At the recent Risk Frontiers event on the risks and opportunities of expansion into Africa organised by CRE and Commercial Risk Africa in partnership with the Belgian risk management association Belrim, experts agreed that this is a good model that could be extended to English-speaking Africa and even beyond.

In July 2011 South African president Jacob Zuma proposed the creation of an African Grand Free Trade Area (GFTA) and it was suggested that this effort could include the introduction of a CIMA-style code for the English-speaking part of Africa.

Speakers at the Brussels event, sponsored by AIG and Ascoma, agreed that the adoption of such a system would make life much easier for risk and insurance managers of international companies in the region.

Evidence from the event and intelligence gathered by CRA at recent risk and insurance events across Africa suggest that the concept may finally be moving ahead.

Anna Othieno, Managing Director of AIG Uganda, told delegates at the Brussels event: “The creation of an English-speaking mirror to the CIMA code with a mandatory cession of 25% of business to local markets and the other 75% free to place in international markets is under discussion.”

“I think this is a matter of urgency and is creating awareness among regulators in the region,” added Ms Othieno.

Sophie Cure, Director Marine & Cargo at broker Ascoma International, the independent Monaco-based broker operating in French-speaking Africa, explained how the CIMA model had created a ‘secure’ and ‘consistent’ environment for the region’s insurance buyers and even surpassed international standards with the introduction of the ‘cash before cover’ rules.

Praveen Sharma, Global Leader of the Insurance Regulatory & Tax Consulting Practice at Marsh, said: “Africa is driving change in the [insurance] regulatory environment and trying to generate confidence and the perception that this is not a soft target.”

The global programmes expert added: “This is an opportunity to build a continent-wide system of insurance regulation that would be similar to the European Union Freedom of Services (FOS) system. This would generate capacity, jobs, new business and transparency.”

Mr Sharma told delegates in Brussels that he had recently returned from a conference in Singapore where the country’s Trade and Industry Secretary called for greater consistency and clarity for cross-border insurance to help develop the fast growing Asian risk and insurance market and underlying economy.

Excerpt from an article written by Adrian Ladbury for by CRE. Read the full article here.