|IAG takes medical insurance a notch higher|
The Insurance Association of The Gambia (IAG) on Wednesday organized a forum that provided the stakeholders involved in medical insurance to discuss, in a forthright and very professional manner, some of the challenges inhibiting the successful operation of Private Medical Insurance (PMI) schemes in The Gambia.
Held at Laico Atlantic Hotel, the forum, on the theme; ‘The evolution of medical insurance in The Gambia: Prospects and Constraints’, brought together all the three major stakeholders of medical insurance scheme, which is the insurance companies, the medical practitioners, and the insured, also known as the sponsoring institutions.
The forum was geared towards building a solid foundation for meaningful partnerships and cooperation of both parties involve in the scheme. The stakeholders discussed issues of mutual concern for better management of medical insurance scheme, which is one of the two most popular insurance policies in The Gambia.
Dawda Sarge, president of IAG and the managing director of Prime Insurance Company explained that forum provides a common platform for insurance operators and other stakeholders to discuss issues of common concern and to generate excellent ideas for the socio-economic advancement of the people in general and the development of the Gambian economy in particular.
He said: “This year’s theme: “The evolution of medical insurance in The Gambia: prospects and constraints” is yet another demonstration by the IAG to create an environment for fruitful dialogue among all stakeholders in the various Private Medical Insurance (PMIs) schemes within the insurance industry.”
The IAG president noted that the cardinal objective of all PMIs in The Gambia is to support national health development objectives through the use of best and useful practices that maximizes the efficient and effective use of inter-dependence hence the need for all PMI stakeholders to complement one another rather than compete; deliver services as expected rather than duplicate them; and finally show more equity, transparency and accountability in their transactions with one another.
He said: “All development oriented partnerships should (and I dare say) must operate on the premise and principle of shared responsibility. We cannot have successful PMI schemes when insurers fail to provide good value medical expenses insurance covers (by making the necessary reimbursements to the doctors or sponsoring organization on time); or doctors and clinics charging exorbitant medical bills or encouraging practices that are inimical to the insurance delivery process; or the sponsoring organizations abdicating their responsibilities towards the scheme.”
Mr Sarge quoted the Chairman of Munich Re Management Board, Dr Nich Von Bomhard as saying: “Insurance companies should always avoid a situation where-in the insuring institution pays the loss upfront as a premium and gets the money back as a claim” I believe this statement resonates well with the PMI provider institutions.
Mr. Kunle Adegboye, managing director of Capital Express Assurance (G) Limited said medical insurance throughout the world is always a controversial issue.
“Of course in this part of the world it is still relatively not well understandable how the scheme is run because it is a tripartite sort of agreement. The insurers on one side, the insured on the other side, and the medical practitioners on another side. So it is a three legged agreement which if there is not synergy there will be a situation that it will invariably not work. And there lies the controversy, there lies the constraint.”
The forum witnessed presentation of papers from both parties involved in medical insurance scheme. Both parties presented on different perspective on ‘The evolution of medical insurance in The Gambia; prospects and constraints’. Mr Momodou Joof, managing director of Takaful Gambia Limited presented on the perspective of the insurers. Dr Adama Sallah of Lamtoro Medical Clinic presented on the perspective of medical practitioners, and Mr Mohammed Jeng of Gambia Revenue Authority presented on the perspective of the insures.