A four day International Conference on Inclusive Insurance (ICII) is currently ongoing at the plush Movenpick Hotel in Accra. This is the 19th edition of the International Conference, which is taking place from October 23rd to 27th 2023. The conference has attracted some 400 participants, drawn from about 50 countries all around the world.
The periodic conference is designed to stimulate discussions, exchange perspectives, information and ideas and generate support for insurance policies, products, services and regulatory frameworks that encourage and facilitate affordable access to risk management through insurance cover for low income socio-economic segments – primarily represented in the form of the informal sector, but also inclusive of formal sector enterprises and activities too – who typically lack adequate access to insurance for reason of affordability and lack of awareness.
This year’s edition is being organized by the Munich Reinsurance Foundation and the Micro-Insurance Network with local hosting collaboration and support from the National Insurance Commission (NIC), Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), and the Insurance Brokers Association Ghana, (IBAG).
This year’s edition of the conference is coming on the back of the 18th edition which was hosted by Zambia in 2020. The ongoing conference is focusing largely on the use of technology to design and disseminate insurance products and services that can mitigate the dire effects of global pandemics and ongoing climate change o the relatively poor segments of the global population, thus converting the risk of further decline into poverty into the potential for unprecedented wealth creation on a global level.
On the opening day of the event four workshops were held. The first, hosted by the ILO served as an introduction inclusive insurance. The second examined topline and bottom line strategies for inclusive insurance. The third served as the 18th consultative forum and addressed the interconnectivity of climate and natural catastrophes; and how insurance is responding to build resilience and bridge the protection gap. The final workshop addressed gendered social norms in inclusive insurance and how to accelerate progress towards better serving the women’s insurance market.
The conference was formally opened on the second day by Ghana’s acting Insurance Commissioner, Michael Andoh who gave a welcome address in his capacity as the CEO of the National Insurance Commission. This was followed by a speech by the Vice Chairman of Munich Re Foundation, Dirk Reinhard, which is one of the two sponsors of the event. Another opening speech was delivered by the President of Micro-Insurance Network, Lorenzo Chan Jnr, the other event organizers
The Guest of Honour for the formal opening ceremony was Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta who noted that the country has become a preferred hosting venue for major international conferences and similar events. He asserted that the incumbent government has, since its assumption of office in 2017, has adopted a policy approach that seeks to ensure that they create a financial sector that supports the marginalized, enhances economic freedom and promotes social mobility.
He revealed that Ghana’s total financial sector assets had grown from GHc159.96 billion in 2017 to GHc269.43 million by the end of 2021 and further to GHc311.93 billion as at the end of last year. This amounts to steady growth of more than 50% with a dominant 51.1% contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
The insurance sub-sector itself saw its assets grow from GHc4.65 billion in 2017 to GHc12.24 billion as at the end of 2022. Just as importantly, insurance penetration has grown from less than 3% to about 29% currently – including micro and health insurance cover – a dramatic improvement which he has attributed in part to the impact of government’s National Inclusion and Development Strategy, which commenced in 2018. The objective of the strategy is to provide a road map of reforms and innovations in the financial ecosystem to address financial exclusion and support broader development of the financial sector. The target was to increase financial inclusion to 85% by 2023 but this has already been exceeded with an inclusion rate of 955 being reported in the 2021 Demand Side Survey report. Instructively micro-insurance growth has been identified as a major driver of this achievement.
Also on the second day of the conference, three more plenary sessions were held. One addressed the landscape of micro-insurance in 2023, covering key trends and fresh insights. The next one examined the question of what is needed to develop inclusive insurance markets in West Africa. The final one examined the issue of how public-private partnerships can leverage digital innovations for inclusive and sustainable health insurance in Africa.
On Wednesday 12 parallel session were scheduled across three venues. These addressed various critical issues relating to the use of technology, skills training and capacity building, accessibility and affordability. They also presented best practice business models for expanding insurance inclusion.
Three more plenary sessions are scheduled for Thursday, covering innovation for resilience; overcoming the challenges facing micro-insurance; and the outlook. The final day of the event will involve a field trip to a Visionfund/Allianz project.