The Deputy Minister of Finance, Helen Mona Quartey, has called on players in the insurance industry in Sub-Saharan Africa to step up efforts to deepen insurance penetration in the region.
According to Ms Quartey, the Sub-Saharan African insurance penetration rate of 1.2 per cent was not encouraging and efforts must be made to reverse the trend.
Ms Quartey made the call at the opening of the 2016 Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Seminar for Insurance Supervisors currently underway in Accra.
The programme being organised by the National Insurance Commission in collaboration with Financial Stability Institute (FSI) and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors was on the theme, “Risk-based supervision and dealing with troubling insurance companies”.
The objective of the workshop was to bring middle and senior level insurance supervisors from the Sub-Saharan Africa to learn about best practices in maintaining efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance markets for the benefit and protection of policy holders.
Ms Quartey who was the guest speaker said the total premium income of the continent represented just about 1.3 per cent of total global insurance premium income.
“As supervisors, it is your responsibility to take steps to improve upon this undesirable situation. There a number of ways in which we can enhance the impact of supervision on the development of the Sub-Saharan Africa insurance market,” she said.
Ms Quartey mentioned effective regulation and supervision, adoption of international best standards, harmonisation of regional insurance regulation and cross-border cooperation as well as training in staff and capacity for the various insurance firms.
The deputy minister said insurance held good prospects for the development of the African continent and said the potentials of the industry must be harnessed to accelerate the development of the continent.
Ms Quartey said it had been established that a thriving insurance industry had a bearing on the economy and vice versa and therefore, entreated stakeholders in the insurance industry in Africa to do their best in ensuring that the industry “reaches a high pedestal for the benefit of our various economies”.
The Commissioner of Insurance, Lydia Lariba Bawa in her address said the low insurance penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa was being addressed.
“There are very good signs of growth in the horizon,” she said, noting “already, a number of African countries are named among the fasted growing emerging economies of the world”.
A senior financial sector specialist at the FSI, Ms Gunilla Lofvendahl said the programme was being attended by 51 participants from countries such as Botswana, Liberia, Lesotho, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Gambia and Zambia.
By Kingsley Asare