BUJUMBURA August 1st (ABP) – The Prime Minister of the Republic of Burundi Mr. Alain Guillaume Bunyoni proceeded Thursday, July 28, 2022 in Bujumbura, to the solemn opening of the first edition of the week dedicated to insurance in Burundi.
In his occasional speech, the Prime Minister said that this activity is taking place at a time when the insurance sector is booming. Indeed, he added, an assessment of the Burundian financial sector carried out in 2009 had identified a number of shortcomings in Burundi’s insurance sector. He further specified that the government of Burundi, in its financial sector development strategy for 2011-2017, envisaged a series of insurance reforms, in particular the modernization and opening of the insurance market, the urgent revitalization of the insurance supervision and control body created in 2011, the reform of the legal and regulatory texts governing that sector as well as the establishment of a specific accounting plan for insurance which was non-existent.
He also indicated that the government had set itself three operational objectives, namely the promotion of the sector through the restructuring of national companies and the development of new products, the opening of the market to foreign companies as well as the regulation of activity of insurance intermediaries. There is also the strengthening of the technical capacities of market players and the strengthening of the control of insurance companies through the effective operationalization of the Insurance Regulation and Control Agency (ARCA).
According to Mr. Bunyoni, there is reason to affirm that those objectives have been achieved. Indeed, he continued, the operationalization of the (ARCA) was effective from the year 2013, when the government of Burundi provided it with the necessary means to equip it to properly assume its assignments. He specified that the ARCA has carried out since 2014 documentary and on-site checks of the actors of the sector and published annual reports of the insurance sector which gives a picture of the insurance industry in Burundi. Since 2017, she has also been investigating cases of complaints and litigation by victims, policyholders or beneficiaries of insurance against insurance companies for non-payment of compensation, complaints by brokers against insurance companies for non-payment of commissions and complaints by insurers against others for non-reimbursement of recourse files. These cases are mostly closed to the satisfaction of the complainants, he explained.
Mr. Bunyoni pointed out that during awareness campaigns on insurance carried out by ARCA in recent times throughout the country, the Burundians have issued certain recommendations to insurers such as decentralizing the services of insurance companies to be with the public and contribute to the education of the people on insurance.
According to him, that activity meets the wishes of the people and it should be organized within the country so that the rural population is also informed about the various insurance products available and can insure themselves against the risks.
It would also be necessary for those insurance company agencies to be established in the various communes and provinces of the country to reduce the expenses of the population, who are now obliged to travel to their head offices to subscribe to insurance contracts, declare a claim, claim the compensation due, file a summons and so on.
That is how he took the opportunity to remind insurers that the promotion of the insurance sector also necessarily involves compliance with insurance regulations. “I especially encourage them to comply with the provisions relating to solvency, to the coverage of regulated commitments and to the payment of claims within the legal deadlines, not only so as not to be exposed to sanctions but also and above all to improve the financial health of the businesses, he said. Note be forgotten that the payment of claims on time will also positively influence the image that the people have of insurers and build trust between insurers and insured, he added.
Through a word of welcome pronounced, shortly before the official opening, the mayor of the city of Bujumbura Mr. Jimmy Hatungimana indicated that this event of national scope is being held at a time when the Burundian population is very little aware of risk insurance.
Most people are only familiar with motor vehicle civil liability insurance, which is compulsory and are unaware of the other life and non-life insurance products sold by insurance companies operating in Burundi. He hopes that the activities of the week dedicated to insurance in Burundi will be a good opportunity for insurers to get closer to the general public, to make their profession known, to improve the image that Burundians have of insurance and to get them to take out insurance to protect themselves against risks, protect their families and their assets. This situation will contribute to the well-being of households and therefore to the economic development of the country, he said.
Note that the activities of the week dedicated to insurance in Burundi will be held under the theme: “The socio-economic role of insurance”.