Use insurance industry for humanitarian welfare: PM



Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the insurance companies to utilise their industry for humanitarian welfare and said Unified Messaging Platform (UMP) will be introduced to save the customers from insurance-related cheating.

“I hope you (insurance companies) will use the insurance industry for humanitarian welfare and play a more effective role in keeping production and economy out of risk,” she said.

The prime minister was addressing as the chief guest the inaugural ceremony of the 15th International Conference on Inclusive Insurance at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel here this afternoon.

Sheikh Hasina described inadequacy of information as a major problem for insurance customers.

She said consumers’ confidence in the insurance industry decreases and sometimes they are deceived too, as they remain in the dark about how many installments have been deposited and whether the installment money has actually been credited to the head office.

“To overcome the problem, the process of Unified Messaging Platform (UMP) is underway,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina requested the owners of the insurance companies to give importance to the issue of social responsibility alongside making profit.

Putting emphasis on introduction of micro insurance schemes to tackle climate change risk, she said it will greatly benefit lower income group people affected due to natural calamities.

Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA) has arranged the three-day conference in association with Munich Re Foundation and Microinsurance Network (MiN) with the theme ‘Coping With Climate Risk’.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Senior Secretary of the Financial Institutions Division under the Ministry of Finance Ashadul Islam and Chairman of Bangladesh Insurance Development Authority Shafiqul Rahman Patwary were present as the special guests at the function.

Chairman of Munich Re Foundation Thomas Loster and Chairman of Microinsurance Network (MiN) Doubell Chamberlain also spoke on the occasion as special guests.

BIA President Sheikh Kabir Hossain presided over the function, while its First Vice-President Prof Rubina Hamid delivered the welcome address.

At the outset of the event, an audio-video presentation on business and insurance in Bangladesh was made.

The premier said a directive has been issued to bring transparency in transactions in the insurance industry.

“All transactions above Tk 10 thousand must be through a bank. All insurance companies have been instructed to show their updated insurance claims on their own website,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said being the largest Delta in the world, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change. Cyclone, storm, floods, droughts, rain, earthquake etc. occur here round the year in different times, she said.

“Insurance can play an effective role in tackling the natural disasters. But application of insurance is very limited and inadequate in covering the risks resulting from natural disaster,” she said.

As a result, the premier said, it is possible to compensate losses and damages grossly but it is still impossible reaching the micro-level people.

“In that case special insurance ecosystem can play an impressive role in addressing climate risks. However, this form of insurance system is a new type of initiative. It has been introduced in a few countries and it’s at experimental stage in some countries,” she said.

“We could also make this arrangement in our country,” she added.

The prime minister said insurance industry helps reduce the invisible risks of individuals, families and the organizations and also provides financial guarantees to minimize potential risks.

“It also provides protection against loss of life and property. It helps create funds for the country’s capital and investment sectors. So, everyone needs insurance, regardless of the rich and the poor,” she said.

Considering the importance of insurance industry in the socio-economic development of the country, Sheikh Hasina said the present government has given due importance to modernization and development of this sector.

“Our government has been trying to develop the insurance industry. We enacted new Insurance Act 2010 in place of age-old Insurance Act 1938,” she said.

The prime minister said the government has also established autonomous regulatory body, Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), dissolving the office of the Chief Controller of Insurance.

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