The President of Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Obeng, has appealed for insurance companies to draft flexible policies that would attract importers to buy local insurance.
According to him, many importers shy away from buying local insurance for their goods due to the complex wording and little or no incentives attached to the policies.
Speaking at stakeholder’s sensitisation workshop on the Marine Cargo Insurance Protocol, Dr. Obeng said: “Among ourselves, we know that we have to get local insurance; because many of the foreign insurance we buy, we are unable to comprehend the content with some of them in foreign languages that we cannot read.
“What we are asking local insurers to do is provide simple and good deals. That is what will attract more of us to by local.”
He also commended the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and National Insurance Commission (NIC) for the move to educate them on new insurance protocols; and appealed to insurers to assiduously handle issues that will come up in future to create more confidence among stakeholders.
The protocols are to ensure adherence to the Insurance Act.2006 (Act 724), which requires that – with the express exception of personal belongings – all goods being imported into Ghana must necessarily be insured in Ghana.
Chief Executive Officer of GSA, Benonita Bismarck stated: “Marine insurance occupies an important position in overseas trade and commerce. While affording protection against unfortunate losses, it also helps shippers transfer a significant component of their risks to insurers.
“Shippers importing cargo into Ghana have very little control in the rates of premium they pay abroad, and most often these insurance premiums are relatively high. Where the insurance is taken abroad and there arises a need for a claim, the process is fraught with delays and extra costs to the shipper.”
Ms. Bismarck said the opportunity has been provided in the Insurance Act for shippers to take insurance locally for their imports. She urged shippers in the country to underwrite their cargo insurance locally, as this provides enormous benefits to them in the form of easy access to the insurance market and prompt payment of claims, should the need arise.
In a presentation, Charles Ansong Dankyi – Senior Manager, Supervision Department from the NIC, mentioned that the NIC is creating a database that will be shared with the Customs Division of GRA to authenticate any insurance certificate from insurance companies to shippers.
He underlined the benefits that shippers stand to gain from the protocols as cost saving in foreign exchange, value for money for right premium, right insurance cover and quick claims payment.
The Head of Freight and Logistics of the GSA, Fred Asiedu-Dartey, assured the GUTA leadership of the authority’s preparedness to work with stakeholders in addressing any concerns that arise.
“The GSA is poised to see this succeed; hence, we are giving it all the attention it deserves so that we can help create a better shipping environment for locals.”