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A worthwhile forum

Aug 4, 2015, 11:01 AM

The maiden edition of the International Brokers Forum, hosted in Banjul, is indeed long overdue, for it would certainly give broking firms a pride of place in the disproportionate evolving insurance market of West Africa.

The two-day meeting, organised by the West African Insurance Institute and the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, is being attended by brokers mainly from English-speaking countries of West Africa.

Although little is known about insurance brokers in some quarters, they play a very crucial role in the procurement and management of insurance services.

They bring their technical expertise and understanding of the insurance business terrain to bear not only in their capacity as clients of the insured, but also in their support to the insurers as well.They render particular assistance to the insured in the process of claims payment.

In West Africa, countries like Nigeria and Ghana have a fairly developed, sophisticated, well developed and regulated insurance broking companies.

The same is not true in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, where insurance brokerage firms are more or less a motley collection of individuals whose practice represent a dim version of what broking should really portray.

These three countries cannot even boast of a viable association to articulate their interests and objectives as opposed to Nigeria and Ghana, where brokers are powerful trade players in the insurance market.

Therefore, the International Brokers Forum should serve as an opportunity for the cross-sharing of experiences that would help develop broking practices, and enhance the level of professionalism in the countries that are lagging.

The profession of insurance broking is a highly esteemed one and its professional nature and character should be jealously guarded.This requires regular and continuous professional development.

In view of this, while we applaud the organisers for initiating this worthwhile forum we also want to urge all concerned to make it an annual event, where various issues of importance to the growth and development of the insurance broking in West Africa and Africa as a whole would be discussed.

In this way, broking would be positioned in the hearts and minds of people as key stakeholders of the insurance market.

But, more importantly, it will also serve as an avenue where different companies can borrow a leaf or two or even form a corporation for the general development of the insurance business.

“The profession of insurance broking is a highly esteemed one and its professional nature and character should be jealously guarded.”