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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked the insurance companies to be prompt in the settlement of claims as they are the trustee of people’s hard-earned money.
“The insurance regulators should keep strict vigil on the insurance companies so that the claims are settled timely and in proper manner avoiding any dispute,” she said while inaugurating the First SAARC Insurance Regulator Conference at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), Bangladesh in cooperation with Federation of State Organizations of SAARC Countries organized the two-day conference with the theme ‘The Way Forward in the Wake of Global Reality’.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith was the special guest at the inaugural function, chaired by IDRA chairman M Shefaque Ahmed.
Director at SAARC Secretariat Ibrahim Ghafoori spoke at the function on behalf of SAARC Secretary General Ahmad Saleem. Convenor and Member Secretary of the conference organizing committee also Md Fazlul Karim also spoke on the occasion.
The Prime Minister also called upon the insurance companies to undertake poverty eradication program through the industry and not to confine the insurance sector only in trade and commerce. She assured that her government would provide necessary support to this end.
“The industry can play an important role in uplifting the socioeconomic status of the country,” she said, suggesting introduction of crop insurance for the farmers as well as health and micro insurance.
Hasina underscored mutual cooperation and knowledge sharing among the SAARC member countries on insurance business to expedite economic uplift of the region. “The countries having a sound insurance industry undoubtedly have a sound economy,” she said.
Mentioning the various steps taken for the development of the insurance industry in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said that her government enacted the Insurance Act 2010 in place of the age-old Insurance Act of 1938.
Besides, she said, an autonomous insurance regulatory body, the Insurance Development & Regulatory Authority (IDRA), has been established dissolving the office of the Chief Controller of Insurance to strengthen the monitoring of insurance activities in the country.
She expressed with satisfaction that the IDRA has already taken various reform measures aiming at the improvement of the insurance industry.
Mentioning the similarities of challenges in the region, Hasina said that mutual cooperation in various fields including communication, trade and commerce, and greater interaction among the peoples would play an important role to overcome the challenges.
She said a major part of the SAARC population lives below the poverty line and it is a great challenge to meet the basic needs, including food, cloth, shelter, education and medicine for the vast population.
She mentioned that cooperation among the SAARC countries can help change the scenario to a great extent although each country is trying to improve the condition of the poor people in their own way.
The Prime Minister said that her government has been working hard to materialize the vision of transforming Bangladesh to a middle income country by 2021. “Cooperation of the SAARC countries can speed up this process and in turn, they can also be benefitted in their respective sectors.”
She said insurance is not only vital for eradicating people’s misery, ensuring socio-economic development or minimizing risk of businesses, but also for the mobilization of internal capital.
Earlier, the Prime Minister witnessed a documentary on Bangladesh Insurance Industry and dance program presented at the outset of the inaugural session.