The Insurance Innovation Week ended amidst calls for services for the rural and poorer communities, as well as transparency in the industry.

The industry gave positive performance figures showing how it has been growing steadily over the last decade, with the number of customers (policy holders) multiplying five times.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, said he had also noted the increasing awareness of the industry, but added that complaints about companies refusing to pay claims persist.

He said that while claims payment has also increased over the time, the industry had not done well in Motor Third Party compensations, telling the leaders to prepare an explanation.

He said, however, that continuous innovation was key for a player to remain in business by navigating the changing environment.

Tayebwa was presiding over the closure of the week that ended with the Insurance Innovation Awards ceremony Friday night.

He also urged the insurance companies to ease the compensation claim processes so as to gain the trust of the public, but noted that there are also unscrupulous people who defraud companies by making false claims.

He added to the calls on the industry players to focus on the rural communities and the small and medium enterprises.

Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, the Chief Executive Officer at the Insurance Regulatory Authority, said in 2011 policyholders were 567,000 but this has since grown to 2.5 million today, while gross written premiums were 1.6 trillion shillings last year compared to about 300 billion in 2011.

Despite these growths, Lubega said a lot needed to be done to reach more people, adding that this would call for more innovative products.

Isaac Nkoote, the IRA Board Chairman, said innovation should be a continuous practice in all insurance companies to improve and sustain the industry, not only for the sake of competition.

He said, for example, the industry has focused a lot on the urban areas where more people are aware of its benefits, while the rural areas remain both underserved and opposed to insurance as not meant to benefit them.

Insurance penetration had remained between 0.7 and 0.8 percent with gross written premiums being 1.6 trillion shillings, while the country’s GDP is estimated at around 180 trillion.

Insurance penetration in Uganda is one of the lowest in the world and below the African average of 1.7 percent by more than half.

State Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Henry Musasizi supported the idea of taking insurance to rural areas to ensure that no part of the country was left behind.

The awards featured different insurance classes across the industry, as well as the Special People’s Choice Award, which went to Prudential Assurance Ltd.

URN. 

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