IPEC commends Zim-Selector’s journalists insurance reporting mentoring programme

IPEC commends Zim-Selector’s journalists insurance reporting mentoring programme

Insurance24

HARARE, The Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) says the insurance sector has for long been ignored an mystified because its a specialised discipline that has not been adequately explained to the public.

At a inaugural graduation ceremony of journalists who undergone the Zimselctor.com insurance reporting mentoring programme IPEC Commissioner Tendai Karonga said this is compounded and exacerbated by the fact that our institutions of learning give this critical area of endeavour a cursory mention.

“I am delighted and my desire is to see the media playing its role of educating and informing members of the public properly about insurance and pensions business and the related benefits of risk mitigation and old age poverty reduction,” he said.

Comm Karonga said the programme is critical in light of the fact that insurance and pension matters are highly technical, not just to journalists but in general across all professional disciplines.

“It goes without saying that the insurance and pension industry is a technical pool that some journalists would not dare swim in because their training curriculum excluded insurance matters.
“For those who are daring, some of them found solace in regurgitating or reproducing reports from the insurance and pensions industry without subjecting the information to any meaningful analysis, without interrogating the data – so to speak.

“Zim- Selector deserves not only our appreciation as IPEC, but of the nation as a whole. That ZimSelector identified the information gap and introduced this training programme is highly commendable.  As I said before, this programme definitely equips journalists with a better understandingof insurance and pensions issues.
Meanwhile, below is the full speech presented by Commissioner Karonga  

Opening Remarks

It’s my great honour and priviledge to join you today as Guest of Honour at this inaugural graduation ceremony of journalists who have undergone the insurance reporting mentoring programme. The first ever such programme in this country.
I am particularly delighted to be part of this momentous occasion because my desire is to see the media playing its role of educating and informing members of the public properly about insurance and pensions business and the related benefits of risk mitigation and old age poverty reduction.

 

Public Perception of Insurance

What sort of image is conjured up by the mention of insurance?

Here are some examples from the public:

  • insurance is a gamble.
  • insurance is really not necessary i am a careful driver but they force us to take third party insurance.
  • insurance companies are crooks. They are always trying to avoid claims.
  • this story that you must cover this risk or that one is a gigantic trick by insurers to take our money or exploit us.
  • Pension funds – oh they are there to benefit management not the member of the pension fund.
  • I am better off spending my money now than to wait 30 or 40years only to be told there is no money or to discover that the replacement ratio is less than 10% of my earnings or of the poverty datum figure. What kind of a pension is that?

 

But guess what

Insurance is a discipline governed by established principles and is inter-disciplinary.

 

Law

  • The insurance contract defines the limits of insurance cover your premium purchases.
  • Claims processing

Mathematics/Statistics

Risk probabilities are estimated.

Actuarial

  • Rating and underwriting
  • Risk management
  • Reserving
  • Product development

 

Marketing/Economics

Business acquisition and distribution

 

Accounting

  • Performance/ profit and loss
  • On-going concern

ICT

Information processing

Audit

Systems, procedures and control systems

So insurance is just like any other business concern then why is it not understood by the public?

 

BECAUSE it’s a specialised discipline that has not been adequately explained to the public.  It has been ignored and then mystified.  This is compounded and exacerbated by the fact that our institutions of learning give this critical area of endeavour a cursory mention.

So of what use is this insurance business to us.  How does it affect us?

  • Capital formation

66% of institutional investors on the stock exchange are insurance companies and pension funds.

  • Real estate investment

Over 80% of all property investments are done by insurance companies and pensions funds.

  • Prescribed assets

These drive investments made by insurance companies and pension funds into national developments.  Investments into infrastructural projects such as roads, bridges, energy, rail, water, irrigation and other projects of national importance are developed from these prescribed assets.

  • Bank deposits

40% of all bank deposits come from insurance companies and pension funds.

 

  • Risk management

Insurance provides security for productivity at the manufacturing or service levels and personal peace of mind at the individual level.

As insurance journalists your major task would be to inform the public (public means everyone from individual to institutions) about both the POSITIVE and NEGATIVE issues in the insurance and pensions industry without fear or favour.  As journalists you already know what your role in society is – I am sure journalism colleges and schools make sure you understand this.

So your task is to demystify insurance and pensions mysteries.

