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Back to nurture Editorial: Colin Chinery Production: Ajuanne Payne

When Munich-based Allianz Global & Corporate Speciality (AGCS) targeted a major growth strategy for South Africa and the Sub Saharan region, it tasked Canada-based Delphine Maidou to lead it. “We’re investing in Africa, because we believe in the continent,” the underwriting and marketing high-flyer and Africa-returnee tells IndustrySA.

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For Delphine Maidou arriving in Johannesburg 18 months ago as newlyappointed Africa CEO for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) after 20 years in North America, it was destiny’s appointment with opportunity. “I have always wanted to come back to Africa, and it’s been a timing issue.” By late 2012 the timing was right. The Munichheadquartered Group was embarking on a new and ambitious African regional strategic direction, and the Burkina Faso-born former head of AGCS’s Market Management for Canada was flying in to lead the drive for major pan-African growth. The moment was right for another reason; the bullish economic outlook for Sub Saharan Africa. The International Monetary Fund forecasts 2014 output growth in the whole SSA region at 5.7% - significantly better than elsewhere in the world - a view shared by the World Bank. Allianz offers companies specialist risk consulting support


as well as property, financial lines, engineering, marine, liability and energy insurance from its South African office with access to aviation via the office in London. The company also provides access to all the complementary products and services offered by the Allianz Group and its network in over 150 countries. Although Allianz had a presence in Africa for years - mainly in support of the African operations of big multinationals - it wanted to develop in emerging markets. And at the start of 2012 a project team of mainly African Allianz employees and headed by Ms Maidou was tasked with investigating the opportunities. “I did a lot of work before arriving in Africa. I was in two roles; handing over my responsibilities in Canada and introducing myself to the market in South Africa. Now some two years later, it’s all going very well.”

DOUBLE GROWTH So well that AGCS now offers its services to an increasing


number of South African and African clients, and the Johannesburg headed business is growing rapidly. “In one year we have doubled our size and looking to double again in the next two years in both premiums and turnover.” But before take-off came the big questions: “How do we do it, when is a good time to launch, who do we hire? In the industrial division of the Group we only look at large corporate risks, with a lot of construction projects. So we asked ourselves how many clients across Africa are there in our target segment? “So at the beginning it was important we had a local team that understands the market and has relationships within it. But we are also part of a global company, and the team we have locally may not necessarily understand how Allianz operates as a whole.” The answer was a recruitment mix; South African and ex-pats that understood Allianz. And between the two says Ms Maidou, she has been able to create a good balance, an 80% African team following the global rules and principles

of Allianz and at the same time making them suit the African market. “Initially there were only two lines of business, and we recognised that to expand we needed to bring our full range of products into the continent. “South Africa is a springboard into Africa for many companies. We listened to our clients and established a local presence and we are now seeing business from right across the continent. “We have gone from a team of around 19 to 42 where it is today, bringing all the lines of business globally into Africa. So whatever you can get with Allianz in London - which is where the African market tends to go to - we are now saying you can now get with Allianz in South Africa.”

CONTINENT IN CONSTRUCTION But Africa and South Africa are two different structures, says the CEO. “Leave South Africa and you are in a different world. And each African country is different one from another.”


company profile So AGCS is targeting nations undergoing significant economic development, major economies such as Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. “We have a continent that is in construction, whether in mining or infrastructure. “But we are also looking at regions. In eastern Africa for instance there are a lot of construction projects, with roads

“But come daytime and a problem, the client needs to know the company they are with is a partner who will go with them into the claims process and then pay so they can move on with their operation” going from one country to another, and we are providing cover for infrastructure projects such as these, looking not

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only country by country but also where the investment is going.” At the end of the day says Maidou, the claims function is a market facing issue. “This is what the client is buying, a promise that allows them to sleep easier at night. “But come a problem, the client needs to know the company they are with is a partner who will go with them into the claims process and then pay so they can move on with their operation. And this is key for us.” A chartered underwriter and former Africa High School pupil with degrees from the universities of Boston and Pittsburgh, Maidou has worked for Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality since 2010. “I worked in the US for ten years and then moved to Canada. “I have always wanted to come back to Africa and

Client First

Williams Hunt

Client First, Collaboration, Agility, Rigour Authorised Financial Services Provider FSB FAIS No: 43021 Part of the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group

CORPORATE INSURANCE & REINSURANCE BROKING AND EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING 12 Culross Rd | Bryanston | Gauteng South Africa | 2191 Tel: +27 (0) 11 361 0000 | Fax: +27 (0) 11 706 8461

Cape Town | 1st Floor Building 3 | Fusion Quarter Waterford Place | Century City Tel: +27 (0) 21 552 9014 joined Allianz in Canada because I knew that if there was a company that will eventually give me the opportunity to return to Africa it would be a company like Allianz - even though at that time there was little focus on Africa. It’s always been a timing issue. “When the Group decided to look more closely at emerging markets, I was approached to lead the team here in Africa, and my international experience has helped me a lot.

NO WAY BACK “We’re investing in Africa, because we believe in the continent. And looking ten years ahead I’m hoping we will be in the position where we will be using our strength right across Africa to help development. “Without insurance there is no growth. And for fastgrowing Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty in Africa, there is no way back.”


“Now going forward the plan is to have a team that is increasingly local and ultimately to have an Allianz in Africa that is run by Africans”

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