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Insurers call for Marine Insurance Act

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Insurance companies in the country are calling on the government to enact a law to regulate marine cargo insurance.

According to them even though there is an Insurance Act, the article on the marine cargo insurance does not state a clear cut way on how to deal with non-compliance.

Addressing participants at a week long marine insurance training workshop at Ada, the President of the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), Aretha Duku, explained that the country’s law on marine business does not make insurance for marine cargo compulsory on importers to insure their goods with local insurance companies as it is done in other jurisdictions.

Ms Duku who doubles as the Managing Director of Ghana Union Assurance Company Limited pointed out that the articles on marine insurance inscribed in the Act 724 does not include penalties for people and institutions who fail to comply.

“The law is currently without accompanying sanctions for non-compliance, something sector players believe needed to be addressed for the benefit of the industry and the marine public in particular”. She indicated.

Marine insurance, according to her is popular and very lucrative for the insurance community, the area is one of the least explored in the country.

“Insurance from that category of the market is limited to the few public enterprises and properties in the marine sector, leaving the activities and properties of many private businesses virtually untouched” she lamented.

Ms Duku revealed that the edge for sanctions and a separate Act on the marine sector is part of efforts being pursued by industry players to ensure that insurance covers a larger chunk of the populace.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of National Insurance Commission (NIC), Mr Justice Ofori in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the training workshop hinted that his outfit is working hand in hand with GIA and other partners to review the law so they can include all the necessary clauses including penalties for non-compliance to force people to insure all their marine properties.

He explained further saying “the legal people will tell you that if a law says do ‘A,’ then it must as well tell you the punishments or sanctions you will receive if you do not do ‘A. But as we speak, the law on marine insurance does not do that and I think that does not make it a good law,”

A successful review of the law to include punishments would help deter people and institutions from failing to insure their marine properties and subsequently give more businesses to the dozens of insurance companies operating in the country. The NIC Commissioner said.

Mr Ofori also added that the inclusion of punishments would, therefore, help open up that lucrative aspect of the sector to the local insurance industry and that could translate into higher earnings for companies that would push for deals.

He, thus pledged his outfit’s support for the GIA and it’s partners towards achieving such targets.

The workshop which was sponsored by GIZ, through the Programmes for Sustainable Economic Development (PSED), as part of German development cooperation within Ghana, and the insurance industry is attended by top managers and senior staff will be used to review the current laws.

Source: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

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