Words of appreciation to ZimSelector

Having briefly outlined the challenge facing insurance journalists, I now wish to turn to ZimSelector.

I want to express my deepest appreciation to ZimSelector for initiating this Insurance Reporting Mentorship Programme. I am certain this programme will equip journalists to come up with informed articles about insurance and pensions matters.

The programme is critical in light of the fact that insurance and pension matters are highly technical, not just to journalists but in general across all professional disciplines. It goes without saying that the insurance and pension industry is a technical pool that some journalists would not dare swim in because their training curriculum excluded insurance matters.

For those who are daring, some of them found solace in regurgitating or reproducing reports from the insurance and pensions industry without subjecting the information to any meaningful analysis, without interrogating the data – so to speak.

Zim- Selector deserves not only our appreciation as IPEC, but of the nation as a whole. That ZimSelector identified the information gap and introduced this training programme is highly commendable.  As I said before, this programme definitely equips journalists with a better understanding of insurance and pensions issues.

May I, therefore, take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Mr. Luke Ngwerume for this initiative.  I also wish to confirm that IPEC will take over the administration of the programme from next month.

 

Impact of the Training Programme
Whilst it may be too early to measure the impact of the mentorship programme on the quality of reporting on insurance and pension matters, I must acknowledge that IPEC has already witnessed increased interest in insurance and pension matters, which was absent in the past.

It goes without saying that the industry and the public will measure reporting standards on insurance and pensions matters by the quality and nature of reports produced.  IPEC will also keenly follow progress to judge the impact of our programme.

Message to the Graduands

To the graduating journalists, my main message is that you are the custodians of information in our society. Your opinions, level of knowledge and professionalism shape the national discourse. Thank you for taking the initiative to equip yourselves with knowledge that will enable you to share important information on insurance with the citizenry.

Your contributions will impact on the ability of the country, not only to develop repositories of knowledge about the benefits of insurance and pensions, but will contribute to improved understanding of consumer’s rights, their protection through enhanced financial literacy, increased financial inclusion, the broadening and deepening of the financial services industry for national economic development.

Once again, I want to congratulate you for enrolling on this course so that you are able to participate in demystifying this technical subject of insurance and pensions.  The confusion and lack of understanding is so pervasive in our society to the detriment of both the individuals and the economy as a whole. IPEC congratulates you on your fine achievement.

Message to Insurance Companies

Director of Ceremonies, allow me to express my sincere appreciation to various insurance companies for their participation in this inaugural process and their invaluable support for this important endeavour.  I think mentioning them is very much in order.  These are Old Mutual – Life, Old Mutual – Insurance, NICOZ Diamond, Zimnat Life, Fidelity Life and Cimas Medical Aid.

Thank you for facilitating the education of the custodians of information and equipping them with the necessary skills to understand and help in conveying this knowledge to society. Thank you for supporting ZimSelector in this noble quest.

The participation of insurance companies is a clear commitment to advance the financial inclusion agenda through the technology-driven provision of insurance products that are priced competitively. This is well in line with IPEC’s desire and commitment for more transparency on product design and their pricing.


IPEC’s pledged support

On behalf of the Insurance and Pensions Commission, I wish to pledge IPEC’s continued support to this noble cause. IPEC is now going to financially support this mentorship program this year but will be working with the ZimSelector as partners. To my colleagues at IPEC, I wish to thank you for supporting this programme, which resonates well with the vision and mission of the organisation, as well as the national financial inclusion agenda, through improved financial literacy and protection.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, I wish to repeat my appreciation to the ZimSelector, for their creativity and ingenuity in establishing Zimbabwe’s first and only online platform for insurance knowledge dissemination.  The platform allows customers to shop around for insurance products at their convenience, whether locally-based or in the diaspora.
Thank you for participating in the journey to break down the aura of mystery surrounding insurance companies. Yours is a unique story, which demonstrates your determination to create a positive impact on the insurance sector.
Often one reads and hears about nimble, creative and brave organisations, which make a telling impact on sectors and markets, you epitomize this reality and the insurance sector, together with the Regulator are deeply indebted to you. The insurance companies are praised for their support and urged to keep alive this spirit of uplifting the insurance industry.

I repeat again, that I congratulate all those that have successfully completed the programme and implore them to view what they have achieved with pride.

 

Thank you.