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STAKEHOLDERS in the insurance industry yesterday emphasised on the need for increased number of people using insurance services in the country, in a bid to make the sector contribute more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The players in the sector noted that awareness among the public over the importance of insurance cover was still low, leading to poor response from people in seeking such services. They were speaking in Dar es Salaam shortly after participating in an insurance awareness walk, aimed at raising awareness to the society about insurance benefits.

The walk organised by Tanzania Insurance Brokers Association (TIBA), attracted more than 200 stakeholders, including the Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA), Tanzania Reinsurance Company Limited (TAN-RE), representative of Africa Insurance Organisation (AIO) and Institute of Finance Management (IFM). TIRA's Licensing and Market Conduct Supervision Director, Samweli Mwiru said currently the insurance sector benefits very few people.

According to Mwiru, contribution of the insurance sector to the GDP is less than one per cent, which is a very small amount. "The contribution is supposed to be at least three per cent from the current less than one per cent," he said. The TIRA Licensing Director explained that they continue collaborating with other insurance stakeholders to ensure that insurance services reach many people, including farmers. He explained that insurance is very important as it avoids potential financial loss by transferring the risks to the insurer. Speaking at the event, Hamis Suleiman, the Chief Executive Officer of Sanlam Life Insurance, urged Tanzanians to effectively use insurance for them to be guaranteed compensation upon any loss. Suleiman said Insurance may be described as a social device to reduce or eliminate risk of loss to life and property. "Insurance is important because both human life and business environment are characterised by risk and uncertainty in peace of mind," he stressed. Suleiman elaborated further that business owners can take on certain business ventures because they can shift the risk to insurance. He added that insurance helps mitigate the risk of life on the road.

The walk which is funded by AIO started from the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) and ended at the National Library at the city centre. The AIO is expected to hold its annual conference in Arusha in November, this year, where more than 50 countries are expected to attend. The IFM Deputy Vice- Chancellor, Emmanuel Mzava, said only 20 per cent of Tanzanians are aware of insurance, noting that more education is needed to attract more people who can benefit from the services. The main objective of TIBA are to promote interaction among the Insurance Broker Members and to encourage, promote, facilitate and protect the interests of the members of TIBA and to provide an avenue to the members for further education, training and research in all fields of insurance and represent the interests of brokers with other organisations. Currently, TIBA has more than 90 live members.