This September, insurance and reinsurance industry operators from all across the world’s southern hemisphere will converge on Accra – a city geographically located more or less at the centre of the world and a city with aspirations of becoming an international financial services hub, inclusive of insurance for the anticipated sharp rise in intra-African and intercontinental trade and investment.
The pursuit of this aspiration underpins Ghana’s impending hosting of the 22nd International Educational Conference to be held under the auspices of the Association of Insurers and Reinsurers of Developing Countries (AIRDC), which is headquartered in Manila, capital of the Philippines. The conference’s theme is: Building resilience in the heat of the global economic tussle.
Instructively, during the four-day conference that runs from September 25th to 28th, the Association will get its first African president – Ghana’s own Dr. Aaron Issa Anafure, most widely known by the Ghanaian public as an extraordinarily successful Managing Director of Quality Life Assurance Company after serving with the second-largest life insurer in the country.
Up till now, the bigger, more internationally-active insurers from Asia have dominated the running of AIRDC; but Africa is beginning to assert itself as sweeping reforms, bigger capital and better customer targetting in many African countries are having strong positive impacts.
Ghana is leading this charge – not only is the country about to produce AIRDC’s first African president, but as conference host Ghana will provide its Chairman, too: Dr. Justice Ofori, Ghana’s Insurance Commissioner. His position as Chairman and effectively chief-host for incoming delegates is timely. Under his leadership, the National Insurance Commission (NIC) has implemented compulsory insurance cover for public buildings and their users; forced insurers not to underwrite policies on credit anymore; and most recently overseen the biggest recapitalisation Ghana’s insurance industry has ever undergone, with the minimum capital threshold for primary underwriters increased by 233% to GH¢50million.
Ghana has a new, updated Insurance Act passed by Parliament just last year that contains legislation favourable to the sale of micro-insurance to dramatically increase the country’s very low, single-digit insurance cover penetration rate. Dr. Ofori is adding to these new developments increased usage of technology by the insurance industry. The NIC is now licencing its first batch of ‘Insuretechs’, which will do for Ghana’s insurance industry what duly licenced Financial Technology firms (Fintechs) have done – in collaboration with the banking industry – for financial intermediation and payment platforms.
Here, Asia will provide lots of invaluable advice at the impending Accra Conference and Ghana’s ICT industry is instructively preparing to be a major participant. Dr. Ken Ashigbey, CEO of Ghana’s Telecommunications Chamber, is scheduled as a speaker.
He will be in top-quality company: Other speakers scheduled for the conference include Ghana’s Emmanuel Baba Mahama; Sri Lanka’s Dr. Jagarth Alwis; and Yassir Albarhama. Speakers also include top-notch professionals in a specialised area of insurance and contemporary disruptive technology.
Already, the insurance industries of both Nigeria and South Africa – the continent’s two biggest sovereign insurance jurisdictions – have committed to presenting large delegations.
The impending conference has support from the Association of Insurance Supervisory Authorities across all developing countries – most of them emergent-market economies.
The sheer goodwill Ghana enjoys from the international insurance/reinsurance industry is evident from the AIRDC’s deliberate exhortation for members to enjoy the country as a prime tourism destination, as well as highly competent and eager host of the 2022 edition of the southern hemisphere’s insurance industry’s 22nd International Educational Conference.