The insurance market in Mauritius – as with the wider island economy – is small yet dynamic, and best characterised by emerging opportunities for growth. Although the market is naturally quite limited in scale, it is nonetheless occupied by as many as 14 insurance firms, the majority of which are struggling for survival in what is proving to be an increasingly challenging marketplace.
During the process of these firms setting up in Mauritius, many small companies have merged with others to allow them the best possible chance of competing with the stiff competition in the sector. However, one of the larger and more experienced firms in operation, the New India Assurance Company (New India), which has a history dating as far back as 1919 and a huge presence in India and Afro-Asia, is capitalising on its rich experience in the industry.
Historic local presence
Although the firm’s headquarters are in Mumbai, New India has maintained a presence in Mauritius for over 77 years and has, since its beginnings, endeavoured to become the most respected, trusted and preferred non-life insurer in the region. The company’s assets have increased for three years running in Mauritius, and have risen from $34.44m in 2011 to $39.76m in 2013 (see Fig. 1), which offers an indication of the pace at which New India is growing.
The company has a number of advantages over rival insurers in the region, too, in that it is wholly owned by the Indian government and backed by $8.4bn worth of global assets. These foundations have allowed New India to procure more business in new markets and leverage its business elsewhere, which has been crucial in the company posting consistent profits these past seven years.
The company’s mission is to develop general insurance business in the best interest of the community and to provide financial security to individuals, trade, commerce and all other segments of society by offering insurance products and services of a high quality and at an affordable rate.
This client-centric and forward-thinking ethos can best be seen in Mauritius, where New India has made it its highest priority to not only cater to customers’ needs, but to maintain high standards of public conduct and transparency in all it does.
Technology and transparency
One of the ways in which New India has differentiated its services from those of its competitors is by introducing new software called Web-Based Agent’s Modules, which is accessible to all of the company’s accredited agents and allows them to issue certificates and receipts from their offices. The system is the first of its kind in Mauritius and has not only streamlined New India’s services but instilled a greater measure of transparency to the Mauritian market.
At present, New India is operating through 27 accredited agents’ offices and has plans to introduce a further 10 in the coming year. Coverage of this scale is part and parcel of the company’s ability to astutely analyse and evaluate the marketplace, as well as adjust to any major changes with immediate effect.
Also in keeping with New India’s dedication to customers is the appointment of a complaints coordinator, who is charged with handling any grievances customers might have. Regardless of this position, New India last year received the least number of complaints in its history, due in large part to the company’s well-defined systems, faultless authority delegation, compliance with regulatory requirements, and the required technical expertise to negotiate a challenging Mauritian marketplace.
The island’s insurance industry is one rife with lucrative opportunities, which will no doubt be capitalised on provided that firms follow New India’s example and expand upon their existing products and services.