« A shortage of skills continues to undermine the potential of the insurance sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Programs providing practical training related to underwriting, finance and claims are urgently needed to address this challenge. » Natalie van de Coolwijk, Chief Executive Officer, Willis Re South Africa.
By Tafadzwa Chidoori
Zimbabwe is facing a critical shortage of skilled, qualified and experienced insurance personnel. The shortage of skills is partly related to the brain drain of the educated young generation seeking greener pastures in the advanced economies and other emerging markets.
According to the Insurance Institute of Zimbabwe (IIZ) in 2013 there were only two qualified actuaries practicing their skills. This shortage of skills has the potential to seriously obstruct further market developments. Advanced skills including Actuaries are needed to manage and understand the complex and unfamiliar risks. Apart from that the country needs experienced insurance professionals like loss surveyors and risk managers to further advance the market place.
Risk management and insurance education, training and development have a critical role to play in the development of skilled and qualified insurance professionals.
The Africa Insurance Barometer of 2016 lists the shortage of locally available technical skills as the second frequently mentioned threat to the development of a robust and sustainable African insurance market.
69 % of the respondents in the market survey stated that local skills in the insurance sector were inadequate and this was undermining the potential of the insurance sector in many African countries.
The perceived shortage of skills, experienced insurance actuaries as well as a particular lack of quality training courses are the most relevant weakness for the insurance market in Zimbabwe.
The government as well as the insurance industry should have a joint interest to ensure that relevant skills, capabilities and knowledge are developed and acquired by insurance professionals in the industry.