Justice Yaw Ofori is the Commissioner of Insurance and CEO of NIC
Insurance consultant, Dr Daniel Seddoh, has said the National Insurance Commission (NIC) should have conducted a comprehensive asset quality review of the insurance companies before setting a new capital requirement.
Speaking on the business edition of news analysis programme, PM Express on Thursday, Dr Seddoh said the review was important to properly understand the overall credit risk within the sector and hence put the new GH¢50 million capital requirement in proper perspective.
“If you go on to the banks, what happened – what started all the issues with the banks – is an asset quality review exercise that was carried out which indicated that a lot of the banks were carrying toxic assets.
“So you also want to ask yourself that in the insurance industry, what are they carrying. They also carry assets. So probably, we should be doing an asset quality review for the insurance industry and determine the level of quality assets they are carrying. And that could probably give us a better appreciation of how much capital should be injected,” he said.
The NIC last week increased the minimum capital requirement of insurance companies by over 300%. The Commission explained that the capital requirement hike was informed by consultations with stakeholders since 2017.
Under the new recapitalisation directive, the minimum capital for Life and Non-life insurance companies has been increased from GH¢15 million to GH¢ 50 million.
For reinsurance companies, the minimum capital requirement was been increased from GH¢ 40 million to GH¢125million.
For insurance broking companies and loss adjusters, the minimum capital requirement has been increased from GH¢300 million to GH¢500 million.
The minimum capital requirement for reinsurance broking companies has however been maintained at GH¢ 1 million.
The affected institutions have been given up to June 30, 2021, to meet the new requirements.
Dr Seddoh said although he does not doubt that the NIC consulted extensively on the new capital requirements, an asset quality review is equally important.
The accomplished Chartered Accountant said even if a similar exercise was conducted, to the best of his knowledge, there is no report to suggest that the NIC actually did that.
He said because insurance companies typically invest their premiums in assets, the asset quality review is critical in understanding the stability of an insurance company.