The Chief Executive Officer of Old Mutual Ltd, Iain Williamson, said his company is optimistic that the resilience that has been demonstrated by South African consumers will ultimately facilitate growth for the insurance company and the economy in general.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the business executive noted that “consumers have been surprisingly resilient” and that “our own front-end of our business is mirroring that kind of pattern.”
Old Mutual Ltd, which is the biggest insurance company in Africa, has had a tough year due to the economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Williamson specifically mentioned during the interview that the second quarter of the year was the toughest operating environment he had ever witnessed.
It should be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic also induced a serious unemployment crisis in South Africa, the worst in seventeen. However, in the face of these challenges, consumers have been quite resilient.
In the meantime, the country’s economic activities are gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels. A likely second wave of the pandemic is projected to have far lesser impact than the first one. And now, South Africans are beginning to invest again.
“There’s a positive momentum. It’s a question of where’s the tipping point, where people start saying ‘actually the return prospects here are attractive enough given the risk,” Williamson said.