The Uganda Insurers Association (UIA) today announced that in 2017, insurers will largely focus on increasing access to information on insurance and access to insurance services. This announcement was made during a media specific engagement in Kampala in which the Association updated the media on its activities and developments in 2016 as well as the industry’s plans for 2017.
“This year we launched our 3 year consumer education program with the objective of presenting insurance in simple terms to make it more relatable to the public in order to increase the appreciation and purchase of insurance. One of our learnings over 2016 is that a level of awareness about insurance has been achieved. What we therefore need to focus on- in addition to continuous sensitization- is how we can better provide our services; improve on the information available and on how best we can reach the current and future consumers, “said Ms. Miriam Magala, Chief Executive Officer, UIA, at the engagement.” Our consumer awareness program follows from the industry’s market growth development plan which intends to see insurance penetration grow to 3% by 2025.”
“The amendments to the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) which now allow us to sell our products through bank networks as well as the development of Takaful (Islamic insurance) and micro insurance regulations also mean that as we continue to educate, the industry needs to be positioned to meet the needs of these particular market segments. This will extend to the products we are developing, access to these products, the information we relay and how best we manage both client and related stakeholder expectations,” added Mr. Deepak Pandey, Chairman UIA.
In 2017, the insurance industry will therefore look to leverage on technology and further develop their distribution models to improve on access to information to insurance services.
“One of the projects we shall be launching in early 2017 is the “App Challenge” in which we will invite the public and especially the youth, to develop an application which will be used to, among others, provide information on the basics of insurance, the different products/services on the market, information on licensed players as well as information on how to make a claim. We also expect that through this Challenge and the application itself, we will receive information on the public about our services and use that information to ensure that insurance remains relevant to the public,” Ms. Magala said.
The Association will also put in place fraud databases to enable the industry monitor and understand consumer consumption patterns and needs as well as determine fraud instances in order to curb this practice.
In terms of strategic action, to ensure the growth of the industry, the Association will continue its engagements with the Bank of Uganda, the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda, Uganda Bankers Association, the Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders to ensure the establishment of a positive regulatory and business environment in 2017. UIA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alhuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE), a partnership that will be critical as the industry prepares itself to take on Takaful (Islamic insurance). The partnership will extend to, among others, capacity building, product development, design and distribution, developing appropriate Takaful models for this market and providing advisory support on suitable regulatory frameworks. The Association will also continue to lobby for positive regulatory business environments, most important is the Insurance Bill, 2016 under which the Association is lobbying for the establishment of an appropriate & cost efficient business environment targeted at engineering growth, without compromising on supervisory intervention. Most critical issues are to ensure that supervisory intervention is restricted to situations or circumstances bound to place policyholders funds at risk or if a business is unable to meet its liabilities; premiums are paid at inception or renewal of the policy- the current law allows for credit; all local risks including marine, and oil & gas risks are written by and through locally licensed companies, and that the boards of insurance companies retains the right to determine the distribution of profits, subject to ensuring that there is sufficient capital in the company and that a company is able to pay claims when it is required to do so. We are confident that with our engagements with the Ministry, IRA and Members of Parliament, a suitable law will be passed. We are also advocating for a phased implementation of the law, once it is passed, due to the changes that will be required of companies including adjustments to capital, changes in internal processes and recruitment of additional staff.
The Association remains confident that through these and similar efforts, a fair regulatory environment will be established without compromising on supervisory intervention and unduly increasing business costs.
The Association will similarly continue to work with the Ministry of Finance, the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA), the Uganda Police Force and the Uganda Revenue Authority to ensure the enforcement of the compulsory insurances in 2017 that is- Motor Third Party Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and Marine Insurance.
Uganda Insurers Association is the umbrella organization for all insurance and reinsurance companies in Uganda. Membership currently stands at 32 Life, General and Reinsurance companies.