Importers in the country have been encouraged to insure all their goods with local insurance companies in order not to incur any risk during shipping.
“When there is a loss, the first thing to do is to contact your insurer; just a phone call or notify your insurer to become aware of the state of your goods and you will have a smooth process,” Mercy Boampong, Member of the National Insurance Commission (NIC) Committee on Marine Cargo Insurance said.
Speaking to the B&FT at an education on Protocol on Cargo Placement in Ghana organized by the Ghana Shippers Authourity in Takoradi, she noted that importers must ask all the relevant questions and all those in the primary chain before taken the insurance. “We have insurance surveyors at all the ports and that it should be a collective responsibility for all stakeholders to protect cargo so the importer will be satisfied.”
On marine insurance, she explained that it does not expire, it has estimated time to cover. “Put your insurer on notice when the Estimated Time of Delivery does not occur. That is the main reason the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), the National Insurance Commission (NIC) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have come to educate and highlight the benefits of buying the local insurance for the growth of the industry,” she added.
Mrs. Boampong mentioned some of the benefits of insuring locally as “you have your peace of mind, you know the insurer, where the office is located and when there is a claim you can actually call on them. If they decline to pay your claim, you have a second level where you report to the National Insurance Association (NIA) which is self-regulating; if you are not satisfied, you can then escalate to the regulator which is the National Insurance Commission (NIC).”
Although, she said insurance is a service, when anyone takes it locally, it becomes more tangible.
Deputy Commissioner of the NIC, Michael Andoh explained the categories of insurance and pointed out that the commission has claim payment guidelines that needs to be read by all shippers. He added that the guidelines are there to protect the consumer. “It is important to know the consumer as well.”
Abdiul Haki Bashiru-Dine, Senior Freight and Logistic Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority quoted Insurance Act 2006 (ACT 724) to back him stance on why importers must take up local insurance.
“Unless authorised by the Commission, a person shall not enter into a contract of insurance with an offshore insurer in respect of (a) property situate in the country (b) liabilities arising in the country, or (c) goods other than personal effects, being imported into the country.”
He mentioned challenges with insuring offshore as “getting the right value for the insurance policy, no relationship with the offshore insurer, communication and language barrier, pressure on the cedi among others.