Markets require urgent upgrade to attract insurance cover

Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, Kofi Andoh

The Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, Michael Kofi Andoh, has urged district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies to urgently upgrade and improve the conditions of markets all over the country, in order to enable insurance companies to insure the wares and shops of market women and men.

He noted that conditions at the various markets such as poor electrical wiring and use of substandard building materials pose high risk of casualty and are the underlying factor for the regular fire outbreaks being recorded. Meanwhile, with insurance the higher the risk involved, the higher the premium to pay – which is impossible for the market women, hence the need to address such conditions with the urgency they require.

“When the market conditions are not favourable, insurance becomes too expensive; and that is why rebuilding the markets, improving the wiring conditions and creating access for fire tenders is going to bring the price of insurance down and encourage providers to get involved.

“You will attest that every year there is a fire outbreak in one market or another, and that is dangerous because what that does is to wipe out insurance funds. Insurance collects money from all of us hoping that only a few people will be in trouble and use it to take care of them; but when everyone gets into trouble after collecting the money, then we are creating a problem because that money will not be enough to take care of all of us unless we increase the price – hence the need to improve conditions at the markets,” he said.

Mr. Andoh noted that at present the majority of market women have signed up to some form of micro insurance that covers their loans from the banks; but beyond that, conditions must be improved to get a complete insurance cover that will help them back on to their feet in case of disaster.

Fortunately, he added, a lot of markets are being rebuilt around the country, improving the conditions; and once that happens, it becomes much easier for the insurance companies to insure the markets.

Mr. Andoh made this remark at the last stakeholders’ meeting with leaders of the Accra Market Women for Get Insured Campaign, an initiative targetted at reaching out to every Ghanaian – especially those in the informal sector – to educate them about the need to insure and improve the coverage of insurance.

The campaign, which was organised by the Insurance Awareness Coordinators Group (IACG) – an intra-industry body that undertakes nationwide educational campaigns to sensitise Ghanaians on the importance of insurance to the socio-economic development of Ghana – has engaged over 12,100 traders directly over the period.

IACG used various means such as radio interviews across 50 radio stations, market durbars and open market education in 30 selected markets across the 16 regions to undertake the nationwide financial literacy campaign.

Chairman of IACG, Wilson Tei, indicated the need to make sure ordinary Ghanaians get access to insurance, stating that: “We need to work on both the supply and demand sides. The supply side means getting the insurance companies to design and distribute products in such a way that they will reach out to those in the informal sector and get those in the informal sector to understand how insurance works, benefits them and how to use it.”

Popular Hip-life legend Okyeame Kwame, who is an influencer for the campaign, expressed delight with the campaign’s impact and has urged Ghanaians to embrace insurance to avoid regrets if disaster strikes.

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