By Ogunbo Olalekan
The Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, said the National Insurance Commission(NAICOM) partnered the National Insurance Commission(NIC), Ghana; Central Bank of Liberia(CBL), Liberia, Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission, the Central Bank of Gambia, to increase insurance supervision across the partnering countries.
Speaking at the signing ceremony which took place in Abuja, Kari said such partnership will not only strengthen insurance supervision through information sharing, but also ensure that the country and the continent conform with the International Association of Insurance Supervision (IAIS) principles.
The MoU, according to Kari, underlines NAICOM’s goal to build effective working relationships with regulators in the West African region and beyond.
Expressing optimism that the collaboration would greatly enhance the cross-border supervision among the member countries, he noted that insurance, in most countries on the continent, is characterised by low penetration, thus, leading to poor contribution to the African financial growth.
Therefore, he said, maintaining efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance market in the West African region should and must be promoted for the benefit of the policy holders.
Kari stressed that the MoU would assist the partnering agencies to effectively communicate with each other in addressing such fraud across jurisdictions in compliance with Financial Action Task Force recommendation on Anti-Money Laundering.
According to Kari, “We look forward to our mutual assistance in the promotion of international standards to foster favourable investment environment and orderly markets in West Africa.’’
Speaking in the same vein, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, said there was 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,” she pointed out.
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. The Commissioner of Insurance, Ghana, Miss Lydia Bawa, noted that the member countries must all strive to ensure that the objectives set out in the collaboration are achieved.
Timely provision of the information on the financial position, compliance with the rules on solvency, risk concentration and intra-group transactions among other things, she said, would facilitate group-wide supervision.
To her, 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 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 noted.