The Financial Services Board (FSB) has given the green light for the Hollard Group to acquire the outstanding 60% shareholding in Etana insurance business, in a move that positions the merged entity among the largest short-term insurers in South Africa.
Hollard is South Africa's largest privately owned insurance group, while Etana is a leading provider of broker-driven corporate, commercial and personal lines insurance products that has achieved remarkable success since being spun out of Hollard in 2007 (Hollard retained a 40% shareholding in the entity at the time).
The approval by the FSB means insurance business currently placed with Etana will be transferred to the Hollard Insurance Company licence. Full operational integration of the Hollard and Etana teams will be completed by the end of March.
With the exception of organisational support areas, Etana staff form part of a new business unit within Hollard, along with a similar number of Hollard staff. The new business unit, focused entirely on brokers and their clients' corporate, commercial and personal insurance needs, is called Hollard Broker Markets and is headed by former Etana Chairman, Paolo Cavalieri.
The business unit includes all existing Etana branches and combines facilities for specialist lines business previously underwritten by the two entities, such as marine, engineering, agri-business and liabilities.
"Hollard believes that the way that this new business complements and enhances our existing business insurance offerings holds the promise of exciting growth. The combined entity draws together two substantial skill sets in a skills-constrained market, creates an expanded product range, raises underwriting capacity – all of which position us very well in what is a difficult market," Hollard Group CEO Nic Kohler says.