South Sudan has adopted Kenya’s insurance regulatory system to grow the industry in Africa’s youngest state.
And the man tasked with the job of overseeing the shift said that after studying the local system, what remains is its implementation — a task he contents will be a tall order for his country.
“I was given the autonomous authority to search for a commendable supervisory board, and the Kenyan model has impressed me. I will submit the recommendations to the government for adoption,” said managing director of South Sudan Insurance and Re-Insurance Company Daniel Kier.
He noted his country will implement the model starting with the crucial segments.
“It must have taken years for IRA to reach where it is today. It has an efficient model which can guide our insurance industry if adopted. We will use some of those regulations before adopting the full system,” said the managing director in an interview with Smart Company.
After South Sudan gained independence in July last year Mr Kier, who lectures at Australia’s Monarch University, was recalled by his government to restructure the insurance business.
Following separation, major state institutions also took the same route. Sheikhan Insurance and Re-Insurance were some of those that were equally distributed to the two nations.
“It was a bold move but the government did not want to associate itself with the Sheikhan again,” he said.
Mr Kier felt that it was against trade principles when the government’s parastatal was also the licenser to its competitors. “I advised the government to come up with a supervisory board, an autonomous one that would regulate all insurance activities in the country,” said Mr Kier.
This saw the birth of SSIR.
In Kenya, Mr Kier signed a pact with the College of Insurance where students who are aspiring to join the regulatory authority will undergo training. They will undertake practical courses in Kenya Re-Insurance, Africa Re-Insurance and Zep Re-Insurance where they are expected to gain basic skills in underwriting.
Mr Kier expressed optimism in his country’s insurance sector noting that challenges of language, base capital and technical expertise would be tackled if the partnership between the two countries bears fruit.
Major insurance companies in the region are eyeing the country with intentions of opening up shop. UAP, New Sudan, Sheikhan, National and Savannah Insurances are some of the firms that have already set foot in South Sudan.
In May this year, South Sudan joined the African Trade Insurance (ATI), a continental agency that offers investment and political risks underwriting to its nine member states.
Having served as a boy soldier in his teenage years, experiencing the war that maimed his relatives and friends, Mr Kier was rescued from a refugee camp and adopted by a family in Australia.
It was in his adopted country that he received its citizenship and four degrees in business, marketing and risk management areas.
In 1976, he returned home and set up Regional Insurance Company in Juba which was later shut down due to poor performance.
Disappointed, he returned to England and Australia respectively, where he took professional studies in insurance while working as a consultant.
He furthered his degrees to two, and three masters.
He came back in 2000 and was employed at the state’s Sheikhan Insurance and Re-Insurance where he worked for 12 years, ascending to the position of deputy managing director.
“It was hard for a person from the South to climb to that position. It was my expertise and credibility that made me rise quickly,” he said.
After the secession mood started to engulf the country, he went back to Australia where he continued with his consultancy business.
When the regulatory authority eventually rolls out, Mr Kier said, he will return to Australia where his family resides and continue with his careers; lecturing and consultancy.