On Guard

Kabelo Adamson
Leading the way in legal insurance
This week, it’s Executive General Manager of Legal Guard, Kgomotso Ratlhaga’s turn to take her place in the Meet the Boss hot seat.

In this in-depth interview, Ratlhaga looks back on her professional journey, a voyage that began in auditing before the world of insurance came calling.
As well as reflecting on the past, the Kanye native also ponders the future, outlining the importance of insurance and how Legal Guard is here to help.

Firstly, tell our readers what your role entails as the Executive General Manager of Legal Guard.
My primary role is serving Batswana on Legal insurance products and protecting their livelihoods through sound legal counsel at an affordable cost whilst delivering value to shareholders with a dynamic, competent team. Most importantly, directing a team of diverse professional experts and nurturing them in execution of Legal Guard’s developed strategies and goals.

Briefly take us through your professional journey pre Legal Guard.
In 2003, immediately after completing my Bachelor of Accountancy, at University of Botswana, I started my career as an auditor and trained through Ernst & Young, Botswana. From that experience, I was exposed to many industries, like Oils, Mining, Media, Education, and Insurance, to name just a few.
The professional discipline was instilled in me at a very tender career life. While at Ernst & Young, I wrote ACCA exams and passed within two-and-a-half years. Later, I joined the then Aon, (now Minet Botswana). That is when my love for the Insurance industry began. Until now, I have enjoyed quite a remarkable experience, from working as a broker, to an insurer for both Life and Short-term industry.

What are some of the services offered by Legal Guard?
Legal Guard specializes in legal insurance. This is a particular class of insurance that facilitates access to law and justice by providing legal advice and covering the legal costs of a dispute, regardless of whether the case is brought by or against the policyholder. This is the type of insurance that covers you when you are experiencing disputes of a different nature, be it with your employees, landlord, spouse or service providers. We cover family, civil, criminal, labour, land tribunal.
From an advisory point of view, Legal Guard provides services such as contract drafting, sale and purchase agreements, Will drafting and registration with Master of High Court, change of Marriage Regime, letter of demand, change of names, restraint orders and child maintenance, to name a few from our bouquet.

On a personal note, what would you describe as the highlight of your career?
For a close to a decade career life, I have had such a positive impact on business development at a strategic level. Joining Legal Guard has been the biggest highlight of my career, especially considering I joined during a very difficult, uncertain time of the Covid pandemic. Seeing the team increase their career assets, growth and achieve so much more in enabling business growth is my greatest highlight.

And what would you say has been the lowest point?
When I reached a crossroads and stayed too long at that point. I overcame that phase by taking a new path in my career, where I continued to learn. This will always be a good lesson in my career life.

Since being appointed to your current position, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?
I joined Legal Guard in December 2019. The following year, Covid-19 invaded the country and had already started in the global world. I would say my greatest achievement was being able to quickly build trust with my new staff members. From that trust, the focus was now on the business, and I had to build resilience during the turbulence of Covid-19. The business was kept afloat: in 2020 and in 2021 the business achieved very good results in terms of both top and bottom line.

What challenges does Legal Guard face in executing its mandate?
The recent challenge was building resilience during the uncertain period, which we are still facing as a nation and from global markets. It can only be achieved through strong employee engagement during difficult times and navigating everyone to the focus areas of the business.
Another challenge came from people’s perspective. We have been through a lot, psychologically as a team, both staff members and our sales representatives, because of Covid-19. During the months of July to September, we lost loved ones, family members and relatives – a sad moment, for the entire nation. Legal Guard staff members had an opportunity to tap into an arranged psychological support service provider during this difficult moment.

Do you believe Batswana have a strong understanding of what legal insurance involves, if not what do you think can be done?
Legal insurance is the less subscribed form of insurance in the country, compared to other forms such as short and life term insurance. This indicates that the public does not fully prioritise legal insurance that much. From the NBFIRA report, the entire insurance industry has a 3.4 percent penetration rate and legal insurance takes a very small contribution.
Hence it’s our mandate to embark on customer education drive in the coming year. Legal Insurance education will be targeted towards existing customers, to know more about their policies and benefits they can derive from it.
Over and above that, there will be a public education drive as well. This will cover issues from retail to commercial business. Easy access of the product will also be our main drive next year. The public should be able to access legal insurance through our digital platforms including web-based portals. We also look forward to an improved channel distribution, to a point where the public can get a legal insurance product from a bank.

Away from your professional life, what keeps you busy?
My family! Our weekends are forever packed with home activities, like gardening, cooking, playing board games and visits to other family and friends. We also enjoy night prayers, as a family and kids.

Full names: Kgomotso Ratlhaga
Place of Birth: Kanye
Date of Birth: 24th January 19..
Dream holiday destination: Bora Bora
Favourite food: Bogobe jwa Lerotse with oxtail and morogo wa setswana

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