One of the boldest expansion initiatives aimed at growing Ghana’s insurance industry commenced yesterday in Accra as a for day training programme for youths seeking to become insurance agents began at the auditorium of the National Insurance Commission. This commences an initiative, being organized by the NIC and the Ghana Insurance College, under which 10,000 tertiary institution and senior high school graduates will be given basic training in insurance, which will make them employable as insurance agents by the various life and non-life (general) insurance companies in the country.
The initiative aims at both providing employment opportunities for the youth and providing skilled manpower for insurance companies to enable them improve on the current mere two percent of Gross Domestic Product penetration rate that the industry has been able to achieve nationwide.
The ongoing training is for the first batch of trainees, drawn from the Greater Accra Region but subsequent training sessions will involve youth from all the other regions of the country. Indeed, the NIC has since the beginning of this year embarked on road trips to the Central, Western, shanti, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions to raise awareness of the programme and attract participants.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ongoing training programme, Ghana’s Commissioner for Insurance, Justice Yaw Ofori, asserted that “these certified persons will serve as an agency recruitment pool for insurers who will only have to train these persons on the company’s products and services.”
Enthused Ofori: “Apart from taking some expense off the books of insurers, and creating employment, we believe that an insurance agent who is equipped with business ethics and market knowledge will sell right, resulting in an increase in public trust which will lead the growth of the industry” He added that “we at the NIC believe that when insurance agents are trained right, mis-selling, defrauding clients and other unethical practices would be greatly curbed.”
Richard Okyere, Director of the Ghana Insurance College, bemoaned the fact that while Africa represents about 13 percent of the world’s population, the continent’s contribution to the world’s premium income is only one percent. He assured that the training will provide participants with the fundamental groundings in the insurance practice and regulation relevant to agency practice although the individual insurance companies that eventually employ them would need to provide company specific training, particularly on their peculiar product lines.
At the end of the training programme trainees will undergo an examination and those that pass will receive certificates in Agency Practice from the GIC. Certificate holders could pursue further courses in insurance to attain chartered insurer status in the near future.
Trainees are being taken through subjects such as principles of insurance, insurance products, claims, insurance contracts and documentation, basics of agency laws, salesmanship and personal development.