Krif Ghana Limited, publishers of the Integrity Magazine, has held its 4th Webinar series on the Effects of Covid-19 on Corporate Ghana- the Insurance Industry.
Tuesday's event brought on board seasoned insurers across the country, who touched on various angles of the insurance sector, with a clarion call on Ghanaians to "be interested in insurance".
Present at the webinar were the experts, who took turns to explain the present and future outlook of the insurance industry amidst the Covid-19 scare.
It was the 4th in the series to be organized under the auspices of Integrity Magazine, a subsidiary of Krif Ghana Limited.
The webinar themed :“Effects of COVID-19 on Corporate Ghana- The Insurance industry” featured the Deputy Commissioner of the National Insurance Commission, Mr. Michael Kofi Andoh, the Managing Director of Enterprise Insurance Company Limited, Madam Ernestina Abeh, the Chief Executive Officer, GLICO Group, Mr. Edward Forkuo Kyei, the Chief Executive Officer, Nationwide Medical Insurance, Mrs. Nancy Ampah, the Managing Director, WAPIC Insurance Ghana, Mr. Adedayo Arowojolu and the Vice President of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ghana who happens to be the Chief Executive Officer of KEK Reinsurance Brokers (Africa) Ltd, Mr. Shaibu Ali.
In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of Krif Ghana Limited and Editor of the Integrity Magazine, Reverend Kennedy Okosun urged insurance companies to do more in building trust with its stakeholders
"In this Covid-19 era, a well-developed insurance industry is a requisite necessity in the efforts to improve the stability of the financial markets and protect individuals and businesses from losses in these difficult times. In one breath, suffice it to say that in these COVID-19 challenging times, Insurance is best described as compulsory," he said.
The world economy has seen a downward spiral since the pandemic broke out and as usual the insurance industry in Ghana has been impacted adversely. There have been fears the COVID-19 situation could begin to create liquidity strains even for insurers.
However, Reverend Okosun believes this could just be the catalyst for the insurance industry to cash in as the world is "at the mercy of natural disasters and accidents".
"It is the view of Integrity Magazine that the insurance industry could wield more money than the banks if the public understood properly and applied effectively the services of insurers especially during this corona-virus pandemic, thus ensuring that they are well covered and protected in any eventuality, he said.
"This Integrity Magazine Webinar is creating a platform for a discourse on maintaining the fiduciary relationship between the insured public and their insurers. How do we help insurers build back the trust, so we do not keep hearing people say, they were quick to take my money, but now that they have to pay back, they are dragging their feet."
The Chief Executive Officer, GLICO Group, Mr. Edward Forkuo Kyei, despite the numerous challenges the pandemic has generated, explained that insurance companies could take advantage of the opportunities amidst the difficulties.
He said COVID-19 had opened the doors for the use of various technologies to conduct virtual meetings, which are as effective as face-to-face meetings. "These turbulent times may very well be the turning point that will drive transformational change across the insurance industry. Those who are able to respond – at pace – to this changing environment, who take a customer-first attitude, and who see this as an opportunity to reset and fundamentally rethink how they do business, will find themselves emerging from a position of strength when the dust settles."
He urged insurance companies to consider diversifying into establishing subsidiary vehicle repairs companies to attend to their policyholders’ vehicles. By so doing they would retain control of the repairs of customers’ vehicles and maintain a high level of service delivery come rain or shine.
The assertion was backed by the Chief Executive Officer of KEK Reinsurance Brokers (Africa) Ltd, who however warned brokers of the need to carefully consider the practical and commercial implications of the pandemic on their clients.
Mr. Shaibu Ali said Insurance brokers had already been inundated with queries from their clients relating to the impact.
"The Covid-19 pandemic brings insurance brokers’ duties and obligations into sharp focus, both in terms of dealing with existing queries from their clients and the advice they provide on future renewals," he said.
"To protect themselves from the risk of claims, brokers need to carefully considering the practical and commercial implications of the pandemic on their clients.In addition to the challenges insurance brokers may face in dealing with insurance claims, they should also be mindful of potential risks in advising their clients moving forward."
He said from a practical perspective, most insurance brokers, insurers and their clients are likely to face a sustained period of home and remote working which will inevitably lead to a period of adjustment for the parties involved.
The Managing Director of Enterprise Insurance Company Limited- Madam Ernestina Abeh in her analysis, said the country's general insurance industry has not been plagued with "large clams from the pandemic" as compared to western markets. She explained that the pandemic had fast-tracked the move of insurance companies in going digital and the reduction in operational cost. "Lockdown in Ghana pushed companies to provide employees with the requisite tools such as laptops, Internet Routers as well as equip them with corporate level communication and collaboration platforms (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc.) to work remotely. The operations of insurance companies to be digitalized and has directly affected the operational cost of companies as Utility bills, Motor running cost and stationery in the industry in a positive manner."