Feb 17, 2010, 1:06 PM
Gamstar, one of the leading Insurance Companies in The
Gambia has gone on strategic alliance with Industrial General Insurance Inc. (
S&D: Who are you sir?
Abiodun Alao: My name is Abiodun Alao, I am a Nigerian and I am the new Managing Director of Gamstar Insurance Company Limited.
S&D: Why did Industrial General Insurance Inc. go into strategic alliance with Gamstar Insurance Company?
Abiodun Alao: The strategic alliance between
S&D: Who is who in the company?
Abiodun Alao: Well, Bai Ndongo Faal is the founder and owner of Gamstar established in 19991. Presently he is the vice chairman of the company. Oluteni Oluwude (OON), Chairman/Executive vice chairman of
S&D: Are there any new developments?
Abiodun Alao: Gamstar is a household name in the
S&D: What is big to share about Gamstar?
Abiodun Alao: Apart from Gamstar being the first, it is one that can be proud of its own property. How many insurance companies have their own assets? That is why we came in to continue from that point as part of our commitment.
S&D: What would you offer to your customers?
Abiodun Alao: Personalized service! That is what we are ready to offer. Coming to realize the importance of the brokers, not withstanding at the end of the day they will know the company that they are patronizing, that is one of our service edges.We go there we have a chat with them, we tell the customers that they can come down here to have a discussion or they can phone us. As an MD I don't sit to expect miracles to happen I go there in my own little time. We have routine calls, courtesy calls and we ask them to evaluate what we offer.
S&D: Do you need to improve on anything for your staff?
Abiodun Alao: We'll improve on our Information Technology so that we train our staff as we've started getting some of our staff to train at WAII and even outside
S&D: What do you think about the Insurance Industry in The
Abiodun Alao: As regards the Insurance Industry here, I think we need to do more our insurance association needs to be more peaceable. There are issues we need to take up with the government. During my visit as the guest speaker at a Business Forum we discussed that the country was loosing a lot from the marine business by way of income, irrespective of whether any agreement was signed or the type of agreement signed. It is not only
S&D: What are you talking about when you say co-insurance?
Abiodun Alao: What are we talking about here? On co-insurance, if there is a risk that over and above what insurance can retain all we need to do is to bring for or five insurance companies together and let them share business among themselves and ensure that they grow this market. The market is not growing but I foresee the future of insurance here in The Gambia is rife but we need to do more. Where there is no real insurance there is this issue of calling all the insurance companies and giving to the lowest bidder. It is not always ideal, the lowest bidder will take his own proportion send the remaining to the rich, and we would just be working for the rich. Why can't we sit down and say, you take 10%, you take 20%, you take 40% and we would retain the business internally. And don't forget there is no insurance company without a re-insurance treaty, we have re-insurance backing, and then why can't we now say you take this take that and the market can be widened?
S&D: Sir, do you think the National Assembly has a part to play in this aspect?
Abiodun Alao: These are some of the areas our National Assembly have to do something, they have to promote us they have to make sure this industry is not dead because if there is no law to say that before you take something out you must have exhausted all the local something that you have. These are some of the things that are affecting the insurance here.
S&D: Do you have any concrete example to exemplify what is just said above?
Abiodun Alao: Go to Nigeria, Sierra Leone, go to anywhere; before bringing anything, you have to insure it, you have to patronize the local insurance but something like that is not here.
You can't do that here because you don't want to compel any businessman; you want to make the environment very conducive, no you are not improving anything! We are loosing a lot of money, a lot is going out.
S&D: What do you think about government's assets since they are at the helm of everything?
Abiodun Alao: Some of the government assets need to be insured giving the fact that government has money we can play around, we can do this but if that does not happen you can transfer it, transfer the risk to the professionals then you can go to bed. The money can be used and practicalised. If government vehicle is involved in an accident, and you know the worth of the vehicle if you transfer it to the Insurance Company who is a professional they will do the repairs if not you have to buy another one, why not use that money for something else? Why not use it for development purposes? So in