Zambia's insurance regulator, the Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA), has announced guidelines for the industry in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PIA said in its guidance note that insurers should:
- expeditiously process and settle all claims, including where applicable, COVID-19 related claims;
- not reject claims due to delayed reporting or challenges that may arise due to COVID-19 related directives issued by the government;
- provide e-platforms for selling, payment of premiums, settlement of claims to existing and new policyholders. The e-platforms (including dedicated telephone lines) must provide for handling of complaints and grievances;
- conduct and submit to the PIA the results of stress tests by 15 May on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on liquidity, capital adequacy, solvency and general financial position and cash flow.
- put in place contingency measures to enhance the fair treatment of customers such as deferrral of payment and/or renewal of premiums where a policyholder does not have access to alternative payment mechanisms. This may include provision of permium holidays and payment of premiums in instalments.
- proactively sensitise their policyholders on policy coverage and exclusions. Further, insurers must not change terms and conditions of products without prior approval of the Registrar. This applies to amendments that would ordinarily be permissable under product approval guidelines.
- seek prior approval from the Registrar where it is intended to suspend or withdraw some product offerings. The Authority shall endeavour to review any submissions for approval, suspension or withdraw promptly;
- share with policyholders preventive measures on COVID-19 as provided by the government; and
- develop measures to support insurance brokers and agents given the difficult business conditions arising from COVID-19.