The Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) is working to ensure effective collaboration between Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the National Insurance Commission (NIC) regarding the compulsory fire insurance policy for commercial buildings.
This comes on the back of a number of fires that recorded in some markets across the country leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis.
Following the fire outbreak that occurred at the Makola market on Monday 5th July 2021, it is still unclear just how much has been lost.
The fire is one out of a number that has occurred at different business districts this year. Others are the Kumasi Central Market fire which affected over 40 shops, the Techiman market fire and the Mankessim market fire outbreak all of which occurred in April this year, not forgetting the fire that broke out at the Timber market in May.
The Insurance Act 2006, Act 724 requires that all commercial buildings and those under construction are insured against the hazards of collapse, fire, earthquake, storm and flood.
Under the law, a certificate of insurance, red in colour, with security features will be issued as evidence of insurance for commercial buildings, while a blue colour is issued for those under construction and are required to be displayed or produced for inspection by the relevant authorities.
A commercial building, under the law, includes educational and medical premises, hospital facilities, shops and premises or offices for the transaction of all forms of businesses.
Despite the existing law, individual businesses in these buildings have not had their goods insured as they say the premium is costly, making it difficult for them to pay consistently.
In an interview with Citi Business News, the National Welfare Officer of the Ghana Union of Traders Associations, Benjamin Yeboah, said a joint insurance coverage for members of the business community in different parts of the country would be more efficient to address the issue.
“If the insurance companies deal with individuals they come and assess you and then based on what you tell them that you have in terms of your wares then they might ask you to pay so much. If they place let’s say five hundred thousand on your wares then based on that they can ask you to pay so much premium and when it happens that way it becomes difficult for the person to pay, and before you realize they back out”.
“So we are making sure that instead of dealing with our members individually why don’t we get them to deal with our members through sectors, why don’t we get the assemblies to see if our members are all registered per the various sectors they are in something can be deducted from the premises licence fee and paid directly to the insurance company that we will have that collaboration with so are members are covered. That will be a better way, instead of our members paying so much premium, and then they back out because they feel they don’t have the financial clout”.