The Insurance and Pensions Commission of Zimbabwe (IPEC) has issued a notice of suspension to Regal Insurance from operating with immediate effect. The notice is based on investigations into allegations levelled against the entity such as failure to settle policy claims and fleecing policy holders.
The suspension was enforced in terms of section 67 of the Insurance Act [Chapter 24:07] prohibiting the entity from selling insurance policies either directly or through its agents or brokers.
The regulator has called upon Regal Insurance policy holders with outstanding claims to confirm their claims or make representations to IPEC on or before 28 June 2019. In addition, those yet to lodge claims are being directed to send through their claims to IPEC for onward transmission to Regal Insurance.
According to the notice, the following should be provided in respect of motor insurance policy claims, duly completed motor insurance claim form, police report, quotations from reputable panel beaters, claim assessor's report (if available), bank details and contact details (phone numbers, emails etc.).
Contacted for comment on products or services being directly affected and the future of Regal Insurance, managing director, Tendai Muoza advised this publication to email questions since he had not seen the IPEC notice.
Mr Muoza did not respond to our questions until the time of going to print. However, during the initial call, he acknowledged and did not contest IPEC's decision,
"We understand, if IPEC has issued the statement because surely it is their role to safeguard the investments of policyholders. I have not yet seen the notice."
"Send through your questions, I will respond after going through the IPEC notice," said Muoza.
This is not the first time IPEC has axed insurance service providers in a bid to enforce regulatory compliance and promote value addition to investments by policy holders.
In September 2018, Regal Insurance hogged the limelight again for non-compliance to the Insurance Act [Chapter 24:07]. IPEC issued a similar garnish on the entity for failure to settle policy claims, a local daily newspaper reported.
In the second quarter of 2016, IPEC suspended Heritage Insurance to join the likes of Excellence Insurance and KMFS Insurance that were barred from initiating and renewing business as a result of poor corporate governance and unethical conduct.
These followed hardly on the heels of the garnish on Global Insurance, New Reinsurance, Navistar Insurance Brokers and Revival Insurance Brokers on the basis of unsound finances in the quarter to March 2016, another daily local newspaper reported.
For Regal Insurance, non-compliance is gaining foothold in their backyard and IPEC's measures seem to be falling short of the required impact to the endgame in these discrepancies.
Reached for comment on the unending gap in poor corporate governance and unethical conduct within the Insurance sector, IPEC Public Relations Manager Lloyd Gumbo reiterated that the 2018 suspension was a precursor to the investigations and the current garnish is a result of the outcome of the investigations.
"There are a number of issues that the Commission was focusing on, some of which include delays and failure to settle claims.
"The initial suspension was to allow investigations and now the current suspension is a result of the investigations," Gumbo said.
The suspension of Insurance providers brings with it stress and anxiety on the policy holders who bank on them as fall-back plans in times of uncertainty. Contrary, these measures bring opportunities in the marketplace, thanks to competition! The affected motor vehicle policy holders at Regal Insurance have potential alternatives in the form of MyDrive and EcoSure Moovah among other Insurers.
MyDrive is a low cost Usage Based Insurance product from FBC Insurance where policy holders are charged and covered for the kilometres they travel.
EcoSure Moovah is the insurance arm of Cassava Zimbabwe which houses Ecocash in the Econet Group of Companies. Moovah is a consolidated package which offers customers monthly vehicle insurance premiums, in installments in addition to paying for ZINARA and ZBC licence discs on the go by dialling short code *901# on the phone or downloading the EcoSure Moovah app.
Considering the hyper inflationary Zimbabwean environment we are yet to see if there is light at the end of the tunnel in the Insurance sector. IPEC now has to do a balancing act in terms of enforcement considering that some premiums are now being covered in USD and the majority in the local ZWL.