The insurance sector in Rwanda is about to experience an unprecedented turn around following a complete merger between Soras and Saham Rwanda Limited to form one entity.
After the merger, which is expected to come to completion at the end of March 2019, the firm will be named Soras, engulfing Saham.
Senior executives from both companies announced the merger on Friday morning at Marriott Hotel.
The merger will raised the two firms’ market value to $30million ($20m Soras + $10m Saham).
However, the merger was a result of Sanlam’s buyout of both Saham and Soras at the group level.
Sanlam Group, a pan-African diversified financial services provider with a presence in 34 African
countries, entered the Rwandan market by acquiring 63% interest in SORAS Group in 2014.
This was followed by the acquisition of the remaining 37% interest in SORAS in 2017, making SORAS a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sanlam Group.
In 2018, Sanlam acquired 100% of Saham Finances, resulting in the Group having two businesses in Rwanda necessitating the merger of Soras and Saham in Rwanda.
The company said this development is part of the group’s growth strategy, to create a stronger and more diversified business, in line with its vision of being the leading pan-African financial services player.
Soras AG Ltd CEO, Fiacre Birasa told journalists that the industry is constantly changing and thus calls for more synergies, “ as we aim to improve operational efficiencies. This merger presents a great opportunity for the insurance industry as it moves forward.”
Birasa, a veteran in the sector, said, “We look forward to positively impacting our customers with a wider range of products and services. For us, Soras and Saham can be better together.”
He told Taarifa after the announcement that he is determined to expand and bring innovative products to the market and this should happen sooner than alter.
“We were big, and now we are bigger, so our plan is to improve and increase the quality of service as well,” he said.
Soras holds about 30% of the market share, and now with the addition of Saham, which was the second market leader, their muscle has grown stronger.
Betty Sayinzoga, CEO for Saham Vie, who will over see the process of the merger, said the move will bring the experience of both worlds to Rwandans – a hybrid of inclusive insurance to cater for their various needs.
SORAS Vie CEO, Jean Hodari said the merger comes at a time when the uptake of life insurance in Rwanda is picking up.
It comes to show that people are more aware of the needs met by taking on life insurance. Our coming together presents even greater opportunities for our current and future customers.”