By Duncan Mlanjira
New insurance brokers, Black Rose, has hit the ground running since its official registration in March and its business philosophy is to revolutionalise the insurance broking market by offering above-the-norm service to its clients, which is a solid basis for sound insurance and competitive proposition to all clients.
Black Rose, founded by Brian Zagwazatha Kapito — who has a combined insurance career experience of over 25 years, is 100% Malawian owned company and it has a board of directors comprising Arthur Nanthuru as chairman; John Kapito, Dr. Stella Kasirye, Steve Muyaya, George Kwilasi and Kapito (managing) as other members.
The company intends to become one of Malawi’s leading insurance brokers and professional insurance advisors; making it a priority to understand every detail of their client’s business and work in partnership with them to provide a complete service.
“We are the link to secure insurance covers and will identify the best possible packages to protect your business, assets, liabilities and cash flow,” says the company on its official profile.
“Our risk advice and insurance programmes are innovative and intelligent — designed to confidently protect your interests.
“We are licensed by the Reserve Bank of Malawi to deal with placement of insurance covers in Malawi and have capacity and contacts to provide on a consultancy basis risk management to entities primarily domiciled in Malawi.”
In general broking, the company intends to transfer risk with expert advice and unbiased access to the insurance market and it has developed specialist teams to meet sector specific needs with tailored advice.
In answer to the question on what Black Rose has on offer that people can trust them with, taking into consideration the public are wary of new service providers, Kapito said the reality of the matter is that experience and professional knowledge are critical in a science like insurance.
“The ability to provide time to our clients because we are still relatively small means better attention to our client’s needs. Our relationships with all the good insurers on the market, save for ones that we thought do not align with our service standards, means we have a wide knowledge of products and terms offered by the market and therefore are best placed to assist with bespoke risk management needs for most clients,” he said.
Ordinarily, clients need insurance when they have an accident or claim and Kapito says that is when Black Rose’s quality of relationships, experience, knowledge and professional qualifications kick into play for their clients.
Kapito is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London, completed a Masters degree course with the University of Wales in Cardiff UK, became an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in the UK by examination and a few other qualifications including being a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.
He resume starts with being first employed by Royal Insurance (now known as BRITAM) as an underwriting assistant, which was the bottom of the ranks in keeping with insurance apprenticeship worldwide but with quality mentoring, he quickly rose through the ranks firstly by qualifying in basic insurance qualifications and a combination of getting jobs with other insurance companies that gave him better opportunities.
“I was extremely fortunate to have worked with great insurance management at United General with the late Ian Kumwenda as as at NICO General with Chris Kapanga; which ultimately led to my stints with insurance outside Malawi.
“I have a combined insurance career of over 25 years. My last position was managing director but through the ranks I have been branch manager, deputy general manager, business development manager and chief executive officer.”
He explains that he was part of the first Malawian managers that NICO Holding sent to Tanzania when it acquired an entity on that country’s insurance market as an on-going concern.
“It was an enriching experience being part of a team that grew that entity and made lifelong friendships and acquaintances.
“I was in Tanzania for three years starting from 2014 through to 2017. I joined NICO Tanzania as a deputy general manager after the company was acquired by NICO Holdings Malawi.
“I then resigned to pursue further studies in the UK in 2007 for three years where I did a post-graduate diploma, a Masters Degree and became a Chartered Insurer.
“The mainline insurance work did me tonnes of good and the full time studies prepared me for more intensive roles and responsibilities. I rejoined NICO in Zambia in the year 2011 until I resigned permanently from the Group in the year 2015.”
What are the challenges faced by the insurance industry in Malawi?
“While we have a very effective regulator in place, service standards to clients from the insurance entities remain challenging; insurance pricing is not consistent with economic fundamentals, insurers still do not have an effective critical mass to ease development and growth.
“The masses do not have effective discretionary and disposable incomes to insure their assets and lives. The masses, especially rural population, remain generally not very knowledgeable on insurance.
“This combined effect means insurance remains insignificant as a risk management tool and as relates to contribution to GDP.”
He decided to found his own firm to answer his continued call to service; the desire to serve; to further self-actualize; to contribute from a perspective of owner/employer and grow a truly Malawian brand to greater heights via support from the Malawian insuring public.
“I was practically brought up by the insurance world having had my late dad, Frank Kapito and late uncle, Colvin Kapito having been insurance brokers.
“Insurance, however, was not my first choice though — I preferred the world of IT but during my time, Malawi used computers primarily as word processing tools. Insurance was therefore a practical fall-back, I am glad I found the insurance fraternity opportunity.”
He tells the youth aspiring to become insurance professionals that it is a great career and that to be a great insurance practitioner, one must understand the nuances from the lowest level to higher levels.
“So insurance needs patience amidst gradual climbing up the rank ladder. It is best to have qualifications in other fields to enjoy insurance — law, business, engineering and other fields merge very well with insurance.
“The beauty of insurance is, once you qualify by examination with the right and properly accredited examining bodies, you can work anywhere in the world.
“For me, that sums up the definition of an exciting career and I would unreservedly encourage our youngsters to embrace insurance as a career.”
There are two main ways to join the profession, says Kapito, by job application and by insurance qualification: “The easiest being by insurance qualification whereby a potential employer views you as already dedicated to the insurance career path and cheaper and easier to train.”
Kapito did his primary schools at South End, St. Pius and Chitawira and went on to Chichiri Secondary School before proceeding to the Polytechnic for a Printing Technology 4-year qualification that he left midway to pursue IT studies in Kenya where he returned home with Computer programming and Computer Systems and Analysis qualifications.
He is married and was blessed with a girl and boys.
Which holiday destinations do you enjoy?: “Lake Malawi is calming and the best but nature reserves and seeing animals in their natural habitats comes a close second.
“The world holds exciting differences and opportunities but I suppose ultimately it’s the quality of the company that one has in these destinations that create memories.
“Malawi and its beauty especially in the rainy season that takes the cake for me.”