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Stakeholders device means of growing insurance broking in W/Africa

Aug 4, 2015, 12:11 PM | Article By: Lamin Jahateh

Insurance brokers mainly from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and The Gambia are in Banjul exploring various ways and means to grow insurance broking practice in West Africa and Africa as a whole.

The insurance stakeholders are meeting for the maiden edition of the International Brokers Forum organised by the West African Insurance Instituted (WAII) and the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), on 3 and 4 August 2015 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

During the two days, the insurance agents would also explore the prospects and challenges of implementing the ‘no premium no cover policy’.

Declaring the forum open, Finance Minister Abdou Kolley said the issues to be discussed during the international conference are “topical” in the present day financial and insurance service business.

“I am particularly gladdened that brokers from the sub-region here present and their Gambian counterparts have a lot to gain from the papers that will be delivered, and discussions that will follow in the next two days.”

The finance minister said The Gambia, particularly, will benefit immensely from the experiences of the Nigerian insurance market which is a typical example of a brokers’ market.

Minister Kolley said The Gambia government recognises the strategic role of a viable insurance industry plays in the economic prosperity of a nation.

In this vein, the government is currently reviewing the Insurance Act, 2003 to ensure that insurance practice in The Gambia is at par with its African neighbours and beyond.

“The government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that insurance practitioners are sufficiently strengthened, financially and technically, to undertake the art of insurance in a financially sound and highly professional manner,” the finance minister said.

“The government will ensure that insurance is provided for all, afforded by all and practised in a sound and efficient manner for all.”

The director general of WAII, Frederick Bowen-John, said the two-day international conference served as an opportunity for cross-sharing of experiences that will help develop broking practices, and enhance the level of professionalism within the smaller markets like The Gambia.

The forum provides an avenue for brokers and direct insurers from the sub-region to dilate on topical issues such as how they affect insurance practice, in general, and insurance broking, in particular.

During the forum, practitioners will learn from the experiences of the more established markets in Nigeria and Ghana, WAII DG said.

“Industry players have a lot to gain from sub-regional interaction and cooperation,” Mr Bowen-John added.

Insurance brokers, just like any other business, constantly face challenges in today’s complex business terrain, most of which the individual business entity cannot successfully deal with alone.

In these changing times, therefore, the unique role sub-regional interaction and cooperation have to play in addressing some of the world’s most persistent problems are as important as ever.

The WAII DG said they specifically sought the partnership with Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers to help brokers improve on their performance, to remind them on their obligations to both parties in the contract, and to dilate on practices that will contribute positively and deepen broking practices in this part of the world.

The secretary general of West African Insurance Institute (WAICA), William B. Coker, said the international conference provided a platform to interact with brokers and other insurance stakeholders to network and forge alliances.

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

“This requires regular and continuous professional development like this one that we are here attending.”

The president of NCRIB, Ayodapo Shoderu, reiterated the importance of the training session, as it is aimed at enhancing manpower development in West Africa.