London-listed insurer Old Mutual has identified several countries in Africa to sell its mass market insurance products such as funeral plans and disability cover as part of its expansion strategy in the region.

The insurer is likely to choose countries such as Tanzania and Ghana due to low levels of insurance penetration in the countries.

Old Mutual chief executive Julian Roberts said having stabilised the group over the past couple of years the company looks to further expand as part of its 10-year strategy.

"You see these African countries where they’re growing very fast. There are more people in the market, they’re spending more and they need savings, investments and insurance products," Roberts added.

The Anglo-South African insurer currently operates in Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana and Malawi in the continent as well as South Africa, which account for only 3% of the group’s profits in 2011.

The firm’s statutory pre-tax profits fell from £1.1bn to £994m, including a £264m goodwill writedown at the group’s asset management business in the US.

The group earned £3.58bn in premiums last year, up from £3.46bn in 2010.

Old Mutual said that sale of its 52% stake in Nedbank would help it repay £1.7bn of debt by end of 2012, exceeding its target of £1.5bn.