By FRANK MUKUPA
THE insurance industry has recorded an increasing number of complaints, raising concern among industry players and the regulator.
Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) Registrar, Christopher Mapani, said his organisation was concerned over increasing complaints over delays in settling claims.
Mr Mapani noted that insurance policyholders had been complaining about delays in settlement of claims.
He was speaking at a Kenya re-networking cocktail in Lusaka on Wednesday evening.
“I am calling on the insurance industry to introspect over the complaints relating to delays in payment of claims. The complaints on delays in payment of claims are increasing and this is a source of worry for us as regulator,” Mr Mapani said.
He also expressed concern over the low insurance uptake which he attributed to low insurance awareness and misconception that insurance was just for motor vehicles.
w “The low uptake is also as a result of the delays in payment of claims. We need to address all these issues and unlock the potential in the insurance industry,” he said.
Mr Mapani stated that PIA’s vision was to have an insurance industry that contributed significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Growth. He said the insurance industry should be able to create jobs and enhance risk management.
“Going forward, we also expect all insurance companies to be financially sound with capacity to pay claims promptly and underwrite mega risks,” he said.
He further said PIA was repositioning itself in the industry for enhanced service delivery in the financial sector.
“The Authority has been restructured to address some of the challenges that we have noted in the industry. The restructuring will now help us focus on the key areas, which include prudential supervision, market conduct and market development.
“We will also endeavour to use our quasi-judicial powers judiciously in order to protect the interests of insurance policyholders,” Mr Mapani said.
He noted that the insurance industry was critical in helping individuals and businesses to cope with risks and was also an important financial intermediary.
Mr Mapani also disclosed that PIA was working with the Ministry of Finance to strengthen reinsurance in Zambia.
“We are working with the Ministry of Finance on building capacity of reinsurers in Zambia through legislative changes which have been proposed in the Insurance Bill.
“The changes among other things will help to stem the externalisation of premiums which deprive the country of the much needed resources through taxes, opportunities and job creation,” he said.