Below we have listed a few questions and answers to better assist you before you make any decisions about insurance.
BAI Co. (Mtius) and Bramer Banking Corporation Limited which are members of the BAI Co (Mtius) in Mauritius have both been placed under statutory management. How will this affect Bramer Life Insurance?
Bramer Life is also a member of the British American Investment Co. (Mtius) so its brand image will be affected because it is associated with the two companies. However, Bramer Life is an autonomous life insurance company registered under the laws of Botswana and conducts its business independently of the two companies. It is regulated by NBFIRA and all its assets are in Botswana. It is not involved in the businesses in Mauritius and does not have assets in Mauritius.
Should policyholders and the general public in Botswana be worried about the developments in Mauritius?
No. The developments in Mauritius do not have a direct impact on the operations or the financial stability of Bramer Life because Bramer Life is an autonomous legal entity with its own local investments. All shareholder monies and policyholder funds invested in Bramer Life are in held in Botswana financial institutions.
Do you think that Bramer Life is likely to lose business because of this incident?
A Life insurance company is a custodian of people’s future wealth so trust is extremely important. Some people might be overwhelmed by the scandal and lose that trust. This media brief is a transparent way of working with you to convey information to the public so that they can fully understand the situation from the leadership of the company instead of relying on hearsay and social media. We are giving you the media an opportunity to ask questions on their behalf.
What is the relationship between Bramer Life (Pty) Ltd and Non-Bank Financial Institution Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA)?
Bramer Life Insurance (Pty) Ltd is a life insurance company registered in Botswana and NBFIRA is the Regulatory body appointed by Government to regulate and supervise Non-Bank Financial Institutions. NBFIRA therefore regulates the affairs of Bramer Life which is a Non-Bank Financial Institution.
Why has NBFIRA appointed a statutory manager to manage Bramer Life when there is a management team employed by Bramer Life?
Firstly, NBFIRA appointed a statutory manager to protect the interests of the policyholders.
Secondly, a statutory manager has powers to override the Board and this will ensure that independent decisions can be made that protect the policyholder.
Thirdly, Ms Vaka wears several hats; as CEO, as Shareholder and as custodian of policyholder funds so there is potential conflict inherent in her role whereas a statutory Manager can act independently.
Fourthly, NBFIRA and its representatives have the statutory authority to engage with the Regulators (FSC and Bank of Mauritius) in Mauritius which have placed the two companies under management and are responsible for monitoring the process in Mauritius. Management do not have such powers.
What is Bramer Life view about how this matter has been handled by NBFIRA.
Following the report of the incident to NBFIRA by Ms Regina Vaka, NBFIRA reacted instantly and robustly to appoint a Statutory Manager in less than 48 hours thereby demonstrating a high level of resolve to protect the public interest in this market which is highly commendable.
How does Bramer Life assure investors that their investments are protected and secure?
Bramer Life has a team of very experienced managers who have been in the industry for decades. Bramer Life investments and policyholder funds are currently held in Botswana entities and managed separately from investments in sister companies. In addition, Bramer Life Insurance has reinsurance agreements with international Reinsurance companies which act as additional protection to policyholders.
How did the majority shareholder come to invest in Botswana?
The majority shareholder was introduced to Botswana as part of the delegation of the Mauritian trade mission led by the Prime Minister Hon Navnichandra Ramgoolam to Gaborone in 2011. The license application to NBFIRA was supported by the FSC and all board appointments to Bramer Life were vetted by NBFIRA and the Botswana Police.
What is the way forward for Bramer Life?
Within 2 days we were able to identify all the key issues and are implementing the plan. In the immediate term, Bramer Life will work closely with the statutory manager to insulate the company from any contamination and restore market confidence through various strategies. It will review its Shareholders Agreements to eliminate any aspects that may pose a risk to the financial services or economy of Botswana and give updates to the public on any changes as appropriate. In the short to medium term it will continue to promote its product offerings in the Botswana market because it has been permitted to do so by NBFIRA.
Taking into consideration of the current situation, what will happen is a policyholder decides to cancel a policy?
Bramer Life license is up and running as confirmed by NBFIRA. Any cancellation is the customer’s choice and will be as per terms and conditions of the policy.
What are the lessons learnt from this incident
Life is full of surprises! You cannot always judge a book by its cover and what you see on the surface may be very different from reality and a corporate mishap can happen at any time. Having sufficient Corporate Governance experience and a network of people to rely on make it easier to isolate the issues quickly and to implement a solution instantly.