Congo Insurer Pays First Claims in Eight Years by Selling Assets

(Bloomberg) -- The Republic of Congo's state-owned insurer paid its first claims in eight years after selling real estate and is planning more property disposals to help recapitalize the business.

Assurances et Reassurances du Congo, which owes claimants 7 billion CFA francs ($12 million), stopped payments in 2010 after the company struggled to reconstitute files damaged in a civil war a decade earlier. The Inter-African Conference of Insurance Markets, a supervisory body, threatened to suspend ARC's membership unless it resumed paying claims, ARC Chief Executive Officer Marc Gaston Akobo said in a phone interview Monday from the capital, Brazzaville.

The company sold properties in the port city of Pointe Noire in order to resume claims payments last month, said Claude Vaya, director of product development.

``Between 2018 and 2020, we will pay 4 billion CFA francs to our clients and also restructure and reduce expenses by about 40 percent,'' Akobo said. ``We shall source the funds not by contracting debts, but through the sales of some of our assets,'' including real estate in Brazzaville, he said, without providing further details.

ARC, which competes with companies including Allianz SE of Germany and NSIA Insurance of Ivory Coast, also plans to start offering insurance to oil companies, he said.

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