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Private Portfolio – Behold the Watchdog

A Government Gazette Nr 5041 published 21 September 2012 for the Namibian financial industry watchdog NAMFISA is causing quite a stir and makes for interesting reading.
To quote form this gazette “only registered insurers, re-insurers, insurance brokers, re-insurance brokers and insurance agents are allowed to provide services in the long-term insurance industry in Namibia”. It goes on to say that “the public is therefore advised to confirm the registration of any insurance company, broker or agent with NAMFISA before doing business with them.”
The Gazette also states that NAMFISA “with our recent data verification, the agents in the list attached (in the Gazette) could not be located to confirm their current operational status on whether they are still operating as agents in the insurance industry or not.
When looking at the attached list it comprises close to 40 pages of names with about 90 to 100 names per page. I did not count them all but it amounts to about 4000 names of insurance intermediaries whose operational status, according to NAMFISA, cannot be verified!
The list however, reads like the Who’s Who in the insurance industry including most award winning participants alive as well as deceased. It also includes whole branches of major insurers in this country.
If the public were to read this list they would be totally confused. We can only guess what information the public can expect to receive when they contact NAMFISA to verify the status of any adviser before dealing with him or her.
One should remember that the insured public contributes a percentage of their insurance premiums towards the coffers of NAMFISA. Similarly all registered intermediaries, financial institutions and others that fall under the control of this body contribute towards its piggy bank.
The levy payments made by brokers are allocated to a name and registration number as reflected in the Gazette’s list. In this way the registered intermediary retains his trading licence.
However, it now appears that despite such levy payments the watchdog was not able to verify or trace the existence of such intermediaries. The persons or institutions mentioned in this list have now been given up to October this year, that is nine days from the date the Gazette was published, to respond and prove their existence otherwise their registration with NAMFISA is cancelled!
As mentioned before, this is really an amazing piece of legal publication. When one recalls how the operations of organisations like the Prowealth Group that were also subject to the control of this watchdog went undetected, we now have close on 4000 intermediaries that are not traceable or verifiable and whose operations are being questioned.
Unfortunately this will not be the last surprise. Another is already in the making when the issue of policy levies or so-called administration fees becomes more public.
Watch this space!

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