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African expansion remains Discovery's goal

Discovery's chief executve, Adrian Gore - who has been at the helm for 20 years - says he is still committed to serving the company and hoped to expand the business into the rest of Africa in the next three to five years.
Speaking after Discovery's annual general meeting in Sandton on Wednesday (5 December)‚ Gore said he was "still halfway through the marathon" and would continue serving the company as long as he added value and the business kept growing.

"I'm still half way through the marathon. I started the business. As long as I add value and the business is still growing, I'm staying‚" Gore said.

"We have started to internationalise the business. Our expansion is still embryonic although within three to five years we think we will be involved in Africa," he said.

Gore is one of the longest serving chief executives of a listed financial services company in SA. He founded Discovery Health in 1992 and the company listed on the JSE in 1999. It has now grown from providing medical health insurance to long and short-term insurance‚ investment products and credit cards.

Discovery has 5.8m clients globally with operations in the United States‚ United Kingdom and China.

Gore previously noted that one of the challenges with expanding the group into the rest of Africa is the shortage of private hospitals that will allow Discovery to sell medical insurance.

In China‚ where Discovery owns 20% of health insurance company Ping An‚ the focus in 2013 will be to become the number one provider in the high-end insurance market‚ focus on the individual market and roll out the Vitality wellness programme.

Currently Ping An is the third-largest underwriter of group high-end medical insurance.

The public healthcare system in China‚ through the Social Health Insurance‚ provides basic medical cover for 90% of China's people.

Private health insurance companies play a role in supplementing the public healthcare system and offering medical insurance for diseases that are more expensive to treat.

At Discovery's 13th annual general meeting the company announced that its non-executive director Vhonani Mufamadi was stepping down due to "pressing work commitments".

Among other resolutions that were passed‚ shareholders voted to change the company's name to Discovery Limited from Discovery Holdings Limited.


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