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BIHL’s short term insurance continues to suffer

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The first half of 2017 has seen a continuation of challenging market conditions for the short-term insurance at Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) group as it continues to experience a significant decline in new business. The Group led by Cathrine Letebele-Letegele, indicates in its recently released half year results, that in addition to the decline in new business, there has also been a rise in policy cancellations.

Many of the cancellations emanate from clients experiencing financial constraints, which have made it difficult for them to continue with their Legal Guard policies, according to the group executives. “This has impacted revenue negatively with premium income being 1.4 percent lower than for the same period last year,” reads the results statement. During the first half of the year, Legal Guard together with its sister company, Botswana Life Insurance Limited (BLIL), embarked on and concluded a restructuring exercise.

At the time, management indicated that it had become imperative to align the business’ cost base to levels more appropriate to a business of the size and nature of Legal Guard and thereby improve the company’s ability to achieve sustainable profitability. Legal Guard achieved an operating loss of P0.9 million for the first six months of 2017.

The main cause of this outturn was a once off P2.1 million cost incurred as part of the restructuring exercise completed on June 2017. Despite these negatives, the first half of 2017 saw a significant achievement for the business with the go-live of its new core operating system in April 2017. The system is expected to improve revenue stability going forward as well as provide an enhanced platform for claims administration.

The system will also facilitate internal process efficiency improvements and the division’s quality of decision making information which will, in turn, reduce the business’ cost ratios, whilst also, releasing resources to focus on customer experience improvements. During the 2015/16 financial year, group reported on its 2016 year end results that the business effected a change in accounting for claims, resulting in an increase in outstanding claims reserves of P2.7 million.

This change, which was made to bring the business in line with recommended best practice by the insurance industry regulator, significantly impacted the profit for the year. However, at the time, General Manager Mike Dube indicated that, the business considered this as a prudent move and its benefits will be felt going forward. Meanwhile, in trying to turnaround the short term insurance business, the management has embarked on an exercise focused on improving the productivity of the distribution force and this is expected to impact new business going forward. According to management, however, for 2017 uncertainty in both the local and global markets is expected to continue to affect the results.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

The MidweekSun Admin

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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