The focus of deliberations at this 47th African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Conference and General Assembly must take cognisance of the collective aspiration of Africa and produce outcomes that would contribute to re-building Africa through insurance, says Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
In her opening remark at the event themed: ‘Rebuilding Africa’s Economy – The Insurance Perspective’, she noted that the African insurance industry has a key role to play in re-building the African Economy.
Such role, according to her, includes, improving on its relevance to national development by designing and offering insurance products that are targeted at the populace such as microinsurance and takaful products for the low-income and excluded segment of the population.
This way, she stated, the industry would make immeasurable contribution to the governments as well as improve the quality of life of the African people.
On the involvement of technology, Mrs. Ahmed said: “In this era of technological development, to effectively contribute to the re-building of the African economy, there is need to reform the African insurance industry, incentivise innovative practices, invest in digitisation processes and leverage on information technology to reach and offer suitable insurance products to the nooks and crannies of Africa as well as improve service delivery.
The industry, in her opinion, must, therefore, rise-up to the challenge of providing more innovative products which are capable of changing the narrative of inappropriate claims management practices to the one that elicits positive public perception of the insurance industry.
In her words: “Let me quickly add that, while practitioners in the African insurance industry must explore the opportunities presented by increased reliance on information technology, practitioners cannot afford to be unmindful of the attendant threats or risks resulting therefrom, such as; heightened cyber-risks and ransomwares in view of their disruptive effect on conventional insurance business models, as well as other emerging risks such as climate risks, among others.
“It is also important for the insurance industry in Africa to move beyond its traditional safe-zones and strengthen its existing pools in order to support productive investment and help mitigate emergent risks that are identifiable with cyber-risks, climate change and other natural or man-made disasters.
“It is also imperative for the African insurance industry to focus on developing a more competitive environment under the auspices of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in order to create a dynamic and vibrant African insurance industry.
She noted: “The federal government of Nigeria understands that no country or industry exists in a vacuum. Consequently, the government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has always made Africa the centrepiece of its foreign policy hinged on continued cooperation among Africa countries and complemented with responsible economic management.
“Accordingly, every segment of the African economy including the insurance industry and everyone in this conference is part of the efforts to rebuild the African economy.
Mrs. Ahmed also noted that the Local Organising Committee (LOC) has adopted a hybrid approach in hosting the conference to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I have no doubt that this arrangement would allow many more delegates safely participate in the conference,” she stated.
“Let me from the outset commend the founding fathers of the AIO for establishing an organisation that symbolises unity of the African insurance industry.
At the event attended by some ministers, President of AIO, Mrs. Delphine Traoré, Commissioners of Insurance and heads of insurance regulatory authorities, Vice President of AIO, Mr. Tope Smart, members of the executive committee of the AIO, Secretary-General of AIO, Mr. Jean Baptiste Ntukamazina, the Honourable Minster also stated: “This is remarkable considering that such an organisation affords practitioners across the African continent a platform to work towards an integrated African insurance agenda, share common aspiration and identify common problems with a view to solving them.