Insurers establish new trade association to unite industry

A new insurance association which will unite takaful companies with conventional insurers was set up yesterday with the launching of the Brunei Insurance and Takaful Association (BITA).

The association will soon replace the General Insurance Association Brunei Darussalam (GIAB), which will be dissolved upon the full operations and election of a management committee, said Helen Yeo, current chairman of GIAB and pro-tempore chairman of BITA.

She told The Brunei Times that GIAB only consists of conventional insurance companies.

“Under BITA, both takaful and insurance companies will be under one roof. This move is to promote a level-playing field, harmony and cooperation among members and industry players,” said Yeo.

“Once elected, the new management committee will decide the set of major activities to be organised by BITA.”

She said that the election will be held before the end of the year.

Yeo told the Oxford Business Group earlier that BITA would address concerns in the industry which had been previously criticised for “disparity” between the two types of insurance providers.

“Previously, the two streams have operated on their own, independent of each other and dialogue has been limited,” she told OBG in The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2011.

“As things stand, the only mediating authority is the regulator. This has led to a polarity in the industry that has not been of benefit to anyone,” she was quoted as saying in the report.

Yeo, in the report said “bringing both forms under one roof will bring an end to this issue.”

Backed by the Insurance Order 2006 and Takaful Order 2008, the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) oversees insurance and takaful in the sultanate. It issued a “General Agency Handbook” to regulate the registration and conduct of general insurance agents.

In the previous report, Yeo also noted changes in financial reporting condition imposed by the authority and thought there was “yet room for improvement” in regulatory work.

AMBD has now requested for more frequent, monthly reports, whereas previously, insurers were required to submit quarterly reports and their balance sheets once a year, the report read.

Members to the BITA, Yeo said, will have to sign an “Inter-Company Agreement“, which stipulates that they agree to the terms of the AMBD-issued handbook.

The soft launching of BITA yesterday was officiated by the Managing Director of AMBD, Dato Paduka Hj Rosli Hj Sabtu.

Held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam, the event, which carried the theme “Protection is everyone’s responsibility”, highlighted the importance of financial planning and eventually the need to have insurance or takaful.

Attending the event were senior government officers and takaful and insurance companies staff and personnel.

 

Source: The Brunei Times