GJA Honours Commissioner of Insurance, Mr. Justice Ofori

GJA Honours Commissioner of Insurance, Mr. Justice Ofori

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) has taken note of a press statement on the above subject, which has been receiving attention from some relevant stakeholders.

The Commission has taken the issues raised onboard and will address them appropriately. We will also continue with ongoing stakeholder engagements towards finding harmonious ground for the smooth implementation of the Insurance Law.

The NIC, however, wishes to clarify that the current renewed effort is only aimed at enforcing an existing Law that dates back to the Insurance Law of 1989, PNDC Law 227. This Law made it mandatory for all goods being imported into Ghana to be insured in Ghana by insurance companies licensed to operate in Ghana. The relevant sections of the applicable laws are chronicled as follows:

Insurance Law 1989 (PNDC Law 227)
Section 63 (1) ‘Except in the case of personal effects every insurance effected in respect of any goods imported into Ghana shall be placed with an insurer registered under this Law’

The Insurance Act 2006 (Act 724)
Section 37 (1) ‘Unless authorized by the Commission, a person shall not enter into a contract of insurance with an offshore insurer in respect of:
(a) Property situate in the country
(b) Liabilities arising in the country, or
(c) Goods, other than personal effects, being imported into the country’.

Insurance Act 2021, Act 1061
Section 222 (1) ‘A person who imports goods, other than personal effects, into the country shall insure the goods with an insurer licensed under this Act’.
For effective administration, the new Law requires that the NIC designs Regulations as guide for implementation. This process has since commenced and will involve various stakeholder engagements.

We assure all stakeholders that their interests will be served as we traverse the path to grow the economy and to enable us be in the position to provide adequate buffers against all risks emanating from all manner of business transactions in real time.

Thank you.

Issued by the Public Relations Unit

Re: Reconsider Implementation of the National Insurance Act

The Commissioner of Insurance, Dr. Justice Ofori, says the Ghana Insurance College (GIC), which is the nation’s premier insurance training institution, has proven through its dedication to insurance training and education, that it holds unique qualities for the pursuit of development.

Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony for the commencement of work on the ultra-modern campus of the GIC on May 28, 2021 at Adamrobe, a suburb of Aburi in the Akwapim South Municipality of the Eastern Region, Dr. Ofori said “The commencement of the construction of the ultra-modern campus of the GIC campus is a cherished dream of the College and today’s sod-cutting ceremony brings that

dream one step closer to being fulfilled. The real work starts today and we have to even work harder to achieve the dream”.

The Commissioner expressed delight in the fact that “with the initiation of local chartership by the College and the commencement of other initiatives, the time is right for the College to deepen its roots in the insurance sector”, he stated.

On his part, the Director of the GIC, Mr. Richard Okyere, said the establishment of its new campus will foster and facilitate the training of insurance practitioners in the country.

According to him, the training edifice when completed, will address the challenges of the College and also serve as a training centre which will be of critical importance to the economy and Ghana’s insurance industry.

“With the absence of a fitting training edifice worthy of an important sector of our economy, it was worrying. Currently, the College occupies a few rooms within the NIC building, which is woefully inadequate for a reputable College such as ours. It is therefore, gratifying to witness this all-important event, the sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a World-class Professional Insurance Training Centre, envisioned more than a decade ago”

“When completed, the immaculate edifice would be home of excellence for the advancement of best practices and cutting-edge professional Insurance training centre serving Ghana and the West African sub-region.”

“The future of the Insurance College is bright, and this will be the first educational setup to churn out full insurance practitioners that will have a vision of salvaging the economy from its woes when it comes to knowledge acquisition in the area of insurance,” he expressed.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Akwapim South Municipality, Mr. Frank Aidoo, in his remarks lauded the establishment of the new training edifice as a contribution to the development of insurance education and ensuring professionalism in the insurance space.

GIC was established in 2006 by key stakeholders of the insurance industry i.e. the NIC, the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), the Chartered Insurers Association of Ghana (CIIG), and the Insurance Brokers Association of Ghana (IBAG) with the vision to establish a centre of excellence for the advancement of best practice and cutting-edge professional competence within the insurance industry in Ghana and the West African sub-Region.

