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New head of AIG Africa bullish on region’s growth prospects

27 November 2008 AIG South Africa

The new African head of one of the world’s largest insurance groups is bullish on the region and says there are many opportunities to grow the business in Africa.

Peter Flint (pictured), newly appointed Regional President & CEO of AIG Africa which operates in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, said that his mission is to build out AIG’s current solid foundation and grow the group’s African Continent footprint. Flint arrived in his new Johannesburg base a few weeks ago.

In South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, AIG provides commercial and consumer insurance. The African operations wrote premiums of US$329,918,000 in the last year.

“My brief is to look at new opportunities in Africa because we see the potential for organic growth and as well as through expansion. My regional team are keen to look at the business opportunities in other African countries too and also grow our portfolio’s in the countries where we already operate.”

Flint says that in particular travel related products and small business insurance show signs of being under-serviced sectors in Africa and that he expects the market to expand for these offerings as Continental Africa’s economies continue to grow and become more politically stable.

Flint, who has been with AIG since 1992, moved to his Africa post from his last assignment in Shanghai. where he was the regional president of AIU’s non-life China region said that one of his immediate challenges was to explain to people that the troubles faced by AIG Inc, the ultimate parent company of AIU, has had no direct impact on the separately capitalised and regulated African operations.

“For AIG in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya its pretty much business as usual; we are in a very strong financial position and are continuing to pay claims as we always have and are underwriting and binding new business. AIG Inc’s challenges in America are localised and are not impacting our progress here.

“We remain as tightly regulated as before which means that none of our assets would be accessed by AIG Inc as we are required by local law to maintain specific levels of solvency in order to maintain our trading licenses.”

The solvency margin for AIG South Africa Limited is currently 61% compared to a statutory requirement of 15%, while the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) for AIG Life South Africa is 28 times compared with a minimum statutory requirement of 2 times.

Flint also says that his personal challenge is getting to know the idiosyncrasies of the African markets.

“I have already visited Kenya and Uganda and see great potential and optimism in those markets. And South Africa, as a gateway country to the rest of Africa holds great promise as the leading light on an emerging Continent.”

Flint replaces Joost Vink as head of AIG Africa Region. Vink has taken up a new role as country manager of AIG’s German operations.

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