Only one per cent of the 37 million population of Ghana are insured, a figure that industry experts have described as disturbing, given the benefits of insurance in every economy.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day insurance fair in Accra yesterday, the Second Vice-President of the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), Mabel Nana Nyarkoa Porbley, expressed concern about the low penetration rate of insurance in the country and called on Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of securing their lives and properties through insurance.
Mrs Porbley, who is also the Managing Director of Sanlam Insurance, said: “This means that very few people are basically buying insurance, but if we understand what insurance does for the ordinary person, we should see a penetration around a minimum of 10 to 15 per cent”.
Citing the June 3, 2015, flood and fire disaster in Accra that claimed more than 150 lives as an example, Mrs Porbley said GH¢34 million claims were paid to victims who were insured.
She added that the rest of the victims became a burden to their families and the government.
She said insurance companies in Ghana paid GH¢4.5 million claims daily, stressing that “this is a clear picture of what we stand to benefit when we buy insurance.
Insurance takes away the challenge of restarting your business after a mess-up such as a fire or a flood”.
She attributed the development to the fact that people did not understand the value of insurance but rather dwelt on the perception that they were investing their money in what was not practical.
The National Insurance Fair is being organised by the Graphic Business, a brand of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) stable, in collaboration with the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA) on the theme: “Making Insurance the Ghanaian Way of Life”.
Mrs Porbley said the fair was to showcase services and products in the insurance sector, as well as to encourage Ghanaians to embrace insurance as their form of protection and backbone for unforeseen situations in the future.
She said the GIA aimed to propagate the insurance message to every part of the country, hence the collaboration with GCGL.
“This fair is not about GIA, neither is it about Graphic; it is about the people representing the various sectors of the economy and communities for whom insurance is critical and should be an integral part of their daily lives,” she added.
She explained that “the main feature of insurance is its ability to address the various life and business challenges that confronted the individual and organisations”.
The Managing Director of GCGL, Ato Afful, said the mandate of the company was to ensure that information and knowledge permeated everywhere in the country.
He said the partnership with the Ghana Insurance Association was, therefore, aimed at ensuring that the relevant information from the sector was spread accurately to inform the public on the available packages in the insurance industry.
Mr Afful further gave the assurance that the GCGL would continue to partner the GIA to spread the news of the importance of insurance to the socio-economic growth of the citizenry.
The Ag. Commissioner of Insurance at the National Insurance Commission, Michael Kofi Andoh, commended the association and the GCGL for the initiative to make insurance a priority in Ghana.
He expressed the hope that the participating companies would actively exhibit insurance and bring their knowledge to the fore.
Clarifying the perception about companies not paying insurance claims, Mr Andoh, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said most insurance companies paid millions of Ghana cedis daily as claims to customers.
He, however, said some of the claims delayed because of processes that could sometimes be cumbersome but were necessary to authenticate the claims to ensure that they were genuine.
He added that it was important to constantly educate the people on the difference between insurance and savings to break down the negative perception of insurance.
Some of the exhibitors who spoke with the Daily Graphic expressed the hope that the fair would help increase the interest of the public in their activities and products.
Sixteen insurance companies are exhibiting their products at the fair.
They include Enterprise Insurance, Vanguard Insurance, SIC Insurance PLC, Prudential Life Insurance, Ghana Millennium Insurance, and SUNU Insurance.
The rest are Donewell Insurance, Donewell Life, Activa International Insurance, Holland Insurance Life, Willis Towers Watson, Allianz Insurance, Star Assurance, StarLife, SIC Life, and GLiCO.