It has so far churned out over 350 Chartered Insurers since its establishment and many of these professionals hold principal positions within the insurance industry and other sectors of the economy.

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) has presented 500 GoTa phones to the Motor Traffic & Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service for enforcement activities. These security devices are meant to detect vehicles with fake motor insurance policies plying our roads.

Presenting the items to the Police at an official ceremony at the Police Headquarters on Thursday, March 11, 2021, the Commissioner of Insurance, Dr. Justice Ofori, noted that the use of the devices “would further reduce the issuance and use of fake motor stickers to the barest minimum”.

Dr. Ofori remarked that “through the assistance of the Police, the Commission has in the past, arrested and sometimes prosecuted persons who have been found dealing in the issuance of fake motor stickers”.

He stated further that, “The enforcement activities of the Police through the use of the GoTa phones would affirm the Commission’s obligation to protect the interest of the policyholder and by extension, the average person on the street”.

Receiving the devices on behalf of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. James Oppong Boanuh, the Director-General of the MTTD, COP Frederick Adu-Anim expressed appreciation to the NIC for its support over the years.

“Indeed the support we have received from the (NIC) in the past has not only been immense but also phenomenal. Mention can be made of the Commission’s nationwide Training of Trainers (ToT) programme to build capacity on the MID for some 400 personnel of the MTTD in 2020,” he remarked.

“It is instructive to note that even before the presentation of these devices, the MTTD personnel had started making use of the USSD short code *920*57# which provides time checks on the insurance validity on vehicles”, he stated.

The NIC in January 2020, implemented an electronic motor insurance database software, known as the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

It is a central database repository of all motor vehicle insurance policies issued by insurance companies in Ghana.

With the MID, one can easily verify the insurance status of any vehicle and confirm the authenticity of the insurance policy purchased through a USSD code.

The GoTa phones to be used by the Police have additional security features for enforcement and investigative purposes, and are the preserve of only the Police.

Since its implementation, the MID portal has issued insurance policies to an impressive 1.4million vehicles.

The business of fake motor insurance has greatly reduced as the initial objective of curbing the menace of vehicles with fake insurance stickers plying our roads, endangering lives and property has been achieved, to a large extent.

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) has commenced training of some Fire Service Officer Cadets on the Basic Principles of Insurance, Fire Insurance and Risk Management.

The training which was factored into the course structure for Fire Service Trainees took place at the Fire Academy and Training School (FATS) in Accra.

The training forms part of the Commission’s structured campaign to create insurance awareness and is an on-going campaign across all other Security Agencies and allied bodies.

Speaking at the opening of the training in Accra, the Commissioner of Insurance, Dr. Justice Yaw Ofori noted that:

“The commencement of this training is a continuation of series of insurance training programmes outlined and targeted at not only the Security Agencies but also other allied agencies. This has the objective of providing insurance protection for all lives and properties. I am delighted about the prospects of this training as it coincides with the development of a database on Compulsory Commercial Fire Insurance by the NIC. This training is also expected to equip you in basic principles of insurance with focus on areas such as Fire Insurance and Risk Management”.

He admonished the participants to take the training seriously as “when personnel of the Fire Service are well educated on insurance, they can also encourage others to appreciate the need for insurance as a risk management tool’.

Dr. Ofori pledged continuous collaboration with the Ghana National Fire Service in order to provide more sensitization on the need to protect lives and properties.

On his part, the Director of the Ghana Insurance College, Mr Richard Okyere disclosed that the College which is the main training arm of the Insurance Industry has so far trained about 5,000 out of a targeted 10,000 since the NIC started funding the training of the youth as Insurance Agents in July 2019. This move, Mr Okyere said, has created employment in the insurance industry for many young people.

In his welcome remarks, the Commandant of the Fire Academy and Training School, ACFO Gilbert Klutse advised the Officer Cadets Trainees most of whom are already in the Service to take advantage of the training in order to serve as worthy Ambassadors for the insurance protection of lives, homes and corporate entities in the course of their career.

