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Stronger enforcement of fire insurance needed – Expert

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Business News of Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Source: lamudi.com.gh

Felix Gbogbo Glico

Head of Corporate Work Group at GLICO, Felix Gbogbo, has called for stronger enforcement of fire insurance in Ghana.

While acknowledging the progress made by the National Insurance Commission, Mr Gbogbo stressed that more needed to be done, including introducing compulsory fire insurance for homes.

Many countries around the world had compulsory fire insurance for all properties and the time was ripe for Ghana to do same, he said.

“Our regulatory body has not done enough with respect to fire insurance. It is just recently that they have got their teeth and started biting but they need to transcend it [fire insurance] to all buildings.

“In other places such as Europe, every building has to be insured. So whether it is a private home or a public building, it has to be insured,” he said.

Act 724, which embodies laws governing insurance in the country, states in Section 184 (1) that “every commercial building shall be insured with an insurer against the hazards of collapse, fire, earthquake, storm and flood, and an insurance policy issued for it.”

Commercial building has been defined by the Act as any privately-owned building used for recreational, educational, medical or business purposes.

There have been public calls for government buildings to also be insured in light of the fires that have engulfed some state properties over the years.

The latest incident occurred at the Central Medical Stores, which was razed two weeks ago.

Mr Gbogbo shares the view that state properties should have insurance cover, stating that it would indemnify such properties against losses in the event of a natural disaster.

“In recent times, the building that used to house the Foreign Affairs Ministry got razed and the government in reaction stated that it would insure state properties. No effort was made to that effect and another fire recently engulfed the Central Medical Stores.

“As a consequence, huge monies invested in the medical supplies have all gone down the drain. I think it is now inevitable that the government take a look at insuring all of its properties against burglary first, and then fire and allied perils.” he said.

Online property portal Lamudi also shares the concerns of many Ghanaians in respect to the fires that have engulfed a number of properties in recent times.

Akua Nyame-Mensah, Managing Director of Lamudi Ghana, stressed the need for the government to insure strategic components kept in state properties.

According to her, this would make it a less expensive venture while ensuring that their prized assets are indemnified against losses.

“Having a property insured in terms of what is inside that building is what is important. For instance in the case of the Central Medical Stores, the medical supplies are the strategic components, so they could have been insured to some extent,” she said.

Prince Billy Anaglatey, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, advised the general public to adopt a defensive approach towards fire prevention.

For instance, gas cylinders should be placed outside the building for safety reasons, he said. He added that periodic checks should be made on electrical wirings and encouraged the public to ensure that all electrical appliances are turned off before leaving the home.

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