Malawi insurance industry to jack up penetration

Expected to be the guest of honour: ChukaWith available statistics indicating that Malawi’s insurance penetration is at a paltry three percent, the Insurance Institute of Malawi (IIM) says it wants to ensure that more people embrace the insurance concept.

Despite this sorry state of affairs, figures show that Malawi beats regional neighbours Kenya (2.62 percent), Tanzania (2.2 percent) and Zambia (2.4 percent).

The average global penetration rate for the insurance market is at 7.5 percent with United Kingdom leading the pack trailed by South Africa at 16 percent and Taiwan at 14.5 percent.

Insurance experts say to measure the extent of the deepening of the insurance industry, there is need to look at insurance penetration, density, gross premium and total assets.

To reverse the trend, IIM has organised a national conference in Mangochi in August that will deliberate, among others, on the need to ensure that penetration of insurance is jacked up and also that more people are aware of the benefits.

“We know that insurance is something that is very important, especially for a developing country such as Malawi where people require coverage in case of disasters,” said Edith Jiya, the conference’s chairperson of the organising committee, in an interview with journalists last week in Blantyre.

She said the industry is keen to ensure that people are more aware about the importance of insurance and also that personnel are properly trained and boost their skills.

Jiya, who is also general manager at Old Mutual Life Assurance Company, said the conference, to be held between 8 and 10 August, will mainly focus on four topical issues.

The issues are on capital adequacy, financial education, financial intelligence and how to improve the industry’s penetration.

Malawi has eight general insurance companies, four life insurance companies, one reinsurance company, nine insurance brokers and nine insurance loss assessors/adjusters, according to IIM.

During the conference themed ‘Towards a sustainable future’, whose guest of honour is expected to be Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Charles Chuka, there will be presentations on various topics relevant to the insurance industry in Malawi.

Head of financial education at Old Mutual South Africa John Manyike will present on ‘Emerging markets in consumer education on risk management and insurance,’ where as acting director of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Atuweni Phiri will make a presentation on insurance anti-money laundering compliance.

Managing director at Old Mutual Malawi Chris Kapanga will also present a paper titled ‘Challenges and options in implementing capital adequacy requirements’.

In October 2012, Finance Minister Ken Lipenga formally prescribed and gazetted insurance players into the financial sector which entails that all insurance companies and brokers are answerable to the dictates of Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act of 2006.

Meanwhile, Old Mutual Malawi Limited has given K700 000 to the institute to help it in the organisation of the conference.