State of Insurance: Ghana’s insurance sector targets $600m in 2018

The value of Ghana’s insurance market will hit US$600 million in 2018, from US$400million in 2014, based on a projected annual growth rate of 8.5percent, the 2017 edition of the Oxford Business Group Report has shown.

The report cited an EY January 2016 survey Ghana had the highest potential for growth in insurance premiums, and the least in terms of risk in sub-Saharan Africa.

Measured as a percentage of GDP, insurance penetration remains below two percent of the population, which underpins the vast but yet to be exploited potential.

The sector accounted for about 5 percent of asset ownership in the financial sector, as at the first quarter of 2016.

As Ghana’s middle class grows along with the economy, the Oxford Report says the demand for insurance is expected to also increase. Additionally, it says the country’s population is growing steadily, which could help boost the industry.

For example, Timetric, an insurance intelligence company based in London, estimates that the size of the country’s life insurance industry alone will more than double by 2020, from $150.8 million in 2014 to approximately $413 million in 2019.

Technology, particularly mobile phone penetration, data subscriptions and mobile money, are further expected to help insurance companies reach uninsured sections of the population, which otherwise would have been impossible with physical branches and offices.

“The pioneering role of micro-insurance in Ghana can lay the foundation for more education, and more demand, for conventional insurance products,” the report said.

As at 2014, the total value of premiums from mobile insurance, one of the components of micro-insurance (m-insurance), facilitated through mobile money, reached GH¢5million from 4.3 million policyholders, with experts expecting the figure to have more than doubled by end of 2016.

Peter Osei Duah, Executive Director of Allstar Insurance Brokers and former boss of SIC, believes that technology, which allows for unlimited reach, including to low income earners, could be the catalyst for the sector to reach its touted potential in the coming years.

The report further noted that there is huge potential for both life and non-life insurance products due to significant population growth and rising demand, rising incomes and the relatively low penetration of life and non-life insurance products.

The primary segments of non-life insurance include property, accident, motor vehicle and general liability insurances.

Fire insurance for commercial buildings, both complete and those still under construction, and third-party motor insurance are the only compulsory lines. Individual companies have made efforts to add other types of insurance to the list of mandatory policies in order to boost the market, but no such additions were expected in 2016.