Ipec urges insurers to improve penetration rates

Grace Muradzikwa

INSURANCE and Pensions Commission (Ipec) commissioner Grace Muradzikwa says players in the sector should leverage on technology to improve penetration.

Delivering a speech at the Women in Insurance Zimbabwe (WIZ) annual symposium last week, Muradzikwa said insurance penetration rate for Africa was averaging 3%. 

Currently, the insurance penetration ratio in Zimbabwe is 3,6%, which is below Ipec’s expectations.

“As reflected in this year’s theme: Uniting for an empowered African continent what is glaring are the low penetration ratios experienced in Africa, said Muradzikwa, who is also WIZ patron.

“It is clear there is a case for WIZ to collaborate to ensure that we have an empowered continent. Empowered with (what we learnt from the) COVID-19 era. We now know there are no boundaries to the networks and business that we can do.”

Muradzikwa said gone were the days of selling traditional insurance “without leveraging on digital platforms and innovation and assessing the changing demographics.”

“We need to adapt to the fast-changing world and leverage technology to achieve efficiencies and improve insurance penetration. For instance, it is a known fact there are more women than men and they are driving the economies,” she said.

“Surprisingly, there are very few products that are tailor made for women. There are opportunities for us to focus on ourselves and develop relevant products, thereby creating blue oceans for ourselves.”

The Ipec boss also urged women to come up with insurance products targeting agriculture, which she described as a low-hanging fruit.

“It is also true that we cannot talk about an empowered continent without talking about food sustainability. Agriculture’s share of insurance is below 3%. Thus, agriculture insurance is a low hanging fruit for all of us as we try to climate proof agriculture and ensure food sustainability,” she said.

“Our efforts should be to encourage relevant products that target vulnerable households. I have every confidence that insurance will not be the same again if we unite to bring the change that we need in this industry.”

WIZ president Ruth Ncube said women have played and continue to play a significant role in the economic and social development within the African continent.

“What is at stake is that we are not visible, not recognised and not rewarded for the hard work we do. We are often viewed as out of place in professional environments, we are subjected to more scrutiny at work than men of the same ranks, which slows down our advancement into senior management positions,” she said.

Despite these challenges, Ncube said women have been a critical element of the workforce since the beginning of time.

“It’s only recently that women's advancement and leadership have become a holy grail for major organisations that want to be seen as open and welcoming places to work. The data is clear that organisations with significant representation of women (and other diverse leadership) on their boards and in their executive suites, regularly out-perform those with more homogenous leadership,” she said.

“Despite the overwhelming data that demonstrate that women are good for business, organisations seeking to support women in leadership roles, not to mention the women themselves, continue to be frustrated by systemic and cultural barriers to success. And yet, many women succeed despite the barriers put in their way.”

Ncube appealed to the government to involve them when formulating its national programmes in gender profiling.

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