Many insurance companies in Liberia continue to come under criticisms for failing to pay claims timely and also addressing the concerns of customers but the Managing Director of the Activa International Insurance Company has blamed such practice on the many challenges facing the insurance industry.
“Some of the disadvantages we have is lack of data, you do not know the previous records of these customers who come to be covered under your insurance policy and also doing business with government is difficult because of bureaucracy” – Saye D. Gbalazeh, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Activa International Insurance
He has however indicated that companies that fail to pay claims do not know how to professional work in the insurance business.
Mr. Saye D. Gbalazeh told FrontPageAfrica in an exclusive interview that the business climate mainly the obstacles experienced in getting contract and doing business with government are amongst some of the problems confronting many insurance companies.
“Here, we do not have data on those who want to be covered under your insurance policy because there is no data system and again doing business with government is very difficult, when you go out there, somebody wants 30% of the premium or even more, so how do you pay your customers claim when somebody is demanding a high percentage of the premium before insuring with you”, said Mr. Gbalazeh.
According to him, people blame some insurance companies for not paying their claims because some of these insurance companies bow into paying a certain percentage of premium to those who will give them contracts and as such these companies cannot raise the money to be able to pay claims.
The insurance industry, Gbalazeh said is a very technical business and therefore it requires high level of professionalism, service standard and should be handled by professional people and not those who run business with politics.
The public sector, he says is not looking for the best providers thereby discouraging the growth of businesses where the private sector is the only preferable place to make business.
“It is good to capture the non-governmental organizations because they have strict rules on soliciting kickbacks, so that way you are not able to provide professional service to them since you are made to pay some of your premiums upfront before they insure with you”, he added.
Risk of fraud
Mr. Gbalazeh says certain sectors have high risk of fraud occurrence which if not handled with care and professionalism could lead to high rate of loss.
The medical insurance industry, he says is prone to high level of fraud where there is collision between medical centers and the insured which sometimes results to inflicted cost of medication.
“Sometimes one man will take a lover to the clinic on his insurance and again takes his wife to benefit from the same insurance.
Also medical institutions inflict the cost of medication provided to the insured thereby making the insurance company to pay for services that was not actually provided, these are some of the fraud related to medical insurance”, the Activa CEO said.
The risk of loss in Liberia, he says is around 67% but said yet when handled professionally, it can be managed by a good insurance company.
Current claims payment
Mr. Gbalazeh disclosed that the Activa insurance company has a good record of paying claims to the insured declaring that from January to July 30, 2016, the company has paid US$719,723.94 in claims in various categories including motor vehicle owned and managed insurance, motor vehicle third party and life and medical insurance.
During the six months period, Gbalazeh said US$75,930 was paid in Motor Vehicle Owned and Managed insurance; US$33,705 on Motor Vehicle Third Party and US$439,087.27 on Life and Medical Insurance.
Liberia, he noted has a virgin market with 4 to 5% market penetration along with other African countries.
Proud to give back
Gbalazeh said he is happy to be back home to give back to the country by improving the Activa insurance company by taking the number of employees’ form 5 to 24 with additional 20 plus independent contractors.
The employees, he said are provided incentives such as soft loan, scratch cards, gasoline allowance and other incentives.
“We are making significant contributions, we are training, serving as mentor, I am happy to be a Liberian, happy to be in the private sector because the private sector is the engine of growth”, he noted.
He further indicated that he is also transferring knowledge and called on other Liberians to be more productive by helping to create jobs and not putting all the attention on politics.
“Liberia needs all the great minds, not people who will come and grab and go claiming that they are making sacrifices when the public sector is paying them fabulous salaries”, he averred.
The Activa insurance company is operating in 43 African countries with head office in Cameroon provide services Portuguese, French, English and Arabic attracting big companies.
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