NAIROBI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - LeapFrog Investments, a private equity firm backed by George Soros and JP Morgan, has bought a majority stake in Kenyan insurer Resolution in a deal valued at 1.68 billion shillings ($18.64 million), both firms said on Thursday.
Resolution is a general insurer with operations in Kenya, East Africa's biggest economy, and in neighbouring Tanzania as well as a partnership in the Ugandan market.
Leapfrog, which focuses on Africa and Asia, sold its stake in Kenyan insurance group Apollo to Swiss Re last month.
There has been a flurry of deals in the Kenyan insurance industry in recent months as firms race to get a bigger share of a sector of the market posting double-digit annual growth rates.
Insurance executives say the life insurance market is expanding at 20 percent per year.
The deal follows the acquisition earlier this year of Real Insurance by local insurance and asset management firm British-American Investments. The sector's potential has also attracted the likes of British firm Prudential Plc.
Analysts said Kenya's insurance sector was attractive as it has some of the lowest insurance penetration rates in the world at under five percent of the population.
LeapFrog, with over $500 million of assets under management, has small-ticket investments in companies providing insurance, savings, pensions and payments services. The firm said in September it has raised $400 million for socially responsible investments in Asia and Africa.
1 US dollar = 90.1500 Kenyan shilling Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Edmund Blair/James Macharia