“The consumer trust level on the insurance sector needs to be enhanced for it to grow. Trust within the business space where AGCS Africa operates is slightly better as businesses understand the value of insurance a lot more than individual consumers. I encourage the industry to be more open and transparent with clients and more importantly to pay legitimate claims,” says Maïdou, who is originally from Burkina Faso.
The fact that close to 70% of the population in Zimbabwe is not insured presents a good opportunity for insurers. “The provision of micro insurance solutions needs to be broadened through trusted stakeholder models to insure more individuals and businesses are insured. For this to work, the sector needs to use alternative distribution channels such as mobile technology, retailers and banks,” she states.
The skills shortage especially within the corporate and industrial sector continues to be a challenge. “We need to encourage the highly skilled and experienced diaspora to return to Zimbabwe while up-skilling the youth through organizations such as IIZ to meet market demands. There are no quick fixes. We are working closely with the sector in Zimbabwe and the continent to create awareness about the value and purpose of insurance,” expounds Maïdou, who is also president of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA).
The legal and regulatory systems may sometimes be a hindrance to the growth of the sector. For example, some countries still allow non-admitted insurance in their jurisdiction for large corporate clients doing business in Africa. This means that an insurance company that is “non-admitted” is not regulated in that country and does not contribute to the country fund, which protects policyholders from the bankruptcy risk of its insurance carrier. If the insurance company becomes insolvent, there is no guarantee that the client will be able to get their claims settled as they would have no recourse through the regulator.