The sod has been cut for construction of WAICA Reinsurance Corp’s regional office for West Africa to begin in Accra, Ghana. The building, which is budgeted to cost US$40million, is expected to be completed in 18 months; by which time it will rank as the newest and one of the most striking edifices to grace Accra’s rapidly rising skyline. It is located at Airport Residential Area, one of the most prestigious business districts in the country’s capital city.
The Accra regional office is one of four regional offices through which WAICA Re operates along with four subsidiaries and other contact offices. The company is also currently constructing a new corporate head office in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and has acquired landed property in Harare, Zimbabwe, for its regional office located in that country.
WAICA Re is owned by members of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) and other stakeholders associated with the insurance industry. It was established in Freetown during 2011, and the Ghana regional office was opened a year later. Initially established to serve West Africa, the reinsurance company has since expanded across Africa and beyond. It currently operates in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia and Latin America, and now ranks among the top-100 leading reinsurance companies in the world.
The company reinsures all classes of insurance – general, life, special risks and emerging risks – and provides training and technical support for its partners. Since its establishment, its gross premiums have grown from US$35,000 in 2011 to over US$214million in 2022; by which time its total assets had risen to US$267million backed by paid-up capital of US$88.8million. WAICA Re is rated by the A.M Best Agency, an internationally recognised corporate/institutional ratings agency.
WAICA Re’s success in its home market, the West Africa region, is reflected in the new regional head office about to be constructed.
“From the inception of WAICA Re, one of the fundamental policies and strategies on which our organisation was premised was that we would not be moving funds out of jurisdictions in which we operate” explains Kofi Duffuor, the company’s Group Chairman who is also Group CEO of Star Assurance Group in Ghana.
“Going by this policy we resolved way back at inception that whatever funds are generated by WAICA Re within a particular country will be utilised and invested in that country – except when exceptional circumstances compel the company to repatriate funds out of the country. It is in line with carrying out this policy that we are able to build this new head office.”
The new building project is being guided by the architectural/engineering consulting firm Arch Portfolio, under supervision of the renowned Agyeman Amprofi Poku and his team. The architectural firm Boogertman & Partners of South Africa designed the building, and a contract for actual construction has been awarded to M & Souza Construction Company.
The building will be totally environmentally friendly, affirms Ezekiel Abiola Ekundayo, WAICA Re’s Group Managing Director. “Environmental Social Governance has become the norm for our societies, and WAICA Re can proudly say it holds ESG in high esteem. In demonstration of this, WAICA Re is a signatory to the Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance as part of its sustainability programme. As a result, we are mindful of the environment where this building will be erected and our corporate social responsibility will always come into play.”
Explaining the rationale for the new building, Kofi Duffuor points out that it confirms WAICA Re is here to stay, and its clients and other stakeholders deserve to be served in and from pristine, state-of-the-art premises purpose-built to give world-class service; and the company believes in the economic growth and development of the country where it is located, Ghana. He enthuses that: “Such an investment will no doubt have a positive effect on WAICA Re’s financial and operational position over the coming years”.
He is particularly grateful to Ghana’s insurance industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission, for its cooperation and support over the years.
In response, Ghana’s Insurance Commissioner, Kofi Andoh, asserts that: “Because insurance is intangible, the environment within which it is delivered and the objects and assets associated with it are very important in terms of engendering trust, confidence and respect. I really commend WAICA Re for the wisdom and foresight, especially as the company continues its spread throughout Africa and beyond”.
The ceremony was attended by, among others, senior officials from the Ghana Insurers Association and Insurance Brokers Association of Ghana.