By Samuel Sanya and David Ssempijja
“Insurance companies are thieves,” was the first response Ronald Zaake, a retired insurance professional, got when people were asked why they shunned insurance. This was during the insurance open day.
“As players in the insurance industry, we need to boost awareness about our business through provision of information,” Zaake said.
Zaake noted that public confidence and appreciation of the insurance industry can only be attained if companies promptly and genuinely settle client claims.
When companies or individuals buy insurance policies, they are required to remit periodical premium (money) to the insurers, in case of risks or losses suffered under given policies, the individuals or firms claim compensation from their insurers.
However, on technical grounds, a claim may not be settled.
“There are challenges of public information flow about insurance, but we are waking up to the same, this explains why the Uganda Insurance Institute (UII) and the Uganda Insurers Association decided to organise regular open days to create platforms for interaction between players and the general public,” Geoffrey Kihuguru UII chairman said.
In a separate event, trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde said, “the insurance sector has a large role to play in risk mitigation but very few Ugandans are aware of its advantages.”
She urged the insurance sector to publicise themselves more so as to facilitate trade sector and quicken economic growth.
Evelyn Nkalubo Muwemba, the IRA director legal and compliance said: “Insurance companies that do not settle claims on time have no place in Uganda’s insurance sector,” she said.
The average time to settle claims has gradually dropped to under three weeks.
Players have agreed to overlook Police reports in instances where medical and other reports can be used to back up claims to speed up settlement.
Insurance penetration is currently at 0.65% of Gross Domestic Product lagging behind other East African states like; Rwanda at 2.3%, Kenya’s penetration is 2.76% and Tanzania is at 2.2%.
The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has started countrywide awareness campaigns and has translated policies into local languages to drive penetration to 1% in the short term.