20 September 2015, Abuja – Insurance regulators in West African sub-region have entered into a Multi-Lateral Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cross border insurance supervision.
The MMoU was signed by insurance regulators in West Africa comprising the Nigeria’s National Insurance Commission (NAICOM); National Insurance Commission Ghana, Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission, Central Bank of Liberia and the Central Bank of Gambia.
Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony at the NAICOM headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s Commissioner for Insurance and CEO NAICOM Alhaji Mohammed Kari said the objective of the MMoU is to “formalize the relationship among the parties in strengthening cross border insurance supervision through information sharing, mutual cooperation, which is in conformity with International Association of Insurance Supervision (IAIS) principles.”
According to him, “since the regulators are active members of AIO and some are also members of IAIS which emphasizes the importance of these type of arrangements for cooperation and information sharing.”
He noted that the MMoU underscores NAICOM’s goal to build effective working relationships with regulators in the West African region and beyond.
Alhaji Kari also noted that “the importance of this agreement is further buttressed by the fact that NAICOM is the home regulator of many subsidiary insurance companies authorized by Ghana, Liberia, Sierra-Leone and the Gambia to conduct insurance business. The increased activities of these Nigerian insurace companies in West Africa make the National Insurance Commission Ghana, Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission, Central Bank of Liberia and the Central Bank of Gambia our important regulator allies.”
“With the signing of the MMoU, the cross-border supervision among Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone and the Gambia will now be greatly enhanced. Thus, we look forward to mutual assistance in the promotion of international standards to foster favourable investment environments and orderly markets in West Africa,” the NAICOM CEO said.
“The MMoU will also help us to effectively communicate with each other in addressing such fraud across jurisdictions in compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FACTF) recommendations on anti-money laundering,” he said.
Insurance in the whole of Africa has been characterized by low penetration and poor contribution to the African financial growth in most countries, therefore maintaining efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance market in the West African region must be promoted for the benefit of the policy holders,” he said.
Speaking separately at the event, the Commissioner for Insurance Ghana Lydia Bawa and the Commissioner of Insurance Sierra-Leone Mr. Augustus Kanu agreed that the MMoU will bring the regulators in West Africa closer and provide the opportunities to harmonize regulatory efforts among member countries.
The permanent secretary Nigeria’s federal Ministry of Finance Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia said the ministry will give its full support to the objective of the association.
Represented by the Director, Home Finance, Alhaji Kalli Zaji, the permanent secretary said the association is vital because of the rapidly integrating insurance industry and the growing practice of our insurance companies operating across regional and international boundaries.
*Chris Agabi – Daily Trust