COVID-19 insurance in West African

April 14, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

Aside from the brutal and catastrophic effect of the pandemic on entire sections of economies, it has allowed the insurance sector to stand out and prove its importance.

In Africa, the health crisis that appeared at the beginning of last year particularly jostled insurers, while the majority of States found themselves powerless in the face of the scale of the damage to be covered.

Health insurance, a sector that until then had been neglected on the continent for lack of customers and profitability, has recently been integrated into companies' growth strategies.

Actors mobilized en masse to respond to the immediate health consequences. Thus opening the door to a future overhaul of a protection system that leaves out nearly 90% of the population. Indeed, the continent is largely underinsured: the coverage rate fluctuates around 6-7%. The majority of Africans do not benefit from any guarantee in terms of risks, health in the first place.

West African countries have all set up special Covid funds and appealed for goodwill. It is these funds that have enabled States to set up specialized Covid 19 insurance.

The Gabonese Federation of Insurance Companies (Fegasa) as well as that of insurance brokers have supported the efforts of the State in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. On May 4, 2020, Andrew Gwodog, president of Fegasa, handed over a check for 100 million FCFA to the Minister of Economy and Finance to fund the National COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, an account intended for the financing of prevention, control and response to the pandemic, accompanying economic and social measures implemented by the Government for the benefit of the populations and operators economic impacts who have suffered due the pandemic.

The Malian government for its part appealed for national and international solidarity to fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Following this, the association of Malian insurance companies made a donation of 100 million FCFA for the benefit of the COVID-19 Fund which is intended to support health personnel in the first place and take care of the sick.

The Togolese government for its part has set up a "Special Covid-19 Insurance" intended for first, second and third line nursing staff. This insurance, which comes from the National Institute of Health Insurance (INAM), has a cover period of three months renewable until the appearance of a vaccine. Private establishments (clinics, practices and pharmacies) can subscribe to this special Covid-19 insurance for a predefined contribution. Two months after its establishment, 330 million FCFA were paid by the government to health personnel. On the social level, free water and electricity have been deployed, food distributions increased for the benefit of the most vulnerable, and a special assistance program by cash transfer called Novissi has been made operational.

Senegal has, for its part, set up the "Force Covid-19" which is a response and solidarity fund against the effects of Covid-19 to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease pandemic on the economy and to help the most disadvantaged. An envelope of 12.5 billion has been allocated to Senegalese in the diaspora.

Ghana has received a grant of US $ 69 million from the African Development Bank to support efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and mitigate its socio-economic impact on the country. This financing from the Bank's concessional rate loan window served as budget support for the Ghanaian government to finance its national emergency preparedness and response plan as well as its coronavirus relief program. The funds have helped build the capacity of health facilities to isolate, diagnose and treat patients, and to provide more tests, pharmaceuticals, equipment and beds. They also enabled the acquisition of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for nursing staff, as well as financial compensation measures, in addition to the insurance program intended specifically for health professionals and personnel in related sectors.

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