Insurance companies in the country have been offered a leeway for them to break into new markets in Cameroon as the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) leads over 40 countries to Douala this month.
Ms Prisca Soares, Secretary-General of African Insurance Organisation (AIO) in an interview with Vanguard explained that the nation’s insurance industry could indeed break new market grounds in Cameroon as the body would take prctitioners from around the globe through best practice in financial reporting.
Soares enunciated across border training such as being organised by AIO presents ample opportunity for insurance operators to access new markets.
Nigerian insurance chief executive officers are to gather in Cameroon by middle of this month for a two-day seminar on Global Financial Crisis: Challenges for the African Insurance Industry.
Apart from that the AIO has mapped out a lot of events that would give participants at the seminar a run for their money.
She explained that AIO programmes are not just about training but encompassed a lot of packages that individual participants benefits from and remember for long while.
Soares said the AIO decided to pick on the theme, Global Financial Crisis: Challenges for the African Insurance Industry
She stated, “The adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will offer important benefits to insurers, including the potential to simplify financial reporting and reduce accounting complexity and the costs associated with this function.
Instead of preparing both Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and statutory financial reports, insurers will ultimately, comply with a single IFRS standard. IFRS also will increase transparency for investors and shareholders”.
The seminar, she reiterates further, is for insurance Chief Executive Officers, Finance Directors, Chief Finance Offices of insurance and reinsurance companies, Auditors and Insurance Supervisory Authorities will go a long way to change the way and manner insurance industry present their financial reports.
She expressed,”To ensure readiness for IFRS adoption, insurers must begin to plan today for the business transition and IT infrastructure requirements, evaluating their accounting systems and implementing new processes. While IFRS requires two years of comparatives, best practices call for running comparative ledgers for five years. Nonetheless, the transition to IFRS presents insurers with a valuable opportunity to streamline reporting, expand visibility and reduce reporting costs”.
IFRS, she believed, will likely contribute to substantial changes in insurance product design, price and offerings; investment strategy; risk management practices; securitization; and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. Together, these changes will give rise to pressure for both convergence and divergence across insurance lines, thereby adding complexity and dynamism to the market structure of the insurance industry.
The adoption of the IFRS, Soares noted would facilitate a seamless change in the financial reporting of Africa insurers; Explore the key features of the Exposure Draft on the main standard on insurance contracts which is scheduled for publication before the end of 2009 and their implications for the system and business of African insurers; Discuss the elements of Enterprise Risk Management and its role in managing uncertainties and related challenges that African insurers face and to Discuss options available to African insurers for optimizing cost in the wake of current global economic crisis
The AIO srcibe said the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), KPMG and Standard & Poor’s would all take African Insurance market through Financial Reporting and Risk Management in line with International Financial Reporting Standards in consonance with the objectives of the AIO.
Deputy Commissioner (Finance) of National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. George Onekhena is expected to tackle the issue of Key Features of Insurance Contracts Exposure Drafts; Director, KPMG, Johannesburg, South Africa, Mr. Brian Mallinson will insurance practitioners through Transitions to IFRS: Issues for African Insurance Companies.
Director, Ratings Analytical Financial Services (Insurance) of Standard & Poor”s, Paris, France, and Mr Lotfi Elharhdadi will take operators on Enterprise Risk Management while Principal Partner of African Consulting Enterprise, Douala, Cameroon, Mr. Benoit Atangana Onana will tackle International Financial Reporting Standards.