The African Life Assurance Society Ltd

The African Life Assurance Society Ltd


The African Life Assurance Society Ltd was established by Isidore Williem Schlesinger at the end of 1904 with the £20,000 he had earned from the development of the suburb of Parkhurst, Gauteng, South Africa. During its first year in business, the company sold 2,274 policies worth £1 million, a record for a new business in the industry at the time.

In 1905, he bought the financially struggling Robinson South African Bank (founded by J.B. Robinson) and converted it into the Colonial Banking and Trust Company, which specialised in small business loans. In 1911, he founded the African Guarantee and Indemnity Corporation to provide all types of insurance.

The company had branches and agencies in the Union as well as in Khartoum, Assouan, Syria, Cairo and Alexandria. In 1912 it expanded its operations to Natal and amazement was expressed at the large volumes of new business that it generated. By 1925, the business was one of the four dominant insurance companies in South Africa.

African Life is now part of the SANLAM group.