Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a significant development, the Sierra Leone Insurances Association (SLIA) reported that the insurance business in Sierra Leone is finally increasing its tariffs after 18 years. The change comes after a review of the existing tariffs, allowing for an adjustment in insurance premiums.
Ambassador Allie Bangura, a Member of the Sierra Leone Insurances Association (SLIA), shared his insights with Awoko Newspapers regarding the updated tariffs. He emphasized that the extended period without tariff adjustments had made it challenging for some insurance companies to fulfil their clients’ needs. The disparity between current rates and the potential pay outs was particularly evident.
Ambassador Bangura pointed out that it’s impractical to insure a vehicle for amounts as low as $5, $7, or less than $10 in Sierra Leone, a phenomenon not found in other parts of the world. He believes that the new tariff, which has already been reviewed, will address this issue. The revised tariff would come into full operation with the launch of the digitized motor vehicle database system, a new platform for motor insurance.
Previously, the limit for third-party property damage claims was one million Leones. However, under the new tariff, insurance companies will now be responsible for payments of up to five million old Leones.
The new digitized motor insurance system promises an entirely electronic approach to motor insurance processes. Ambassador Bangura explained that individuals seeking to insure their vehicles will be required to connect directly with an insurance company, insurance marketer, broker, or agent. Each of these intermediaries must have an access code to interact with the database and underwrite insurance policies. Premium payments will also be processed electronically.
Furthermore, following the initial year of database use, the renewal process will be simplified. Instead of the traditional manual paperwork, a virtual sticker will be accessible through the database system. The insurer can decide to print the sticker or store it electronically. Police officers and traffic wardens will utilize the USSD code “9292” for motor insurance payments and vehicle verification.
The digitized vehicle database system will commence on November 15, 2023. However, as of yet, it has not been fully utilized due to delays in submitting active insurance policies. The Sierra Leone Insurance Commission (SLICOM) has set a deadline of November 1, 2023, for compliance.
Raymond Macaulay, President of the Sierra Leone Insurance Association (SLIA), highlighted the benefits of digitization, emphasizing that the entire insurance industry would be operating on a digital platform. Macaulay stated that this digital transformation aligns Sierra Leone with other nations like Ghana, Nigeria, and Gambia. It will enhance efficiency, speed up processes, and promote professional conduct.
Arthur Yaskey, Commissioner of the Sierra Leone Insurance Commission (SLICOM), discussed the digitization initiative’s primary objectives. The digitization aims to modernize and streamline the motor insurance sector, fostering regional integration, minimizing fraud, ensuring compliance, and delivering efficient claims. The new system is inspired by the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme and is poised to bring numerous benefits to Sierra Leone, similar to the achievements seen in Ghana. These include enhanced verification, improved compliance, reduced fraud, and efficient claims processing, among other advantages. MJB/23/10/2023