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This week Africa Business Communities meet with Ettienne Myburgh, CEO of CastleHill Group, on companies investing in their employees in South Africa.
Kindly tell us about company.
"CastleHill is a young and vibrant company specialising in the design, development and implementation of risk based employee benefits to all employee groups. We design products based on the need of the organisation, products include funeral plans, life cover, disability, hospital plans and a variety of other risk based insurance products."
How do you view your market and CastleHill Group going forward?
"The market for employee benefits is growing; providing opportunities to companies that are willing to design and custom build financial solutions for their clients. At CastleHill we pride ourselves on our ability to analyse and evaluate risk portfolios of employee groups and to design a solution that will provide a solution that fits the needs of the organisation. We do not believe in a one size fits all solution and it is with this in mind that we follow a process to determine the risk needs of the organisation."
What is your most successful products? Can you describe the process behind the results?
"Our risk based employee benefits products are the most successful, I believe the reasoning behind the success is that it is based on an affordable product, implemented correctly and designed with the input of the organisation. It provides protection to employers against additional costs in the event of death, disability or an accident of one of their employees."
What are the new trends in your industry presently?
"There is definitely a trend towards customised solutions for organisations, especially in the risk based insurance arena. The industry is very regulated for the protection of the client as well as the service provider, which is a good thing as it avoids the entry of questionable providers in the industry. A trend is the continued focus on the regulation of the financial services industry ensuring correct service delivery and product implementation for the protection of all involved."
Can you give us key points that one should keep in mind when engaging your company?
"We are not a provider of a “one-solution-fits-all” company; it is with this in mind that in selected cases we are not able to help clients as their needs fall outside of our specialty. The process we follow to determine how we design and implement a risk solution has been tried and tested and ensures a good fit between CastleHill, its products and its clients."
How do you keep ahead of your competition?
"We strive to continually innovate in terms of our products and our service, we are fortunate to be a “small” company which enables us to respond to market needs quicker than some of our larger competitors. Agility in business keeps you focused on the client!"
Do you believe that the solutions that your industry offers are sophisticated enough to meet the requirements of highly diverse society like Africa?
"To a certain extent yes I do. The financial services industry has evolved over the past few years and is much more orientated towards service delivery and innovation around products and services. CastleHill is in the fortunate position to be able to offer products that meet the need of a specific market segment. We specialise in simple risk based insurance products that enable companies to provide benefits to their employees allowing for socially responsible management."
What new investments has CastleHill Group made to improve product and service offerings?
"We pride ourselves on our ability to continuously innovate around products and service, we do not provide “off the shelf” products as a solution, we prefer to understand the needs of the client and to work with them in order to find a solution to their need(s)."
What is your perception on doing business in Africa?
"Africa offers enormous opportunities for new business; certain regions are growing at a phenomenal rate with their role in the world market becoming more important. It does help to have some local knowledge in respect of the industry you are operating in and the continent is slowly getting used to international players participating in their regional economies."
If you had your way, how would you talk an investor in, to invest in Africa?
"Africa provides the most diverse culture in the world it is an extremely large continent with a growing population, the majority of which is under 21. Given this fact, Africa provides a growing population with the ability to purchase products that are provided if they are positioned correctly. Africans are a proud people and we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, if companies around the world follow this approach and adapt their products to local requirements their investment will provide them with good growth and a strong and loyal support base."
What is the latest about your company?
"We have just re-launched our new website which offers more information on the service we deliver as well as a Facebook site where we will post regular articles about developments in terms of financial matters and changes to the regulatory environment."
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