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Simbarashe Makwembere

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Simbarashe Makwembere

Maksure Risk Solutions

Simbarashe Makwembere is the Managing Director of Maksure Risk Solutions for Europe, Asia, and Africa. Known affectionately as Simba, he's here to share insights into Maksure's expansion and its impact on the global insurance and reinsurance landscape.

Maksure has evolved remarkably since its inception in 2013, starting as a modest operation in South Africa and growing into an Afro-global insurance and reinsurance broking powerhouse. With operations spanning over 47 countries across various continents, Maksure has established itself as a leader in providing innovative risk solutions.

Maksure Risk Solutions' Strategic Expansion into Asia, Africa, and the UK

Simba, could you tell us about the Maksure journey expanding to reach Asia, Africa and UK?

Maksure Risk Solutions has grown from a modest operation with only three colleagues focused on personal and SMEs into an Afro-global insurance and reinsurance broking powerhouse, ranking among the leading broking firms on the African continent with a client footprint in more than 47 African countries, Europe, Middle East, south-east Asia, Caribbean and the Americas.

Our journey dates back to the year 2013 when we established Maksure Risk Solutions in South Africa, which serves as our headquarters. We went on to establish the engineering centre in Zimbabwe in 2017, where we built the capacity for risk management focusing on power and energy, mining, construction risks, and the oil and gas industries. The following year, in 2018, we established a branch in Ivory Coast to service the French-speaking markets. The UK branch was established in 2020, to act as a gateway to servicing the African markets in the UK. In the same year, we incorporated a Lusophone division resident at our head office in South Africa to service our growing Portuguese-speaking markets.

What are the biggest challenges facing the insurance and reinsurance industry from a product development point of view, especially across the UK and Europe?

We are an Afroglobal insurance and reinsurance broker searching for risk solutions for emerging markets especially for the African market, so I will respond from this perspective.

The gap in providing Afrocentric risk solutions that require capacity from Europe is huge because there are various challenges that include limited quality of underwriting information emanating from Africa as well as the need for minimum premiums. These two key challenges limits the attractiveness of African risks into international markets. Although in our experience some of these risks are lucrative and sustainable they do not present what a typical (re)insurer in Europe would need to pass their underwriting guideline. Further, we find that the European mainstream market has not taken time to understand and craft products that are relevant and applicable to the African diaspora living and working in Europe. As Maksure Risk Solutions we are working with the European market to close some of these gaps.

How do you build and maintain solid relationships with clients across different regions and cultures?

We have a conscious awareness and appreciation of the unique cultures and circumstances of our clients. The make-up of our team is an advantage in that the different backgrounds allow us to understand different cultures, perspectives and needs. Culture has a great influence on how the organisation approaches risk and risk mitigating models. We have a unique appreciation of these nuances.

Additionally, we extend relations beyond virtual connections to meeting physically so as to build and solidify our client relationships. We are first believers in the holistic ethos of Ubuntu (a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people), and our clients will attest to how this has brought about fruitful and long-reaching relationships. The domino effect has gained us access to places and markets we have yet to enter; our reputation always precedes us.

How has technology influenced Maksure's approach to risk management and, particularly, reinsurance management in the markets in which you operate?

Maksure comprises of a young and dynamic team anchored on technology. We have developed a strong IT system that integrates all our strategic business units. Additionally, we have employed an insuretech-heavy approach to the solutions we offer, enabling seamless engagement with our clients in providing traditional and alternative risk transfer.

We are also employing blockchain technology to refine our product offerings and markets. Blockchain technology has enabled the organisation to achieve efficiency gains, make cost savings, employ transparency, make and receive faster pay-outs, and mitigate fraud while allowing for data to be shared in real-time between various parties whilst protecting the integrity of all our clients and supplier information. Because in our line of business, information is everything.

Technology has also enabled us to gather and quantify data that allows us to design alternative risk transfer models and have a stake in futuristic forms of cover, such as parametric insurance, which is now forging a critical role in securing the key functions in most emerging markets in the areas of agriculture, power and water supply and generation, and other bespoke lines of business.

How does Maksure Risk Solutions balance global risk trends with local market needs in the regions in which it operates?

What sets us apart from competitors is that we have local knowledge of the markets we serve due to our physical presence, backed by a global outlook as a result of the network of colleagues in our organisation operating in various parts of the world.

As market leaders, we continuously stay abreast of market forces and trends, providing timely innovative solutions and pre-empting potential threats. Our teams are geared to anticipate market shifts and changes by dedicating resources to extensive research through our dedicated think tanks and prototype centres, where we test theories in real time and weigh possible trajectories in markets. We are intentional in ensuring we are not blindsided by developments; in that way, we become the client's preferred service provider.

How do you envision the future of reinsurance in the emerging markets in line with developments in the European market. What is Maksure Risk Solutions' role in shaping it in the future?

Climate change, leading to increased frequency of catastrophic losses will continue to be a challenge in the future. We have seen international markets, including European markets, participating in large catastrophe claims that has impacted their profitability and the way in which they view risk. Inadvertently, this will have a huge impact on emerging markets, and Africa, that have not been active in catastrophe losses will not be spared the potential adverse effects. As Maksure Risk Solutions we assist our clients in emerging markets to elevate the pricing of secondary perils in line with global trends.

Europe, the UK in particular have, in the last two to three years, been faced with a high inflationary environment. This has also impacted the way that reinsurers view sum insured adequacy and issues of application of average in general. Although most emerging markets have already been faced with issues of inflation, we have seen the elevation in the management of sum insured adequacy through the tightening of clauses and policy wordings.

Finally, if you could have any superpower for a day, what would you choose and why?

I would have the superpower of omnilingualism, which is the power to speak and understand any language fluently instantly. Not only will this mean my reach will be limitless, that l can easily enter spaces and make connections easily Ð but should anyone "talk behind my back", l can catch them out.

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