The troubled new entrant to the life insurance industry Bramer Life has dissociated itself from a multibillion-shilling scandal that is rocking two of its sister companies BAI Co. (Mtius) and Bramer Banking Corporation Limited in Mauritius.
Bramer Life has since been placed under the care of a statutory manager less than 48 hours after Bramer Life CEO reported the matter to the national regulatory body, Non-Bank Financial Institution Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) on Tuesday. The authority reacted swiftly by immediately appointing a Statutory manager, Dickson Warren from KPMG to protect the interests of policyholders with Bramer Life.
Addressing the media in Gaborone on Friday, Warren said he has powers to override Bramer life’s board of directors and management as far as decision making regarding the company affairs is concerned. He said he will execute the role until all problems and threats facing Bramer life are mitigated. During his tenure at Bramer Life, Warren says in addition to protecting local policy holders, he will ensure that there is no spill over threat from the Mauritius sister companies to Bramer life. “I have just commenced my role here but if I were to discover any threat in the affairs of the company, my first move will be to protect the policyholders,” he said.
Furthermore Bramer life’s two sister companies in Mauritius have also been placed under statutory management by the Mauritius regulator, and NBFIRA and its representatives have the statutory authority to engage with them.
Bramer Life Chief Executive Officer Regina Sikalesele-Vaka said the appointment of a statutory manager is a welcome development wholly embraced and accepted by her and the company board members. “I for one wear several hats; that of a CEO, a shareholder and a custodian of policyholder funds so there is potential conflict of interests whereas the statutory manager can act independently,” said Vaka.
Vaka has in the meantime assured investors that their investments are protected and secure as they have a team of well experienced managers who have been in the industry for decades. According to Vaka, Bramer Life investments and policyholders' funds are currently held in Botswana entities and managed separately from investments of sister companies. “In addition, Bramer Life Insurance has reinsurance agreements with international reinsurance companies which act as additional protection to policyholders,” said Vaka.
In the immediate term, Bramer Life will, according to Vaka, work closely with the statutory manager to insulate the company from any contamination and restore market confidence through various strategies. Bramer Life will also review its shareholders agreements to eliminate any aspects that may pose a risk to the financial services or economy of Botswana and give updates to the public on any changes as appropriate.
As a member of the British American Investment Co. (Mtius) which BAI Co. (Mtius) and Bramer Banking Corporation Limited are also member to, Bramer Life’s brand image will according to Vaka be affected too, but says Bramer Life is an autonomous life Insurance company registered under the laws of Botswana and conducts its business independently of the two companies.
Bramer Life majority shareholders were introduced to Botswana as part of the delegation of the Mauritarian trade mission led by Prime Minister Navnichandra Ramgoolam to Gaborone in 2011. Eighty percent of Bramer Life shares are held by the majority shareholders while 20 percent is held by Botswana citizens. The Bank of Mauritius last week cancelled the licence of Bramer Banking Corporation Limited (BBCL), over suspicion that the lender was running a high-scale Ponzi scheme.