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– Herald

Zimbabwe’s insurance sector has a key role to play in driving cybersecurity by developing products that cater for the needs of an increasingly digitised economy, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.

This comes as Covid-19 has accelerated the need for individuals and organisations to go digital.

But the downside of the accelerated digitisation has been an attendant increase in cybercrimes across the globe. And Zimbabwe has not been spared.

“Digitalisation has resulted in the increased cybersecurity threats, which is an opportunity for the industry to tap and offer data protection for individuals and businesses.

“Insurers can cover the costs associated with cybersecurity issues, which can include, reputational risk, loss of business, loss of customers, cyber extortion and bullying among others,”

said Prof Ncube.

He made the remarks at the official opening of the Organisation of Eastern and Southern Africa Insurers (OESAI) Forum in Victoria Falls recently.

“According to the Allianz Global Insurance Report, the insurance industry weathered the Covid-19 with more resilience. Thus, the outlook for the industry post Covid-19 is very bright.

“Insurance has supported each different ‘industrial revolution’ by offering risk transfer and risk analysis services that enable innovators to have the financial safety net they need to pioneer new ways of doing things,”

he added.

According to the World Economic Forum, insurance is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which involves the ongoing automation of traditional, manufacturing, and industrial practices, using modern smart technology.

“There is a merging line of cyber insurance. With insurance, economic resources are allocated more efficiently so that individuals and businesses can be more confident in assuming developing risks, and economic growth and job creation are stimulated.”

Typically, the insurance sector offers protection on economic interdependence among businesses by insuring the supply chains.

Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) Commissioner Dr Grace Muradzikwa said the insurance sector in general had taken valuable lessons from the pandemic experience.

“The pandemic has disrupted the world in a big way and the insurance sector is no exception … By virtue of being experts in risk mitigation, it would have been an indictment on us, if as the insurance industry, we had been caught flat-footed.

“I am glad that in Zimbabwe, we weathered the storm as our regulated entities, particularly those offering funeral assurance, settled claims timeously including giving dignified send offs to insured lives who unfortunately succumbed to the pandemic.

“It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic also exposed cover gaps, particularly in relation to the Business Interruption Cover. I am aware of litigations related to perceived ambiguity of some policy wordings on pandemic covers in some countries including Zimbabwe.

“Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic came with a lot of negative disruptions, the rainbow in the cloud is that it also accelerated the digitalisation of both supervisory processes and the insurance business value chains.

“Key learnings from the Covid-19 crisis shall be used to future-proof supervision and regulation of entities.”

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