DEVELOPMENT IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY INTEGRATION
The revised roadmap for the actualization of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020 highlighted the integration of the Insurance sub-sector in the sub region. In order to deliver on this task, particularly in the WAMZ, WAMI continued to work with relevant stakeholders (mainly the regulators and operators in the insurance sector). To that end, the maiden meeting of the West African Insurance Supervisors Association (WAISA) under the auspices of the West African monetary Zone (WAMZ) was held at the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), Accra, Ghana, from February 2 – 3, 2019 to discuss the structure of relationship between WAISA and WAMI with a view to achieving the integration of the insurance sector.
Members at the meeting noted the increasing cross border operations by insurance companies in the WAMZ. Members therefore underscored the need to constitute a College of Supervisors in the insurance sector in order to monitor and standardize their operations. After much deliberations on the insurance sector of the WAMZ, the following specific recommendations were made that:
- A College of Insurance Supervisors to be created for the WAMZ to be known as CISWAMZ;
- CISWAMZ be included in the membership of the institutions of WAMZ; and
- WAMI should be approved to perform the Secretariat activities of CISWAMZ henceforth.
At the presentation of the Report of the Maiden Meeting to the Technical Committee (TC) at its meeting held on February 4, 2019, the TC requested WAISA to provide more justification for the creation of the CISWAMZ. The Concept Note was expected to provide justifications for the creation of the CISWAMZ, institutional framework, reporting line and funding of the CISWAMZ.
In order to update the Concept Note as requested by the TC, WAISA held a meeting on the 25th of April 2019, on the side-line of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) Annual General Meeting and Educational Conference, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Early in the year 2020, WAISA held another meeting from January 14 – 15, 2020, at WAMI, in Accra, Ghana. With the support of WAMI, the Association formally finalized and adopted its Charter, as well as reviewed the Concept Note for the Establishment of the College of Insurance Supervisors of the WAMZ (CISWAMZ). The Concept Note was presented to the Technical Committee of the WAMZ during the Meetings in February 2020. However, a decision on the CISWAMZ establishment was stepped down for further consideration.
Furthermore, WAMI in conjunction with the Executive Committee of WAISA hosted a Virtual Seminar on “The Insurance Industry and COVID-19: the Need for a New Approach” in the WAMZ on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Some of the resolutions from the Webinar were as follows:
- Both regulators and operators should consider some level of moratorium on premium payable during the lockdown period;
- Panelists and participants unanimously agreed on the need for insurance companies to embrace digitization in the business of insurance given the pandemic, and as a way of enhancing financial inclusion;
- There is the need to embark on awareness programme on the need for SMEs to take insurance policies in the post covid-19 era; and
- Insurance regulators and operators were encouraged to embrace the cloud technology in storing and safeguarding data, and to ensure a reliable disaster recovery plan for the industry in a cost-efficient manner.
Way Forward for the Insurance Industry Integration
In the coming year, WAMI will continue to make effort toward towards the integration of the insurance industry, consistent with its WAMZ financial sector integration objective. Some of the activities to be carried out in this regard will include at least, two meetings of the WAISA will be conveyed during the year 2021 to allow the regulators of insurance design the programme for the integration of the industry. Furthermore, efforts will be made towards the commencement of a process that would lead to the harmonization of insurance operations in the zone through the development of model rules that will be adopted by Member States.