Guardrisk Mauritius – A Captive Audience

Guardrisk Mauritius explains how in these turbulent times captive insurance can be a valuable safeguard.

“Guardrisk is a group of companies, a global business company in the insurance sector. We’ve got insurance licenses, life licences and insurance manager licenses that serve the entire reinsurance business model,” says Vikramsingh Ramlochun, Managing Director of Guardrisk Mauritius. “We can write business internationally anywhere in the world as long as the structure can access our licences, and if the law of the country lets us write business in those territories.”

In Mauritius, Guardrisk has four licenses. These licenses include Guardrisk International Ltd PCC (GIL), a professional reinsurer specialising in composite cell captive reinsurance, Guardrisk Life International Ltd (GLIL), an external insurer specialising in long-term cell captive insurance, Guardrisk Insurance Company Mauritius Ltd PCC (GICM), an external insurer specialising in short-term cell captive insurance, and Guardrisk Insurance Management Ltd (GIM), an insurance manager.

The Guardrisk Group was established in 1998, headquartered in Mauritius but operating as a global company writing business internationally. The Guardrisk Insurance Company Mauritius was added to their portfolio in 2016 to write short-term, non-life insurance internationally.

Guardrisk’s subsidiaries are all wholly-owned by Guardrisk Insurance Company Limited South Africa, which in turn is a part Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

“Our life business we can write reinsurance structures, and we can write for other captive insurance companies, and manage those businesses,” Ramlochun points out.

Insuring Yourself

Captive insurance, the practice of group creating a licensed insurance company to provide coverage for itself, is an area that Ramlochun is particularly passionate about, as becomes clear from talking to him.

“I’m putting a lot of focus on captive insurance. That is what we do. We’re not a conventional insurer, but we’re the biggest in the captive market,” Ramlochun tells us. “Our main selling point would be for clients who need to insure their own risk. We are a captive insurer and our focus and motivation are to provide clients with the possibility of benefitting from sitting with underwriting profits which have been foregone and would have otherwise added to the profit of a conventional insurance company.”

The advantage for the client is clear, as Ramlochun points out, “The client has the capacity of having those underwriting profits at their disposal and that makes this concept a big boost for the whole industry. We just need to convince clients to come and take a look at captive structures.”

While the advantages of owning your own insurance company might seem self-evidence, Ramlochun admits it can be a challenge to introduce the idea to new audiences.

I would say the biggest challenge is making sure people understand the concept. The challenge is getting people to understand that they have the capacity to self-insure their own risks. Persuading them to participate in the underwriting profit and enjoy the full dividend,” he says. “It’s getting the message out there, creating the awareness, because people take time to understand it. They can just come to a seller and be an insurance company participating in this structure.”

Spreading the Word

Getting the word out to people is a task performed through Guardrisk’s network of agents and intermediaries.

“Our business model works on intermediaries,” Ramlochun says. “Our intermediaries go out and sell the concept to their client, brokers, administrators, and financial services providers, who are the best advocates for our concept to their clients. So, this networking structure helps to spread the message.”

As well as this network that goes far beyond Guardrisk itself, the company is also powered by its own internal staff, which the Group takes great care to invest in and nurture.

“Our labour turnover is negligible. This gives you an indication of how good we are at retaining our staff,” Ramlochun points out. “The culture of Guardrisk is very technical and one of its own kind. We invest in our staff in the sense that we provide training and provide them with exposure to new challenges and environments. Once staff mould themselves into this culture, they become a part and parcel of the company and feel they are representing it. In Mauritius, we have been working since 1998 and still going strong. The success stories in Mauritius and South Africa show how important our staff are.”

An Unforeseen Risk

Insurance is all about anticipating and preparing for challenges and crises that might be unforeseen, and this year saw the advent of the mother of all unforeseen crises, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many companies, Guardrisk has been working from home, which has not been a huge adjustment anyway as Guardrisk already have a culture of working from home in place. Guardrisk has been doing well too, with no drop off in business and a new wave of clients who, driven by the crisis, can suddenly see the appeal in captive insurance solutions.

“Now from a business perspective, we have not seen a drop in our business. We now see lots of people who like the concept,” Ramlochun tells us. “The conventional market is hardening, so this creates an appetite for customers to create their own captive insurance and insure their own risk. It gives them the possibility of insuring risk that the conventional market is not ready to insure. Lots of insurance companies are not offering certain kinds of covers. Reinsurance prices are increasing, making it more appetising for people to insure their own risk.”

Talking with Ramlochun it is clear he can foresee that this new trend could mark the foundation for a bold new area for the captive insurance sector.

“The way we see things, with the success we have had so far, I don’t see us stopping here. I see us doubling our bottom line, which we believe will be achieved over the next two years,” he says. “We are serious about risk management. This is our culture. We see our clients as business partners and walk the talk with them.”

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