23 November 2017

Uganda: Govt Asked to Insure Public Assests

Gulu — Gulu Municipality mayor George Labeja has asked government to insure their assets to avoid losing them without compensation.

Mr Labeja who also asked government to support insurers said other businesses in Uganda grow partly because they receive support through doing business with government by providing goods and services. But the insurance industry has not been given the opportunity to tap into the same.

He was speaking at Booma Hotel during a dinner that crowned the Insurance Institute of Uganda (IIU) Northern region membership interface activities conducted in Gulu District over the weekend.

The mayor also noted that every government asset belongs to the public and leaders just act as trustees of the same but no effort has been made to protect them against risks that cause losses by insuring them.

"Government must look at two aspects and consider insuring public assets, we need to position ourselves and be able to have compensation when assets suffer risks and these insurance companies need government business to realise their development aspirations," he said.

Mr Labeja said assets such as cars secured with tax payers' money get accidents and are eventually written off, because the issue has not been treated as a priority.

"I have even seen it here in Gulu; we lose vehicles worth hundreds of millions and then consider buying new ones to replace. Had we insured such assets, the burden would have been shouldered by insurance firms," he said.

The mayor also criticised government for ignoring life insurance in favour of insuring assets, reasoning that human life is more valuable that all other assets. Life insurance contributes about 7.8 per cent of the total annual premiums currently slightly above Shs600b.

"It disturbs me that you insure your vehicle so that the insurance company pays you back in case it gets an accident and your own life is not insured. You insure factories and ignore insuring the lives of your human resource. This trend must change, let us respect human lives," he advised.

Training intervention

According to Mr Saul Seremba, the chief executive officer of IIU, insurance, being a service, faces challenges of acceptability but the shortcoming is being dealt with through boosting public awareness and intensifying training of people involved in selling insurance to attract people into buying the different policies.

"Building public confidence in insurance is being dealt with at IIU. We are strengthening our capacity across the board to intensify training of human capital," he said.

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