Absa to acquire interest in Instant Life

By Janice Roberts

absa-logoAbsa announces a transaction to acquire a controlling interest in direct life insurer Instant Life, subject to regulatory approvals (including approval from the South African Reserve Bank) and other conditions customary for a transaction of this nature. The transaction will give Absa a 75% stake in the business.

Instant Life is an online life insurance distribution platform offering life, disability and critical illness cover to qualifying customers. It was established in 2008 to address a growing market for pure-risk life insurance sold online. Since inception, the business has had a steady performance with strong revenue growth.

Jannie Venter, Managing Director for Absa Life, says: “The acquisition of Instant Life will provide Absa with a scalable platform to grow our Bancassurance business as we will now be able to deliver automated and efficient life insurance through all our customer accessed distribution channels.”

“By leveraging Instant Life’s existing digital platform, customers will have access to a self-service function that will allow them to acquire insurance and easily update and manage their policies online” adds Venter.

The acquisition also complements Absa’s recent launch of the first predictive underwriting solution in Africa, and one of the first globally.  This innovation has received a number of industry accolades and awards this year and this transaction is a continuation of Absa’s journey to improve the customer experience.  “Instant Life has developed a tele-underwriting methodology that caters for 99% of lives to be underwritten online or through a telephonic interview that is backed up by an interactive underwriting decision tree” says Venter.

Absa’s acquisition of Instant Life follows the procurement of a controlling interest in First Assurance in Kenya in June. Venter says, “Instant Life’s technologies provide an essential component to deliver online underwriting across Africa which is capable of operating in multiple jurisdictions across numerous currencies. This ties in well with Barclays Africa’s strategic objective to capture the growth opportunity in our Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance business by building on our existing presence in Africa.”

Bryan McLachlan, CEO of Instant Life says: “We are confident that the Absa and Barclays culture and brand fits well with what has driven Instant Life for the past eight years across our business model and we foresee it increasing both our customer base and our offering through significant opportunities going forward.”

Venter concludes, “In addition to the overall strategic fit, we foresee significant immediate value that can be unlocked by combining the Absa brand and customer base with the current capabilities and business of Instant Life.”


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