THE patronage of life insurance products is one of the fastest within the insurance industry, growing at a rate of between 30 and 40 per cent per annum, the Ghana Insurance Association (GIA) has revealed.
Those who take the life policies are according to the Association within the middle income class, comprising teachers, members of the security services and other agencies.
According to a research conducted last year by KPMG, one of Ghana's most respected accounting and business Advisory firms, the Ghanaian life insurance market is consolidated with the top five companies accounting for about 80 per cent share in 2012 (up from 78 per cent in 2011). There were 19 life insurers as at May 2014.
“In 2012, the life insurance gross written premium (GWP) stood at GH¢355.8 million, witnessing a growth of 31.7 per cent (y-o-y),” the research revealed.
The study which was published in July 2014 rated Ghana’s top three life insurers’ performance in 2012 and revealed that SIC Life Insurance collected GH¢100.3 million representing a premium growth of 39 per cent (y-o-y).
Enterprise Life Assurance (ELAC) reported a total premium collection of GH¢89.1 million, representing a growth of 45 per cent (y-o-y) while Glico Life Insurance reported a gross premium of GH¢36 million witnessing 4.65 per cent growth (y-o-y).
“They are taking some of these life policies in addition to other products such as educational policies for their children. Some of them also take credit life insurance where they go to the bank for loans and the banks demand that they insure themselves,” the GIA said.
The impressive growth has been attributed to the aggressiveness of life insurance companies, the Ghanaian’s clamour for financial security and the credibility associated with life insurance products.
“These days everybody wants financial security and indeed financial advisors are today telling their clients to diversify their portfolios so the increased patronage is a result of some enlightenment about the benefits of investing against a rainy day,” says Mr Ivan Avereyireh.
Clients have realized that life insurance is necessary and that it works and “it does work because those who have taken funeral insurance policies have never regretted their decisions due to the relief those policies came with during the time of need.”
The future growth of the life insurance segment is expected to be driven by a large untapped market and an established regulatory framework, which is making Ghana a lucrative market for international players, KPMG said.
Former President of the GIA and Managing Director of Metropolitan Insurance Company Limited, Mr Kwame-Gazo Agbenyadzie in an interview with this paper recalled how unattractive the life insurance industry was, back in 1994 when the types of products on offer were not well suited for the market, coupled with a runaway inflation and escalating interest rates which were virtually eroding gains made on investments.
“At that time, if you bought a policy for five years or 10 years, by the time you go for your money, the money you spent on transportation will be more than the sum insured,” he recalled.
With the introduction of an array of interest-sensitive, investment- oriented and life protecting products by Metropolitan Insurance Company, the market went gay as other players caught up.
Further, Mr Agbenyadzie attributed the impressive growth in the life market to the fact that “companies are coming up with products which are very relevant to the needs of clients and the insuring public at large.”
He cited the example of the ELAC funeral policy and how it was crafted and marketed, noting that the policy had served the interests of those Ghanaians who had a lot do with funerals.
“We have policies which are now very responsive to the needs of the people,” he stated.
Life insurance is the branch of insurance that deals with live and its exigencies and most insurance companies have been involved in underwriting it for a while now.
New life products which are investment linked and which have been introduced onto the market have attracted quite substantial life proposers.
Life policies have several uses. They can be used to supplement one's pension on retirement and can also be used as an alternative to provident funds and superannuation schemes.
The life sector of insurance has been experiencing a steady rise in premium income. The increasing growth in the life sector is an indication that the insuring public has welcomed the innovation in the product design introduced into the market by life underwriters.
Life insurance develops in an environment of economic stability and prosperity. Governments must therefore pursue policies that encourage macroeconomic stability and increase disposable incomes.
The development of life insurance hinges on the economy of the nation, the economy needs to grow, create employment opportunities and enhance per capita income.
Source: The Finder
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