The Star (Nairobi)

East Africa Insurance Regulators Launch Integration of Laws

EAST African insurance industry regulators are scheduled to meet next week to discuss the progress in insurance laws harmonization, Ugandan Insurance Regulatory Authority CEO Alhaj Ibrahim Lubega has said. Lubega who is also the chairman of the East Africa Insurance Supervisory Association said a consultant to help regulators with the law harmonization has been appointed and has recently settled down at the EAC secretariat in Arusha to begin his assessment of the industry. "As the East African Supervisory association the members have already done peer review and a report based on this review is ready. We shall soon meet with the consultant to share with him our thoughts on the harmonization," Lubega revealed.

He was speaking during the second annual Africa insurance and reinsurance conference that begun in Nairobi yesterday. Lubaga said that the consultant has been given one year to work on proposals and issue a report in quarter one 2013 after which real work on the harmonization of the laws may begin. The region will next week mark two years since the common market protocol came into force even though benefits of the wider market are yet to be fully realized because of conflicting country laws.

Brian Kapito a senior manager at Nico Insurance a giant firm with operations in six african countries among them Tanzania and Zambia noted that conflicting industry laws among countries was hampering growth of the industry in the continent. "Each country has its own set of rules on work permit, different liability limits, requirement for qualifications, capital requirements and legislation," Kapito told delegates at the conference. "If say you have a Malawian insurance cover, it won't be accepted in Zambia or Zimbabwe."

Speakers at the conference also called for recapitalization, improved regulatory functions and human capital to drive growth in the industry. Lubega on his part called on insurance firms to venture into new business areas to widen the market. "Like in Uganda there is lack of insurance targeting agriculture yet it is the source of employment for 80 per cent of the population," noted Lubega. The two day conference is scheduled to end today.

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