Thu | Oct 29, 2020

Canopy going after ‘equal’ market share

Published:Sunday | January 19, 2020 | 12:47 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter
Canopy Insurance CEO Sean Scott (left) and Chairman Don Wehby.
Canopy Insurance CEO Sean Scott (left) and Chairman Don Wehby.

Four months into its roll-out, group health and life insurer Canopy Insurance Limited, which has two powerful conglomerates behind it, is gunning for equal share of a market dominated by Sagicor Life Jamaica.

Then it plans to tackle the region, where its prime competitors would be Sagicor Financial, and the Guardian Holdings group, which owns Guardian Life.

Both regional insurance conglomerates are parent companies of the top two life insurers operating in Jamaica – Sagicor Life and Guardian Life.

Camp Canopy

Canopy, which is headed by Sean Scott, has already secured a client base of 10,000 individuals, 6,000 of whom are aligned to its owners – GraceKennedy Limited and Musson Group. Aside from pushing customised solutions for clients and hassle-free healthcare experience, Scott is also playing on the launch of its newest product, Camp Canopy, in wooing new clients.

Camp Canopy portal, which was announced on Thursday during the official launch of Canopy Insurance in New Kingston, focuses on health and wellness through access to free workouts, healthy recipes, and motivational guidance.

“We want to take a big swing at the market. GraceKennedy and Musson are large, established companies, and we have a strong commitment to this business. There are only three players, so there is nothing that should prevent us from taking equal share of the market over the next couple of years,” he told the Financial Gleaner.

With Canopy, the life market has around seven players, the others being bank-owned NCB Insurance and Scotia Jamaica Life. The latest industry data published by the Financial Services Commission for the period ending March 2019 valued the life market at $328 billion by assets.

In relation to revenue, Sagicor Group Jamaica, which is the direct parent for Sagicor Life, reported gross premiums of $41 billion in 2018 while Guardian Life’s reported intake was $13 billion.

Scott plans on leveraging even more networks of the GraceKennedy and Musson groups in Jamaica in the company’s drive to increase market share. Steps are already being taken to capitalise on the GK General Insurance and GraceKennedy Remittance Services’ network of 17 Western Union outlets across the region.

A diversified conglomerate operating as a distributor, logistics partner, manufacturer, and sales and marketing company, the Musson Group also has a significant presence in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Musson chairman and CEO Paul Scott is already in talks with the authorities in Barbados to roll out the insurance platform.

Although the partners are already doing the regional explorations, the plan is first to build up market share in Jamaica then roll out in the Caribbean.

“Based on our strategic vision for Canopy, the English-speaking Caribbean is a key driver for our growth strategy. However, for the first few years, we want to focus on the Jamaican market, which is the most competitive and possibly the largest in the region. We also believe that the Barbados market could be our next market for operation,” Canopy Chairman and Group CEO of GraceKennedy Don Wehby told the Financial Gleaner.

“Given the advanced technology we are using, we have the capacity to seamlessly roll out to other markets without any significant increase in overheads. We are, therefore, well placed to expand Canopy outside of Jamaica at the appropriate time. This also fits very well with our vision of becoming a global consumer group,” he said.

Canopy Insurance, which was first announced in May 2019, was founded by GraceKennedy and Musson after research, which showed an underpenetrated and underserved life and insurance market in Jamaica.

The partners have not disclosed the level of investment made in the start-up.

“We don’t really talk about dollars. What we can say is that these two Jamaican companies stand ready to continue investing in the business as it scales,” Scott said.