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IAG takes insurance awareness campaign to the grassroots

Jun 28, 2011, 1:16 PM | Article By: Osman Kargbo

The Insurance Association of The Gambia on Friday conducted a lecture for the National Students Insurance Club (NaSIC), in furtherance of its campaign which seeks to increase awareness and enhance the public image of the insurance industry.

Held at St. Augustine’s Senior Secondary School in Banjul, the lecture was organised to introduce students to the basic principles of insurance, the concepts of insurance and why the need for insurance. 

NaSIC was established in 2009 by a group of students from St Augustine’s and St Joseph’s Senior Secondary Schools and officially launched by the IAG in April this year. 

The club was formed to inculcate into students, the positive role that insurance plays in the development of a country, as well as to encourage them to take up insurance as a career.

“We need to educate them (the students) about what insurance is all about,” said IAG Secretary General Henry Jawo. 

“The lecture is the beginning of a series of programme that we will embark upon with NaSIC and other insurance clubs, and we hope with the intervention of the West Africa Insurance Institute (WAII) - as they are the one in charge of training - we will be able to get the students series of lectures so that they understand and appreciate insurance.”

He added: “The idea is to let the students know insurance so that when they finish school they will appreciate the values of insurance and some of them can take up a career in insurance, and those who will be engaged somewhere else outside the insurance industry will already be knowledgeable and conscious of the importance of insurance and they will always be willing to insure whatever property they might have.”

Insurance is a defensive measure used against future conditional losses to hedge the possible risks of the future. It is a legal contract that protects a person from contingent risk of losses through financial means, and provides a means for individuals and societies to handle some of the risks faced in daily life.

Winston Kuti-George, medical and travel manager of Great Alliance Insurance Company, in his presentation, told the students that insurance involves two parties:  the insurer and the insured. 

The insurer is the insurance company and the insured is the policyholder, he explained: “The policyholder pays a prescribed amount to the insurer called premium; the insurer in turn agrees to bear the financial loss and expenses of the policyholder.”

Mr Kuti-George said the Gambia insurance industry as at 2010 consisted of 11 registered insurance companies out of which ten are engaged in only non-life insurance business and one doing wholly life. “Usually policies under non-life are short term or one-year indemnity contracts,” he said, adding: “Funds or premiums are normally invested in short term, not more than one year, investment ventures like treasury bills.”

Insurance, like banking, promotes savings and investment because insurance companies can easily invest in agriculture, commerce and other sectors of the economy. “And it also protects a person against the dangers of life and property,” Mr George said.