A new vision for insurance brokerage in AngolaJuly 27, 2022
Khawanna Bom Vieira, general manager of Valorizza Corretora de Seguros, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s strategy for growth in the Angolan oil and gas sector and its competitive advantages as an insurance broker in the market. Valorizza is a business insurance broker operating in oil and gas and other sectors in Angola.
Can you walk us through the key milestones that Valorizza has achieved since its creation?
Valorizza started in July 2018 intending to create an insurance brokerage focused on providing excellent services. Two years later, in 2020, we had a growth of 550%, but in 2021, despite our good results, we did not grow as much as we expected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For 2022, we have a growth forecast of at least 150% compared to 2021 and based on the numbers. Only in the first quarter of 2022, we already mediated 82% of all the premiums paid during the 12 months of 2021.
Our growth is a result of our focus on our clients and their needs. In our portfolio, both large and small businesses are given the same attention, and the services are delivered with the same tailor-made approach.
We work for companies that operate in the oil and gas, engineering and construction, mining, industrial, transport and telecom sectors. In 2021, we mediated more than 170 corporate policies in these segments providing several types of insurance coverage, like health, life, machinery breakdown, motor, construction, multi-risk, civil liability and more. In terms of volume of premiums, workers’ compensation and health insurance lead our results, followed by machinery breakdown policies.
How much of your business portfolio is related to oil and gas, and how important is this part of your portfolio?
Almost 50% of our portfolio is related to oil and gas, and we are planning to increase this proportion starting this year, as we are already working with some new prospects and targeting new opportunities in the oil and gas sector. The upstream sector in Angola is moving ahead, and more projects are coming into the production phase, which also means the insurance world will be more active since more potential risks will need to be covered. All the clients I am talking to are very confident about 2022 and 2023 as well, and such an optimistic market outlook is going to have a positive impact on all of us.
What is your strategy for further penetrating the oil and gas sector?
Our strategy is to keep investing in know-how and human resources. This is vital to our business, as, with the right people in our company, we will be able to deliver the best service. In addition to our local team, we have an underwriting team based in Portugal with many years of experience in oil and gas that assists us in navigating the sector. We have the right tools in all segments in order to provide our clients the best service possible.
Our accuracy in providing the client with what fits its needs best is another reason Valorizza is building up a strong reputation in the market.
The way we develop our business is to invest upfront. If the client wants Valorizza as its broker, we start to be its broker straightaway and include all our services at no cost. Valorizza is not like a brokerage firm that waits for the insurance renewal to show the quality of its service. We are focused on providing a better experience, so we seek to build a long-term relationship with our clients. This is what will make the difference five years from now.
How did the crisis impact the development of oil and gas-related insurance?
The oil and gas industry, despite its size and prevalence, is not immune to the crisis. Shortage of cash and lower demand mean the industry needs to adapt. If you add climate change, new energy and a change in the consumers’ willingness to continue backing carbon-heavy energy, we can easily conclude that the oil and gas industry is at a crossroads.
To respond to all of this, oil companies are tightening their grip on HSSE and are turning to more sustainable solutions. This has an impact on the insurance market as oil companies demand more assurance from the suppliers so that, for example, if something wrong occurs, they will have enough coverage to respond to accidents.
Also, due to concerns around long-term sustainability of the industry, the oil projects that need project finance are seeing the lenders request more and more assurance of performance and efficient delivery. This provides an opportunity for additional insurance and new insurance products.
What is the company’s strategy to approach international partnerships to grow the business?
A high level of service! We are an Angolan company with a strong focus on international companies. We already have some international agreements in place, besides working on and investing in very-large new international agreements for 2022 and 2023. Furthermore, our high percentage of collected premiums confirms our solid performance: 100% for 2021 and 99% for 2020, and a very low policy cancellation rate.
Moreover, at Valorizza we offer clients the full market overview, where they can compare all terms and insurance premiums, being able to choose the most suitable for them. Our team has the expertise in negotiation and the know-how to guarantee the best options in the market, aligned with the expectation of the clients. I also need to highlight that our management of insurance claims is highly efficient, being always on top of each case every week, besides producing periodic reports for our clients every quarter. We are proactive and do not wait for our clients to ask us what is going on. We always keep them informed.
What makes Valorizza stand out?
Investing in people through long-term relationships, both with insurance companies and partners, as well as prioritising clients’ needs are key elements for Valorizza. If clients have a request or problem related to insurance, they hand it to us, and we find the solution that suits their needs best.
What Valorizza brings to the table is responsiveness, efficiency, accuracy and targeted services. Our philosophy is that if there is a problem, there is also a solution, and we are there to provide it. Although we are a newcomer in the market, we have the energy to keep working and growing, as witnessed by the fact that we are hiring more people here in Angola.
Our results-oriented perseverance, adaptability to the client’s demands and cost-reduction approach are other reasons why we stand out. Particularly in times of crisis, both individuals and companies want to know exactly what they will pay for when contracting an insurance coverage and get the best support from either the insurance company or the insurance broker. It is usually in the middle of a crisis that companies realise they need a very good insurance broker that will allow them to save money.
Given what we bring to the table, we are confident that everyone will soon realise that Valorizza provides distinguished quality services.
What are the advantages for energy-related companies in Angola in hiring the services of an insurance broker over an insurance company?
An insurance company provides insurance coverage for consumers and businesses to protect them from the costs of accidents and natural disasters; an insurance broker acts as an intermediary between the client and the insurance companies in the market.
In Angola, because insurance contracts have the intervention of an intermediary, they do not originate any cost for the insured. It means that the client will not have any extra cost in having the support of an insurance broker, focused on providing the best service in terms of insurance mediation and management, which is the case of Valorizza.
After the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent upsurge in oil and gas production, do you see any new trends or risks emerging in oil and gas-related insurance?
The Covid 19 pandemic brought a lot of disruptions to the oil and gas sector. Operators saw their operations being hit with supply chain disruptions (due to closed borders and restrictions to international shipping), shortage of personnel (due to mandatory quarantines and travel restrictions) and overall cost increases.
Typically, a pandemic was not included in standard “force majeure” clauses, thus suppliers could not rely on the protection awarded to them in terms of increased schedule which is usual in these types of clauses. This led to an understanding between both the operators and suppliers that performance bonds and insurance against supply chain disruptions, going forward, was key. In terms of risks, insurance companies were hit with something they had never experienced and that led to an understanding that they can, in the future, have to respond to another situation like this. Thus, insurance premiums ended up going up. The recent upsurge will have an impact in the insurance market as a lot of new projects were put on hold during the pandemic and are now coming back online and will need insurance.