22 November 2012

Uganda: Insurers Urge Govt to Boost Regulatory Body

Local insurance firms are concerned that the some of the woes facing the insurance industry are escalating because the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) lacks capacity to execute its mandate.

According to the AIG Insurance Agency Representative Charles Mboowa, government ought to narrow the funding gap amidst which IRA functions to enable the body facilitate enough human capital to regularly monitor and enforce the provisions of the Act governing the industry.

The industry operates under numerous challenges like; limited public awareness about the industry and increased flouting of the laws by some operators at the cost of the law abiding companies.

Mboowa was on Monday speaking during an interview on the sidelines of the AIG staff party to mark the transition from Chartis Insurance back to AIG, a new brand under which the company started trading effective October.

He pointed out that many local enterprises had resorted to insuring risks in other countries, yet IRA has legal provisions in place prohibiting the same if such risks can be insured locally, this is compounded by rampant premium undercutting.

"However, we remain optimistic that if IRA is financially empowered, to have enough human resource to operate amongst firms the challenges facing us could be surmounted and Uganda's struggling industry may be elevated," he said.

"It is true IRA needs more funding however this is not only peculiar to IRA. This is common to all government departments. However, with added mandate and the need to create awareness on insurance, we are engaging government to increase our funding," said the IRA spokesperson Mariam Nalunkuuma.

With a 0.65% penetration rate, Uganda lags behind other East African states like; Rwanda at 2.3%, Kenya's penetration is 2.76%, and Tanzania is at 2.2%.

Commenting on the company rebranding, the AIG Uganda Managing Director Alex Wanjohi appealed to his team to continue elevating the company's basic core values of impressive customer care to maintain the global standards.

He said that AIG Uganda was increasingly winning overwhelming public confidence exhibited by the company's registration a premium income worth sh41b in 2011 against an industry record claims payout of sh35b in 2011.

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