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05.04.2004 Business & Finance

Insurance Firms urged to make co-operation a priority.

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Accra April 5, GNA - Dr Samuel Nii-Noi Ashong, Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning, on Monday urged insurance industries to cooperate to enable them to achieve the objective of increased retention capacity.

He said the enhancement of insurance capacity in the West Africa Sub-Region would in turn lead to improved economic growth and increased premium retention in the Sub-Region to the benefit of all.

Dr Ashong said this at the opening of West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) 27th Annual General Meeting and Educational Conference under the theme: "Maximizing Regional Capacity Through Cooperation and Integration."

Dr Ashong said: "It is through cooperation that the West African Insurance Institute (WAII), presently in the Gambia, was set up. It will also be through cooperation that the much heralded West African Gas Pipeline Project would become a reality."

He said there had been a lot of changes in the insurance business since the formation of the Association some 30 years ago, saying: " These changes had been brought about by the proactive stance adopted by the Association." The Minister said through the exchange of personnel among the insurance companies in member-countries, WAICA had propelled the development of insurance market on sound technical grounds.

He said the Annual General Meeting and Educational Conference of the Association was of particular interest because it provided an opportunity to deliberate on issues of common interest that contributed towards the development of the Sub-Region.

Dr Ashong said WAICA's objective of reducing the outflow of foreign exchange from the Region still remained largely unfilled adding that, the flight of premium income from various countries to the developed countries, which negatively affected the balance of payments, must be reversed. He expressed the hope that WAICA would make the Sub-Region proud by positioning itself in readiness to facilitate the realisation of the dream of a dynamic and fully integrated ECOWAS.

The Minister encouraged WAICA to develop the capacity to increasingly underwrite inward insurance businesses to protect companies from bad risks. He said WAICA should also ensure that businesses were of the right quality and would be in accord with protecting companies.

Dr Ashong urged the meeting, which he described as an assemblage of insurance gurus, to remedy the situation to ensure that the re-insurance segment of the market took a giant leap forward.

Mr Solomon Samba, Chief Executive Officer of Aureal Insurance Company, Sierra Leone and the immediate past President of the Association said WAICA's primary aim and objective was to encourage the development of the insurance market in each member-country.

He said the Association also encouraged and facilitated exchange of data and experience among member-companies.

Mr Samson Nuamah, President of WAICA, said the Association would continue to move towards the achievement of their goals and help improve the economic situation in the West Africa.

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