The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some Anglophone countries to strengthen cross border insurance supervision in West African countries.
The Commissioner for Insurance, NAICOM, Mr Mohammed Kari, at the signing on Thursday in Abuja, said the insurance supervision would be strengthened through information sharing and mutual cooperation.
Kari further said it was in conformity with the International Association of Insurance Supervision (IAIS) principles.
The collaborating countries are the National Insurance Commission, Ghana; Central Bank of Liberia, Sierra-Leon Insurance Commission, the Central Bank of Gambia and NAICOM.
According to Kari, the MoU underlines NAICOM’s goal to build effective working relationships with regulators in the West African region and beyond.
He expressed optimism that the collaboration would greatly enhance the cross-border supervision among the member countries.
“Insurance in the whole of Africa has been characterised by low penetration and poor contribution to the African financial growth in most countries,” he said. “Therefore, maintaining efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance market in the West African region must be promoted for the benefit of the policy holders.
“The MoU will help us to effectively communicate with each other in addressing such fraud across jurisdictions in compliance with Financial Action Task Force recommendation on Anti-Money Laundering. We look forward to our mutual assistance in the promotion of international standards to foster favourable investment environment and orderly markets in West Africa.”
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, stressed the need for continued collaboration, to achieve more stable international economic and financial system.
“It is heartening to see that the West African Insurance Regulators have recognised the need to come together to examine possible ways to collaborate and develop harmonised regulatory standards. The West African Insurance Supervisors Association is therefore vital, because of our rapidly integrating insurance industry and the growing practice of our insurance companies operating across regional and international boundaries.’’
Daniel- Nwaobia, who was represented by the Director, Home Finance in the ministry, Mr Kalli Zaji, assured the member countries of Nigeria’s support toward achieving the set objectives.
Miss Lydia Bawa, Commissioner of Insurance, Ghana, said that the member countries must all strive to ensure that the objectives set out in the collaboration were achieved.
“The timely provision of the information on the financial position, compliance with the rules on solvency, risk concentration and intra-group transactions among other things, would facilitate group-wide supervision,” he said. “Individually all regulatory authorities will save time and cost and avoid duplication of efforts in achieving our respective supervisory goals, thereby channeling resources to other areas.
Bawa said that the Gambia and Liberia had not gained autonomy from their respective central banks and called on the countries to use the opportunity provided by the MoU to be independent of their central banks.
“We believe that when this autonomy is granted, it will lead to an effective execution of their supervisory mandates,’’ she said.
She urged the members to be mindful of their individual and collective weaknesses, to offer the necessary assistance required to achieve the expected goals.
The Commissioner of Insurance, Sierra-Leone, Mr Augustus Kanu, in his address, expressed joy at the collaboration and assured of his country’s commitment towards achieving the set objectives.
He commended the efforts by NAICOM towards ensuring the growth and development of the insurance industry in Seirra-Leone.