In his commendation to the insurance industry, the Commandant disclosed that the Officer Cadets who are prospective Senior Officers of an institution [GNFS] mandated by law to provide fire protection, rescue and evacuation services for the nation must find it imperative to have a working knowledge of the relevant aspects of insurance.

“Whereas, the GNFS is committed to sensitizing the citizenry and protecting homes, businesses, as well as other forms of properties against the ravages of fire and other disasters, the insurance industry which is regulated by the National Insurance Commission (NIC) provides the needed shock absorbers to alleviate the economic impacts of these incidents on victims if they do occur’, he acknowledged.

ACFO Klutse indicated that both the GNFS and & the NIC have been in partnership on different fronts when disaster strikes.

“Indeed, the insurance industry most of the time depends on our fire reports to pay claims to victims. And I strongly believe some of you [Officer Cadets] have worked on such reports, one way or the other in your career”, he reminded the in-service Officer Cadets.

ACFO Klutse extended a special commendation to the Commissioner of Insurance, Dr. Justice Yaw Ofori for his passionate interest and presence at the launch of the training owing to the importance the NIC attaches to fire safety and insurance.

The NIC is the supervisory and regulatory body of all insurance entities in Ghana and has for some time now championed the training of key categories of personnel as part of the Commission’s mandate of making everyone aware of the needs and benefits of insurance through its instituted Insurance Education Fund.

A Kumasi Circuit court has convicted two insurance fraudsters for selling fake insurance stickers to unsuspecting members of the general public.

The conviction was occasioned by series of investigations conducted by the Police after they were picked up some time early this year by a joint task force of the Police and the National Insurance Commission (NIC).

The convicts, Mavis Nyarko and Baafi Kwasi Appiah who were both Kumasi-based insurance agents were, at the end of the trial convicted to pay a fine of GH¢6,000 each or in default serve a two-year jail term.

In addition to their conviction, the NIC will have the two convicts blacklisted from transacting any form of insurance business.

There are currently other suspects facing trial in various courts in Kumasi and other parts of the country for similar offences with the view to flushing out these miscreants from the system.

Caution to Members of the Insuring Public

Commenting on the conviction, the Commissioner of Insurance, Dr. Justice Ofori admonished members of the public to “in their own interest and in the interest of innocent third parties, expect to receive SMS alerts immediately after purchasing motor insurance from only Insurance Companies in good standing as published in the media and the NIC website www.nicgh.org in November 2020.

It is instructive to note that the NIC had earlier caused the arrest of some perpetrators of this crime and the culprits are still under investigations.

The Motor Insurance Database (MID)

In spite of the introduction of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) with electronic stickers from the NIC which replaced the old system of issuing manual motor insurance stickers upon renewal or purchase of new motor insurance policies, the NIC said certain unscrupulous persons have still not relented in their fictitious ways of perpetrating this crime to the detriment of unsuspecting members of the general public.

The Commissioner lamented that the reality only dawns on these motorists / patrons when involved in accidents and innocent third party victims of such accidents suffer lack of compensation.

Huge Loss to the State

It is estimated that the insurance sector lost at least GH¢325 million to fraudsters and fake insurance operatives in 2018 alone.

This figure is expected to keep rising as the years go by, hence the introduction of the MID to nip this phenomenon in the bud.

The Honour: ‘Ever since you assumed the position of the Commissioner of Insurance and Chief Executive Officer of the National Insurance Commission…your achievements, key among which is the introduction of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to checkmate fake motor insurance in Ghana cannot go unnoticed. Your institution of an Insurance Education Fund to build capacity of the industry and educate the insuring public to see the value in insuring their lives and property are phenomenal. The GJA hereby confers on you: ‘HONORARY MEMBER OF THE GJA’.

These are the words as contained in the citation that accompanied the decoration of Mr. Justice Ofori, Commissioner of Insurance at the recently held 25th GJA Awards.

Life has an interesting way of dealing with us as humans. Things happen; plans do change; mistakes are made and corrected and events unfold. To mitigate the consequences of these occurrences, the concept of insurance was developed.

His entry into the insurance profession was somehow accidental. After his last paper at the country’s premier University, University of Ghana, he had the opportunity to sojourn in Canada for a reasonably long while. It was during this period that he decided to study courses in Banking and Insurance – a career identified!

