NBFIRA calls the insurance industry to order

10 Sep 2018

The Insurance industry has been urged by the regulator Non Bank Financial Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) to comply with existing regulations to avoid closing-shop as well as building trust within its clientele.

The Insurance industry convened this week for its annual conference under the theme ‘Insurance: towards a diversified economy’ in the capital Gaborone.

NBFIRA Deputy Chief Executive officer Sriram Gade, "We are much worried about non compliance. There will always be those not complying, but I warn both the industry players and regulators to always be on the alert to ensure compliance, protect consumers and  investor interests, maintain the market confidence, prevent financial crimes and help consumers make informed decisions.”

The regulatory body has often lately been shutting down local medical aid companies and insurance brokers for non compliance. And not only is the regulator worried about the non compliance but also the mismanagement of funds within the industry, particularly the pension funds. Of late, one of the biggest pension funds in Botswana, Botswana Public Officers Pension Funds (BPOPF) has been marred in controversy of funds embezzlements where even top government officials and prominent figures are allegedly involved.

In addition, Gade said with good board of directors with good governance in place, issues of fraud, mismanagement of funds, scandals could be avoided. He implored the boards to always have excellent strategies in place that best drive their organizations.

NBFIRA regularly conducts inspections as part of the continuous risk based supervision regime in which all licensed insurance entities are subject to routine onsite inspections depending on the findings of the offsite monitoring.

The onsite inspections involve general checks on the entity’s internal controls systems, corporate governance as well as compliance with the relevant rules and regulations.

Insurance Institute of Botswana President, Dziki Nganunu in addition also stressed that professionalism is a common threat to the insurance industry as a whole. “This will limit our penetration and trust within the pension sector. We need to improve on our trust, further facilitate association that deals with local associations that deal with the industry, and coordinate our efforts for the good for our industry.”

He highlighted on the importance of promoting and assisting the advancement of insurance education and knowledge, and generally, to promote any scheme which may tend to raise the standard of the insurance profession in Botswana. NBFIRA currently regulates 24 licensed insurers and reinsurers, nine medical aid companies, 267 intermediaries/agents/brokers.