African insurance markets urged to engage governments for increased penetration

The leadership of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) has urged the different markets in the region to increase advocacy and engage their governments for better penetration of insurance.

Tope Smart, president of the AIO in his message to the continental body said African insurance industry still suffers from very low insurance penetration rates, when compared to global rates, with an average of less than two percent, without South Africa.

He said this on one hand shows the weaknesses of the industry and on the other the vast potential yet to be exploited.

“We believe it is our mission to improve insurance penetration via solutions that improve access to insurance, the reputation of the African insurance industry and insurance awareness in Africa.”

Smart, who is also the group managing director of NEM Insurance said as part of measures to address this challenge the different markets should scale up their advocacy initiative by collaborating with various organs of government to advance the course of insurance as this will lead to increased penetration.

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He noted that The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set to become the world’s largest free trade area in respect of the numbers of participating countries.

“We believe that the AfCFTA could play a significant role in improving insurance services through liberalization (eliminating non-tariff barriers and refraining from introducing new ones) and integration.”

AIO shall advocate for integration of the African insurance industry in the AfCFTA implementation, Smart assured.

“Furthermore, governments are increasingly using insurance to achieve public policy objectives and the AIO, again through its advocacy role, shall seek to advance the policy interests of Africa’s insurance industry, to create a conducive and enabling environment for insurance in Africa to thrive.”

While reminding that the AIO is 50 years old, he urged members to embrace activities to mark the event.

“Activities to mark this milestone anniversary will hold in Nairobi, Kenya alongside our 48th Conference and Annual General Assembly under the theme ‘Insurance and Climate Change: Harnessing the Opportunities for Growth in Africa”.

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