Metropolitan is the largest insurance brand focused entirely on the mass market. Its main competitors, Old Mutual and Sanlam, believe their brands can stretch right down from the super affluent buying R10m single premium policies to the R200/month funeral policy contributor.

So long as it gets productivity and persistency (keeping the business on the books) right, Metropolitan can be a highly profitable business. In the year to June 2021 it had a new business margin of 4.3%, compared with a 1% margin for its sister company Momentum Life. The big difference is that more than half of Metropolitan’s business is in funeral policies, which give the fattest profits to life assurers of anything in their product suite...

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