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The negative perception of insurance companies in Africa

06.09.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Derived from the law of large numbers which consists for several individuals in the mutualisation of their interests of such sign that all face the same risks, the same probability of realization of the said risk (disaster) and to the same distribution of probabilities of the damages in In the event of the occurrence of the accident, the insurance business appears today as a vital force for development in terms of investment and job creation. Consisting of several branches that have made them a major stake for the economic development of nations elsewhere, the bitter finding is that insurance still struggling to prevail in Africa as a real solution for anticipating and resorption of certain difficulties.

Modeled on a probability model that makes the repair depends on the occurrence of an uncertain event (the hazard), the insurance, despite the denial observed on the African continent, nevertheless gradually invite themselves to the table of discussions. Notwithstanding its acceptance by some countries of the continent such as South Africa which alone accumulates nearly 1% of the penetration rate on the continent, the insurance business is struggling to attract the interest and the wallet. African. Its penetration rate which is of the order of less than 3% only while the world average is a little over 6% is more than illustrative. This situation, although regrettable, and which does not take into account the incursions of some small unauthorized insurers, can be explained by several essential factors such as the deficit of culture of the insurance on the continent or the bad reputation backed up clumsily insurance companies.

A lack of insurance culture in Africa

While the African continent is home to 14% of the world’s population, the African insurance market represents only about 1.35% of the total premiums subscribed worldwide. This situation is primarily due to the non-incorporation, in their mores, of the insurance business by Africans. For many Africans still today, the only form of mutualisation of interests that can be accepted is that linked to the socio-cultural factors built around the traditional solidarity that has always animated them. This traditional solidarity is based on the principle of proximity to tontines or reciprocal gifts. Through this method of spreading the risk, some Africans, they say, have the impression of feeling closer to the other mutualists and the contributions that are issued. And, whenever the disaster or random event occurs, for them the speed is almost immediately; in addition to the fact that no questionnaire of declaration of said disaster containing a battery of often incomprehensible questions is required for the circumstance.

The cultural deficit on the principle of insurance on the African continent also derives from the barriers to the economy. In this wake, many argue that insurance is a luxury good. The supply of insurance products, despite all the efforts made by insurers, has often appeared inadequate in relation to the realities of local populations. To remedy this, several insurers have considered possible solutions. For example, a health insurance scheme has been set up in several insurance companies in Cameroon where policyholders, mostly people on the average stock market, are asked to pay an affordable premium for all at the rate of one hundred (10) CFA francs per day. This development contrasts with the fact that many still do not understand the term “franchise” which is very often inserted in this type of contract. In these types of contracts, hospital training, in this case clinics, tends to increase the cost of care when the patient presents himself with a management slip issued by an insurer. Any situation that will have an influence on the scholarship of the beneficiary beneficiaries; the contracts cover them while 80% of hospitalization costs with a deductible of 20% remained the responsibility of the insured. This situation leads some patients to have the feeling that insurers are plotting with doctors approved by them for this 20% deductible to be extended to the maximum. The ceiling rule usually also causes this nonculture.

A bad reputation of insurance companies

The idea widely held by the African public is that insurers are there to make money on their backs. If the idea is not totally true, it has at least the merit of ensuring that insurers are as hated as bankers on the continent. Insured people, for example, tend to be wary of the effect of the payment of the contributory premium without the company’s timely repairing their claim. The latter also point an accusing finger at the slowness observed in the repair of claims. These past misadventures, as far as the CIMA zone is concerned, have all been repaired with the rewriting of Articles 12 et seq. Of the CIMA Code, but this does not completely restore the image of the insurance companies. Still others, having paid their premium on their first subscription, refuse to understand that they are being asked for a new term payment for the renewal of the contract even though they had not experienced any claims on expiry of the first contract. At this level, the most commonly recorded complaints revolve around a certain type of sentence constructed by expressions such as: “I contributed for nothing and you appropriated all my money while I did not know no accident “.

Another situation imposes the questioning of this preconceived idea about the functioning of insurance in Africa. In the context of automobile insurance for example, many who have only subscribed to third-party liability insurance, which is the one required in most of the countries of the continent, would in return benefit from other guarantees such as all risks, the assistance to the repair or the defense / recourse, under the fallacious pretext that the sum by them to disburse should be used to cover all these guarantees.

In the context of bank loans where insurance is generally mandatory since the advent of bank assurance, some have the impression of being scammed because, forced to subscribe to this policy if they want to benefit from the loan. In the end, many of them do not understand the fact of finding themselves repaying all the credit contracted without any help from the insurer, even though the contract clearly states that the insurer cannot come into play. That in the case of death legally establish. When the insured person dies, for example, while he was already in litigation, i.e. when he has accumulated an outstanding amount, the same guarantee of the insurer no longer has any effect. The rights holders do not then understand these subtle games contractual clauses that only guarantee the intervention of the insurer when the insured would have died while his credit would still be normal repayment.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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