22 August 2012

Rwanda: Local Insurers in Training Over Agricultural Insurance

Nairobi-based College of Insurance yesterday launched regional certificate program in agricultural insurance in Rwanda. The program is scheduled to run for a week.

At launch, Bonaventure Kagaba Sangano, the in-charge of Insurance Operations at National Bank of Rwanda said, "The training is highly welcome in Rwanda. We have already auto insurance, house insurance, other commercial products insurance, but we had not agricultural insurance -- a sector upon many lives depend on, a sector that has many risks".

The risks, as he noted, are related to insects that destroy crops, the weather that none can master where there might come a lot of rain or sun followed by a big loss to farmers, etc.

From that perspective, the official said it is very important to the country to set mechanisms that would help the country have professional farmers. That's, among others, insuring their products.

He believes that it is feasible, since already local farmers are used to forming professional cooperatives which focus on intensification of one crop. Now for them, it is timely to have an insurance of crops, benefic for them and for the country that needs to insure sustainable food security to its citizens.

Commenting on the reason why in Rwanda there is no insurance company covering agricultural insurance, Kagaba said, "Sonarwa aimed at introducing it in 1990s, but it wasn't sustainable; in fact it is a risk sector where insurance companies hesitate to invest their money."

There is a partnership with local and international insurance companies, which can help Rwandan companies to afford even sectors with risky insurance.

Clients of insurance companies have always claimed that companies complicate processes to get them paid, assumingly because they mostly look at their own interests and ignore their clients'.

In that way, a farmer who would not have enough time to run after a company would be victim of these delays. Thus, the central bank official insured they are working on rules and regulations which include setting the deadline for a company to pay their client on due time.

However, the way an insurance company would deal with their clients is on schedule in this program, according to Ben Kajwang, CEO of College of Insurance.

"We will achieve our objectives of teaching participants the historical development of agricultural insurance, the risks associated with it and the roles various agencies play. Participants will also learn underwriting of crop insurance and claims procedures of agriculture insurance", said Kajwang.

Kajwang added, the program that will also be rolled in all EAC and COMESA region will enhance the levels of awareness and penetration of agricultural insurance in the region, especially to the rural households.

Insurance penetration in Rwanda is still at 2.3% while the target is to have it at 10% in 2017.

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