LeapFrog Investments, an investment fund focused on insurance and financial services companies, announced two senior appointments as it expands its investment portfolio in Asia and Africa.
David Steel, previously Managing Director of Strategic Planning for AIG, was named Director of Investments for East Asia. Niclas Thelander, previously Head of Corporate Strategy for Atradius, was appointed Executive Director of LeapFrog Labs, the group’s innovation and advisory services hub.
The bulletin noted that both men “bring multi-country insurance M&A and performance improvement expertise, adding to LeapFrog’s specialist competence in growing insurance companies across major emerging markets.”
LeapFrog explained that it “invests in companies that aim to serve the ‘next billion’ emerging and under-served consumers. The fund’s profit-with-purpose mission, as announced by President Bill Clinton at its launch, is to reach 25 million low-income people and generate attractive returns for its diverse investors.
“To date, LeapFrog has invested across 5 countries, contributed to robust operational and financial performance of its portfolio companies, and currently reaches over 8.6 million people. LeapFrog’s investors include several of the world’s leading banks, funds and reinsurers.”
Dr. Andrew Kuper, Founder and President of LeapFrog Investments, commented: “These appointments underscore LeapFrog’s commitment to providing distinctive strategic and technical support to portfolio companies, driving both financial returns and social impact.”
He added that Steel and Thelander were joining “the LeapFrog team at a pivotal moment for the financial services industry worldwide, as it prepares to meet the needs of an untapped customer base of over one billion people.” He also indicated the two men would “further extend LeapFrog’s unique capacities in reaching the microinsurance market, investing in high-growth companies and supporting innovative operations.”
Source: LeapFrog Investments
IJ Ed. Note: ‘Micro-insurance’ has become increasingly important for developing countries, particularly in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. According to a recently published report from the International Labor Office through the Micro-insurance Facility, efforts to bring basic financial services to over 2 billion people “can transform lives and improve welfare.
“Awareness is growing that access to a wider set of financial tools, such as savings products, payment services (both domestic and through international remittances) and insurance (including micro-insurance directed at the needs of the poor), provides poor people with much greater capacity to increase or stabilize their income, build assets, and become more resilient to economic shocks… Bringing insurance to the poor can help reduce poverty by allowing individuals greater scope to invest without the fear of loss from national [sic] catastrophes and other destructive forces.”