From 1990 to 2004, Mr. Ofori held various positions at McLarens Toplis in Canada, Allianz Canada and CGI Canada as a Licensed Independent Claims Adjuster. He has over 28 years of experience in Insurance with almost 4 of this being the Regulator.

Driven by the desire to return to help his country, Mr. Ofori returned to Ghana in 2004 and decided to have a practical stint with the local insurance industry.

His first local employment was with Vanguard Assurance where the then Managing Director, Mr. Emmanuel Mahama Baba gave him the opportunity as the Senior Manager in charge of the Corporate Department and he did not disappoint. This thus, led to his appointment as the first and the longest serving Director of the Ghana Insurance College (GIC) before His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo appointed him as the Commissioner of Insurance.

Mr. Ofori has indeed justified the confidence reposed in him by the President! He could best be described as a process and a business-minded personality blessed with organisational and results-oriented acumen.

The CEOs’ CEO

As the leader of the National Insurance Commission (NIC) which oversees operations of all insurance entities in Ghana, he turned around the business-as-usual phase of the Industry to that of a revived one that keeps everyone on his or her toes.

There is no time wasted on implementation strategies as he believes in his personal mantra: ‘Anything conceived to be done at all must be done now’.
The leadership skills in him was discovered as a young hockey-player in his days at the secondary school where he earned the nickname: ‘Konkoronkor’ due to his leadership skills on the field of play.

To suit his physical attributes and drive, he earned the name ‘Ammunition’ at the Vandal City. He believes there is only one university in the world – ‘the University of Commonwealth Hall’.

With high hopes of changing the not-so-encouraging trend in the awareness creation bit of the industry, he championed and continues to do so in providing basic insurance education to all categories of people.

Passion for Insurance Education

The launch of the Basic Insurance Education with the Ghana Education Service (GES) has been one of his dreams crystalizing as he believes that when people understand [during their formative ages] the importance of insurance rather than the compulsion to purchase insurance, uptake becomes a norm! This collaboration is expected to result in the introduction of insurance as a basic course of study at the second cycle institutions.

The commencement of the training for National Service Personnel posted to the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service sets in motion similar arrangements for recruits and Officers of other security agencies i.e. Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Excise and Preventive Services, etc.

‘If media personnel get it right, then the people would get the message’ is his firm conviction. With this in mind and through his leadership, the NIC got closer to the media fraternity as it provided a series of training programmes for journalists in Ghana on the basics of insurance. This was with the view to creating awareness and also ensure that media reportage is in its rightful place with journalists having a firm understanding of the business of insurance.

Mr. Ofori has done a lot and continues to do so for the development and growth of the insurance industry by way of policy formulation, project initiatives and implementation as well as training and manpower development.

Employment Creation for the youth

The training of 10,000 Youth as Insurance Agents is part of the awareness creation and employment creation strategy which will go a long way to propel the growth of the industry as well as create employment for the youth.

Introduction of the Motor Insurance Database to the world

The introduction of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to checkmate fake motor insurances gives the assurance to the general public that the insurance on their vehicles have valid insurance. This is perhaps the biggest game-changer in the insurance industry in any country as it is the first of its kind not only in Africa but in the world to have certain unique features as in instant SMS upon the purchase of insurance.

Mr. Ofori and the Ghana Insurance College

Mr. Ofori who believes that the progress of the insurance industry is hinged on conscious and consistent manpower development. Within a decade, he superintended the training of over 300 insurance professionals who attained the ACII status at the time he was the Director of the Ghana Insurance College. “Iron sharpeneth iron”, he believes.

It is little wonder many a practitioner and a past student under his tutelage calls him the Insurance Schwarzenegger. This apt description may not only be because of his physical and mental toughness but his passion for manpower needs and development in any field.

The NIC now recognizes qualifications in insurance obtained from the Ghana Insurance College (GIC) for the chartered insurer status. With this credential, an insurance practitioner can hold Principal Officer positions such as Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operating Officer which was previously the preserve of the Chartered Insurance Institute CII UK or Chartered Insurance Professionals, CIP (Canada).

