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Equity Assurance opens Ghanaian subsidiary


Equity Assurance has opened its operations in Ghana to become one of Nigerian companies with subsidiaries in the West African country.


The Ghana office makes the company the second insurance firm with Nigerian parentage in Ghana in the last six months.


Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) last December completed the take-over of Network Assurance Ghana, signalling a trend in Ghanaian insurance industry that observers say will continue following the success of the consolidation exercise in Nigeria’s insurance industry.


The Ghana subsidiary of Equity Assurance begins operation following its acquisition of operating licence in February.


According to the chief operations officer of the company, Ishola Akintunde, the three months after the licence was granted were used to fine-tune operational modalities and ensure that the right infrastructure is put in place for a smooth take-off.


Akintunde assured Ghanaians of the readiness of the company to take the business of insurance to a new height in the country. He said the company had pooled together a team of seasoned industry experts to ensure success.


Equity’s entrance, according to him, does not threaten the operations of existing companies, noting that there are enough businesses for all approved companies to do business in the country.


Akintunde has called on the National Insurance Commission of Ghana to consider a consolidation exercise in the future as the $1 million minimum capital base set for operators iin the country is still small considering the risk they stand to shoulder with the steady growth of the economy.


“If we aspire to rank with our counterparts in the developed economies of the world, we need to constantly upgrade. For the industry to underwrite large risks such as aviation, energy, oil and gas and the like, it needs more than the $1 million. After all, no serious company can be started with just that capital base as of today in Ghana,” he said.


Established in 1991 to underwrite all classes of general business, Equity Assurance Group is a corporate member of the West African Insurance Company Association (WAICA) and the Nigeria Insurers’Association (NIA), the official umbrella of registered insurance companies in Nigeria, as well as The Africa Insurance Organisation (AIO).


In its present state, many insurance companies have lacked the wherewithal to underwrite sizable deals. Experts concur that more capital won’t solve all the problems plaguing the industry.


Beyond simply raising the capital base, some experts say the country’s financial institutions, whether banks or insurance companies, need to be far-sighted to identify emerging opportunities in the economy. They agree that at the moment, there are endemic problems operational sluggishness, managerial incompetence, perennial complacency and low customer service standard that confront the industry.


“Increased capital base might not fix all that, but at least it could translate into stronger ability to tackle this malady and help support national development effort as well as implement technological innovations in their operations” an industry analyst said.


With Ghana’s new oil find, some say the need to raise the operational capital in the industry is now more apparent than ever. - BusinessDay

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