Insurers push for Self-Regulation

The Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), the umbrella Trade Association for all Insurance Companies doing business in the country, held its first National General Insurance Conference at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra recently.

The Conference was on the theme ‘Transforming the General Insurance Industry in Ghana through Self-Regulation, Financial Capacity and Business Innovation’. The event was attended by representatives of all insurance practitioners from about 55 insurance and re-insurance companies, and those doing insurance-related business. The attendance was about 400 participants.

Mr. Kwame Ofori, second Vice-President and Chairman of the General Insurance Council/Executive Director, Enterprise Insurance Company, welcoming participants said the maiden conference is the culmination of years of hard work by the General Insurance Council in pursuit of their dream – which is to tell how General Insurance impacts the lives and properties of individuals and the country as a whole.

According to him, this is most appropriate in view of its focus on the three thematic areas that have the potential of improving the General Insurance Industry.

“Self-regulation has become one of the most powerful tools for initiating discipline, promoting healthy competition, and avoiding stricter regulations in various industries worldwide.

“The insurance industry in Ghana cannot be an exception. The benefits of self-regulation are obvious. It can help us address a range of issues, from establishing industry standards through developing and applying codes of professional ethics, to ensuring consumer confidence,” Ofori pointed out.

He stressed that self-regulation, by its very nature, relies on the input of all stakeholders, so members buy-in is high – leading to better compliance and more positive overall results. In Canada, the maximum self-regulation prevails – rather than the imposition of more remote and often less flexible and less timely rules by governments.

He indicated that the various Trade Associations, such as Advocis, have usually been able to voluntarily implement revised trade practices to enhance consumers’ interest and protection; thereby, avoiding unwieldly or labourious legislation and government supervision.

He admitted that similar arrangements exist in countries such as South Africa.

Ms. Aretha Duku, President GIA and Managing Director Ghana Union Assurance, emphasised that the industry in the country cannot be an exception to the global development.

According to the GIA President, there are people with the mindset that the insurance industry is being over-regulated.

However, we say No to this assertion if you do not self-regulate.

Regulating by itself presents benefits to both consumers and insurance companies; and as the consumer is assured of fair terms, the insurance company is able to operate on a level-playing field efficiently.

thebftonline.com l Ghana