He has spearheaded the construction of an ultra-modern structure and permanent ultra-modern-state-of-the-art campus for the GIC at Dodowa as the College’s current Governing Council Chairman.

He also serves on the Board of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). As a Member of the West African Insurance Institute (WAII) Governing Board, Mr. Ofori is also an Executive Member of the ECOWAS Brown Card Council of Bureaux.

Industry Practitioners Training

Through his leadership and support of the Board of Directors, the NIC’s Insurance Education Fund instituted to build the capacity of the industry and educate the insuring public has made it possible since 2018 to have a minimum of eight (8) mainly residential capacity-building programmes organized annually.

This is done for all levels of the industry personnel including Directors and Shareholders, Principal Officers and middle level Management Staff of Insurance entities.

IPSAS – NIC blazes the trail

It is gratifying to know that through his leadership, the NIC has implemented the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The Commission’s 2019 financial statements are therefore fully compliant with the IPSAS. This makes the NIC one of the few state agencies to have blazed the trail globally ahead of the set deadline for compliance with IPSAS’ international best practices.

Strengthening of Stakeholder Relationships

The Commission has strengthened its close cordial working relationship with key stakeholder agencies including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) etc. Each of these organisations is helping to uphold the NIC’s mission of increasing public confidence in insurance in diverse ways under their various jurisdictions.

Creation of 3 additional Regional Offices

In order to improve its presence nationwide, and bring the policy holder protection services to the doorsteps of all the people in all parts of the country, the Commission has created three (3) additional Regional Offices bringing the total number of regional offices to seven (7). These are the Koforidua, Cape Coast and the Sunyani Regional Offices.

Enhanced Relationship with Donor Agencies

The NIC’s relationships with donor agencies such as the German Development Corporation (GIZ) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) continue to yield the needed results with their continuous support to the financial inclusion agenda.

Education

Mr. Ofori holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ghana, Legon and a Diploma with Honours in Banking and Finance from the Toronto School of Business, Canada. He also possesses degrees from the York University, Canada and the University of Toronto, Canada. He is certified in Management (CIM) by the Canadian Institute of Management and is a licensed Independent Adjuster, Ontario – Canada.

Mr. Ofori has an International Executive MBA degree from the Paris Graduate School of Management and is a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC) and a Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP). He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Ghana (CIIG).

The future of Ghana’s Insurance industry

With insurance uptake coverage over 30% of the country’s population, he believes a lot more work needs to be done.

For him, insurance is tied to the economic growth of Ghana. He explained that insurance needs to be brought to the doorstep of many low income earners and educating them on its benefits as this would serve their immediate and future needs.

As the Regulator of the Insurance industry in Ghana, Mr. Ofori indicated that complaints about some attitudes of certain insurance companies towards their clients will not be left unattended as the Commission has a core mandate to protect the interest of policyholders.

Passions

Apart from his love for insurance, he lives the saying: ‘a healthy mind thrives better in a healthy body’. For him: “I feel guilty any time I fail to exercise”.

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) over the weekend conferred ‘Honorary Membership’ status on the Commissioner of Insurance, Justice Yaw Ofori, at the 25th awards ceremony of the association.

This is in recognition for the Commissioner’s initiatives which include the introduction of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and championing the institution of an Insurance Education Fund to build the capacity of the industry and educate the insuring public to see the value in insuring their lives and property.

Ever since he assumed the position of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Insurance Commission(NIC), Justice Ofori has demonstrated his leadership and management skills by championing many initiatives and developments in the insurance space. Indeed, a lot of things have changed.

He believes in the media in awareness creation and education, as he became a friend of the media, the general public and the GJA.

His contribution to the development of the insurance industry in Ghana and his achievements, key among which is the introduction of the MID to checkmate fake motor insurance in Ghana, could not go unnoticed.

Speaking to a cross-section of the media, Mr. Ofori expressed joy at the fact that in spite of what he thought was just doing his work, he didn’t know there were observers out there.

He then advised all to do the best they can in their “small corners”.

He expressed his appreciation to the GJA for such an honours done him.