If there is one initiative that deserves accolades as far as raising awareness among secondary school pupils is concerned, it is the inter-schools insurance debate.
Therefore, I thought we should highlight it among the 2015 milestones of the industry.
First and foremost congratulations to Ndola Girls Technical School for winning the first prize of the second edition of the inter-schools insurance debate that was held as a curtain raiser to the national insurance week that took place from September 14-18, 2015.
The second prize went to new entrants Dominican Convent while the third was scooped by last year’s winners Fatima Girls Secondary School.
The insurance inter-schools debate saw each participating school walk away with some consolation prizes other than the three prizes.
One would not expect much from pupils on a specialised subject like insurance but this was not the case during this heightened debate.
Ndola District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) representative Stella Chewe commended the insurance industry for such an initiative that has been held in the district for the second year running.
Ms Chewe stressed the need to equip young ones with the vital insurance knowledge which benefits society at large.
She cited the recent fire accident in which former national football team coach Honour Janza’s flat was reduced to ashes as a typical example of the need for insurance.
Insurers Association of Zambia (IAZ) executive director, Christabel Banda applauded the participating schools for responding positively to the debate which was now an annual event.
Ms Banda said IAZ valued the raising of awareness among the youths and added that the association would introduce insurance clubs in secondary schools across the country.
The 2015 inter-schools insurance debate attracted sponsorship from a number of industry players like Liberty Insurance Company that sponsored all the prizes while Insurance Brokers Association of Zambia (IBAZ) represented by its Vice President, Kwenda Kwema co-sponsored the lunch.
Despite the short notice given to participating schools, the debate was frenzied with pupils demystifying that insurance was complicated.
They articulated various motions with some well researched evidence that gave judges a tough time.
The first motion was ‘is the media doing enough to educate the public on insurance.’ This was one of the interesting ones for the opposing school as a number of media houses were present in the debate hall.
The pupils argued that the media was focusing mostly on politics and was not giving much publicity to insurance.
“Members of the auditorium, the media is not doing enough to educate the public on insurance because they have focused more on politics.
Even these debates, instead of covering it for an hour, on say television, they would rather cover politics” remarked one of the debaters as the house went wild.
Another interesting motion saw the host, Ndola Girls Technical and Kansenshi Secondary Schools ably tackle the motion “should fire insurance for homes be made compulsory.”
The third motion saw Fatima Girls take on Chiwala Secondary under the motion ‘Is public liability insurance essential for all businesses’.
One would have expected that this being an unpopular subject, pupils would struggle to bring out points and evidence. This was not the case.
Fatima Girls, for example, who were debating against this motion brought out points such as new technology that necessitates virtual offices where a company does not need to have an office but is able to trade remotely.
They cited examples of buying items via eBay, Amazon, etc. which does not require physical contact with members of the public hence may not need public liability insurance.
The last motion was also an intense one which saw two new participants, Dominican Convent and St. Andrews secondary schools debate on whether the display of insurance discs would benefit the members of the public.
It seemed this would be a difficult motion because the implementation of the display of these discs would commence on January 1 2016.
However the two schools showed that being pupils does not mean they don’t understand or research.
Another interesting aspect of the event was how the pupils were able to suggest insurance solutions to different scenarios being presented by the coordinator. For example one student hit against a chair and was almost falling and the moderator asked the audience what type of insurance was applicable in such a case.
They were able to accurately suggest that public liability and group personal accident could cover such incidents.
Another scenario was in a home set up with father, mother and children staying in their home and had a car.
Pupils were able to suggest appropriate insurance policies such a family could take starting with education for the children, fire insurance for the home and contents, motor insurance for the car, etc.
As we have been advocating on this platform, these pupils would go as messengers of insurance and are likely to make a difference in their families and the nation at large as they now take keen interest in insurance through such debates.
It would be good to see this initiative implemented across the country in the coming year.