THE government wants insurance service providers, including banks, to invest more in their risk management staff.
According to Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) Commissioner of Insurance (COI), Dr Mussa Juma, training the staff is of profound importance.
Appealing for knowledge sharing among sectoral stakeholders, the COI said beneficiaries would not only be the staff, but also their employers.
He noted that qualified employees would help address inherent shortcomings currently haunting the sector, notably limited uptake of insurance and lack of products for specific needs of the local market.
Speaking during training to build the capacity of NMB Bank insurance officers in Zanzibar last weekend, he said another benefit to be accrued from such investments was to have enough staff with requisite skills to serve Tanzanians better.
Ultimately, the insurance fraternity will play a key role in dealing with the prevailing sectoral glitch of the industry not contributing adequately to economic growth and overall national development.
Like in most African markets, the contribution of insurance to national output (GDP) has for many years remained less than one per cent. Dr Juma called on insurance companies, banks doing bancassurance, brokers and other stakeholders in the business to ensure their employees were certified by professional bodies.
He said training insurance teams were vital to making them innovative to devise products addressing national realities. Commending on NMB Bank staff training investment, the COI said doing that would help the country have professionals it needed to increase insurance penetration and enhance service delivery.
“The insurance law requires every insurance service provider, be it a bank or a broker, to train people working for them. I commend NMB Bank for considering that and TIRA as the regulator of the industry will ensure you get the support you need to ensure you serve many Tanzanians,” Dr Juma noted in his speech to open a two-day seminar.
“NMB Bank entry into bancassurance business is a major development for us in the sector since it has already started paying dividends in terms of increasing service providers and many people being insured through the bank’s extensive branch network in both Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar,” he added.
The top lender was the first bank to be licensed by TIRA and formally started offering bancassurance services in February this year.
NMB Bank Chief Human Resources Officer Emmanuel Akoonay said training investment had paid off in many ways, including increasing access to services. He said the goal of introducing NMB Bank bancassurance was to help serve sidelined people through the bank’s network of more than 225 branches and over 8,000 agents.
“Since the launch of the service, more than 250 employees have been trained. This has boosted service provision, leading to an average of more than 30,000 people being insured every month through NMB Bank,” Mr Akoonay explained.
“When our plans to go digital materialises, many more people will be accorded the opportunity to access insurance services wherever they are at any time and that will ultimately end the distance challenge for one to be insured.”
Training, which ended on Saturday, principally sought to empower the bank’s insurance staff on changing market trends as part of efforts to create a team with better understanding of the industry.
NMB Bank Senior Bancassurance Manager Martine Massawe said acquired knowledge and skills played a pivotal role in making the bank a key player in the highly competitive sector.