Movers and shakers of the local insurance industry have hailed the formation of Insurance Institute of Botswana, saying it has been long overdue. The institute was launched in Gaborone this week.
The Managing Director of Bramer Life Botswana Regina Sikalesele–Vaka expressed relief that finally a regulatory body within the insurance industry has been established. According to Vaka, the industry has for a long time operated without such body despite the need for one, hence at times there was a bit of mix-up which could have under normal circumstances been easily fixed.
Though she acknowledged the presence of the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) as an oversight regulatory body to the Insurance industry, she was of the view that it had its limitations. “As an oversight regulatory body, NBFIRA sometimes misses irregularities taking place within the industry; having our own body in addition will not only strengthen relations with government but will promote efficiency and transparency,” said Vaka.
The chairperson of Botswana Short-term Insurance Underwriters Association, Douglas Heldsinger also hailed the move to establish the institute as a positive one. Though he acknowledged that the move will require a bit of financial assistance from members in the industry in order to be fully established and effective, Heldsinger was of the view that the results will definitely surpass the efforts invested into it. “It is not the cost of establishing the institution that people should be worried about but rather the cost of not establishing one that have more damaging implications," he said.
According to Dzigi Nganunu, the former Managing Director of Botswana Insurance Company who also sits in the Institute’s steering committee, the institute is complimentary to other existing insurance bodies and will revitalise the local industry. He indicated that the local steering committee benchmarked with countries such as South Africa and Mauritius who have existing Insurance institutes and have a higher insurance market penetration than Botswana.