VICE President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has charged players in the insurance industry to expand their services to cover the underprivileged by exploring opportunities in the financial market.
He observed the low penetration of the industry in the financial market which he said did not reach out to the poor and vulnerable, who were mostly affected by disaster and urged the industry players to design services and products for the underprivileged.
According to him, the industry could enhance its presence in the financial sector when it was determined to take such high risk for higher returns towards economic growth.
Vice President Amissah said this in Accra yesterday, at the launch of the 25th anniversary of the National Insurance Company (NIC), which was being celebrated on the theme “advancing the frontiers of the insurance in Ghana”.
A public lecture to be delivered by the immediate past Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Fola Daniel will be held today in Accra to highlight the successes and the challenges in the industry while suggesting solutions for the future.
The Vice President noted that the insurance industry did not contribute much to the economy of the country compared to some developed and developing countries.
He said for instance as at June this year, commercial banks owned 75 per cent of the assets in the financial sector whilst the insurance companies owned five per cent indicating the need for the industry to step up its game.
According to the Vice President service and products of most insurance companies were designed for the rich and middle class, depriving the poor the privilege and access to insurance in times of difficulties and disasters.
He explained that the gap created by the industry put pressure on government to fall on its limited resources in providing for the poor whenever disaster struck.
“In the last few months we have witnessed many disasters and calamites in the country. The poor and the vulnerable are the worst affected by these calamites, including market fires, accidents and floods.
However, they have no insurance and the burden has to fall on the government to assist them,” he said.
The Insurance Commissioner, Mrs. Lydia Lariba Bawa, said the industry had designed programmes to reach the informal sector to increase its penetration, which was currently at two per cent.
She said the industry also looked forward to intensifying its public education on insurance to appeal to most Ghanaians while building confidence in the industry.
According to her, the NIC as a regulator was enforcing its laws and rules to ensure that there was sanity in the industry, to ensure prompt payment of claims.
By Charles Amankwa