractive enough venture to invest their monies in?
The truth of the matter, according to the Managing Director (MD) of GN Life, Fiifi Simpson, is that even though the industry holds potential, compared to other countries in Africa, Ghana’s life insurance penetration is only about two per cent compared to South Africa which has the highest of 14.5 per cent and Namibia 7.5 per cent. But the low statistics notwithstanding, life insurance has the potential to grow to a high of 10 per cent in Ghana.
According to the GN Life MD, there is a catchment of potential target sitting out there who should be buying life insurance and who have not given any deep thoughts to the idea. He believes that once the education gets out there and the working class, both in the formal and the informal sectors, for example, get to assess the potential benefits for themselves and their families, people will begin to sign on to life insurance and come to see it as a matter of course.
Why invest in GN Life
In outlining why people should be investing in life insurance, the GN Life MD explained it in two ways. The first is that it helps to contribute to the economy of the country and we all know what a good performing national economy means for citizens. But that apart, the second most important reason why people should take to life insurance policies is what is in it for the individual. He stressed that GN Life Assurance policies have various products in the form of different types of investments that help people to plan their finances for a rainy day.
It is worth knowing that within the short space of time they have been on the market, GN Life has successfully paid out claims to individuals and groups, all payments of which were done in record times.
GN LIFE products
What then are some of such products that one can invest in? Among the various products of GN Life is a Fisherman’s Fund, directly targeted at the fishing communities. However, there are two flagship products which currently are well patronised by clients, and perhaps quite rightly so considering the culture we live in. These two leading products are: The Passage Plan and the Smart Child Plan.
The Passage Plan is more or less a funeral plan which aims at providing the insured with the needed funds to provide a loved one with a decent and dignified funeral in the event of death. In our culture, funerals have come to occupy a big part and families and friends are always passionate in sending a deceased relative to the other world in style. This sometimes even leaves families indebted.
The GN Life Passage Plan therefore provides the policy holder the ready finances to cover the expenses linked to the funeral without the family going to borrow and pay interest.
The Smart Child Plan on the other hand, focuses on the future of children or wards. Education, and a good one at that, is said to be the best investment any parent or guardian can give to their children or ward. However, education has become one of the biggest budget spend of most families. This is because the cost of education generally is costly.
The Smart Child Plan of GN Life therefore gives parents and guardians the opportunity to plan exclusively for their children’s education to whatever educational level by putting some monies in an investment plan to cater for the educational costs to whatever level depending on the premium selected by the parent. Smart Child Plan presents a much smarter way for parents and guardians to plan ahead for their children’s education. Also as part of this Plan is an investment plan and risk benefit which serve as a replacement income for the family in the unfortunate event of premature death of a parent.
How has GN Life fared?
In an interview with Today newspaper at the Company’s plush office at East Legon, a suburb of Accra, Managing Director of GN Life, Fiifi Simpson, said: “The journey so far for GN Life has been good.” That attestation in itself is an assurance that clients and prospective clients would like to hear. An endorsement to the fact that the future of clients “investments are in safe pairs of hands.”
The added assurance to clients, perhaps, is who GN Life is. As a member of the Groupe Ndoum conglomerate, GN Life has the huge advantage of partnering GN Bank with its current 265 locations across the country to get to every corner to sell their products. This has led to a Banc assurance relationship with GN Bank. He said: “I believe that what GN Life has come to represent is a company that is making strides without necessarily opening branch offices at the moment as we are in the stages of finding a firmer feet in the market.” By this he meant that GN Life had made its footprints known all over the country on the back of a sister Company, GN Bank.
Indeed, through the Banc assurance arrangement with GN Bank, GN Life automatically gets in all the 263 locations of GN Bank. As a result of this joint venture, GN Life is currently producing an excess of 5,000 policies every month. By the end of August 2016, GN Life predicted to sell excess of 8,000 policies per month inching fast to a grand total of 57,000 by the end of the year.
GN Life is currently on the path to increasing its client base. With GN Bank’s client base currently over 800,000, there is the potential for the Life Insurer to forge relationships with a larger majority of these clients. There is also the added advantage to capture a sizeable portion of the over 100,000 clients of Gold Cost Fund Management (GCFM), another successful company within Groupe Nduom.
Aside from the opportunities presented by GN Bank and GCFM, GN Life is looking to set up its own branches across the country to focus appropriately on other potential clients who may not be with GN Bank or GCFM.
Significance of life policy
Life insurance plays a significant role in both providing security to citizens and boosting the economy. Groupe Nduom decided to take advantage of the industry when it saw the enormous amount of potential that could be generated from the business. “If you look at other geographical areas like South Africa, you would find out that the majority of the investments that you see in terms of real estate are owned by life insurance companies,” said the MD of GN Life, Fiifi Simpson.
“In a place like Johannesburg you’ll find out that the biggest mall in South Africa, the Sandston Mall, is actually owned by Liberty Life.”
Life insurance contributes to 48 per cent of the total premium income of the market. Furthermore, the life insurance industry is growing at a faster rate than general business, by approximately 12 percentage points. At this speed, life insurance is on track to be a bigger commercial sector than general business.
Ghanaians have become accustomed to life insurance in recent years. “The interesting thing is that probably 15 years ago, not too many people thought that life insurance could grow the way it has. Until 2007, when the National Insurance Commission (NIC) came up with a new law that sought to separate life insurance operations from general business operations,” Mr. Simpson said. This has helped increase the number of life insurance companies significantly, because the businesses were compelled to grow to create their own profit.
Compared to other countries, Ghana still has a long way to go if the life insurance sector is to play a significant part in its GDP. Right now it contributes 2 per cent to the GDP, compared to 15 per cent in South Africa, 6 per cent in Botswana, and 3.7 per cent in Kenya. Currently, South Africa accounts for 95 per cent of Africa’s life insurance business, the rest comes from the remaining countries on the continent.
GN Life Assurance is hopeful that the next three years will yield an increase in people purchasing life insurance. “We are inching upwards and hoping that in another three years we should be getting close to a good market share to make us a formidable force in the life insurance business. In terms of profitability, we believe that it would be very significant,” added the GN Life MD.
With GN already operating in America, United Kingdom, Liberia, Togo and Sierra Leone, there is every possibility that GN Life would soon penetrate in some foreign markets as well.
The Company has a promising future with their quick response promise. “GN life is settling claims within 48 hours once all the documentation needed is provided. This is something that we intend to adhere to so that it will set us apart from competition,” said Mr. Simpson.
GN Life has come into the market at a time when the industry requires more growth, and people are becoming more aware of the life insurance business. New standards and expectations are being set with the increased presence of insurance companies.
Advertising slogans, a lot of times help sell products. So, in the case of GN Life, what slogan would they like Ghanaians or their clients to remember them with? Without hesitation, Mr. Simpson was quick to respond with an infectious smile, “In GN Life, we believe that we are working with people and the passion we have entered the market therefore reminds us that every life out there counts.” He continued, “We have couched our business slogan around this belief and so for GN Life, “Every Life Matters.”