BY STAFF REPORTER
THE insurance and pensions industry in Zimbabwe has been on the negative publicity owing to client’s dissatisfaction with their services to which most termed poor and for some it was a ‘crockery’ franchise.
It is a known fact that the coming of the Corona Virus Disease placed much pressure on the funeral assurance companies worldwide as millions of people died in a small space of time. No company had prepared for such a tragedy.
The Zimbabwean situationwas a bit sadder since the 2008 hyperinflation increased the insurance companies’ woes. News of the closure of big institutes such as Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) added clients’ mistrust of the industry.
Media usually shy away from the insurance business and most of its reports tend to be of negative developments that rock the sector. The end result is loss of confidence, faith and trust in the insurance industry.
This has led the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) and National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to launch 2023 Insurance and Pensions Journalists Mentorship Program on 10 March this year.
During the media engagement, IPEC commissioner, Dr Grace Muradzikwa revealed that the commission is optimistic of growth in 2023, banking on the 56 percent that the industry saw by December 31, 2022.
“Foreign currency denominated businesses increased to US$146 million as of December 31, 2023 up from US$92 million from December 2021 signifying a 56 percent growth.
“In the local currency segment, a total ZW$173 billion was realised during the same period up from ZW$38 billion recorded in the comparative period to record a nominal growth of 353%,
“Let’s all play our party to ensure that we have a sustainable insurance and pensions industry,” she said.
Muradzikwa added that they are working towards insuring fair and honest treatment of citizens as the regulator, making sure that players in the industry comply and respond to their obligations.
NSSA’s Acting General Manager, Charles Shava, said that a greater percentage of Zimbabwean workers are no longer insured since they are in informal employment. NSSA was established to insure security for employed citizens of Zimbabwe during and after employment.
“Only about 1.4 million Zimbabweans are covered under our social security schemes against an estimated total labour force of 3913 million according to the Q3-2022 ZIMSTATS labour force presentation,” said Shava.
He further highlighted other initiatives that the national social security is embarking on and isaiming at improving the livelihoods of current members which include piped water schemes, goat schemes and gardens as well as solar projects in response to the new renewable energy thrust.
He added that his organisation was now regularly reviewing pension levels so as to cushion pensioners against inflationary pressures and preserve the buying power of their pensions. He also said that they are teaching various institutions of occupational safety and health in workplaces as well as improvement in the resilience of pensioners through income generating projects, discounted groceries at selected retailers, zero bank charges at ABS and ZB banks, goat farming and a mobile clinic facility.