Burkina Faso, Africa


Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso’s commercial insurance industry 
The commercial insurance industry of Burkina Faso comprises three main company “groups” that deal in personal and business insurance (i.e., excluding those that only focus on trade and investment-related insurance). In order of market share, these are: Société Nationale d’Assurances et de Réassurances (SONAR); Foncias; and Union des Assurances du Burkina (UAB). As is the international trend, the CIMA Code (see 3.2 below) requires that a single company cannot practice both long-term and short-term insurance, thus in the course of the 1990s SONAR and Foncias each divided into two discrete but allied companies, while UAB is still in the process of doing so. 

The total turnover of the insurance industry is in the order of 10 to 12 billion FCFA (US$13.5-16), which is around 0.7 per cent of GDP or, more interestingly, just less than the collective savings deposits or loan books of the 21 authorized MFIs. Taking both long term and short-term insurance together, the SONAR group accounts for roughly one-half of the market share, while the Foncias group accounts for another third of market share, and UAB the remaining one-sixth. SONAR is also the oldest of the three insurance groups, having been started in 1974 through the absorption of the operations of foreign societies, leaving foreign interests a stake of 38 per cent relative to 51 per cent in the State and 11 percent for private national interests. After 1994, the stake of the State was reduced to 22 per cent, largely on account of advice from multilateral donor agencies. There are still significant foreign interests in the Burkinabé insurance companies, generally French. Roughly 38 percent of SONAR is presently owned by foreign insurance concerns, and Foncias is a branch of Athéna Afrique, which is the African arm of the Paris-based Groupe AGF-Allianz. UAB, similarly, is a member of the Paris-based Groupe AXA. 

Much of the commercial insurance business  in Burkina Faso owes to compulsory third-party liability insurance for owners of cars and trucks. While many countries legislate compulsory third-party vehicle insurance, in Burkina Faso as in much of the rest of West Africa, the low demand for other types of insurance (especially long-term insurance) means that third-party insurance constitutes the most common type of insurance written (La Voie, 1998). While it is difficult to gauge the degree of compliance with this law, casual observation would suggest that it is high; such insurance is paid on an annual basis, and vehicle owners must mount a certificate on their windscreens at all times demonstrating that their insurance is up to date. That this insurance accounts for a large share of all commercial insurance (i.e., a number of policies as well as by volume of premium), is suggested by the fact that the capital dedicated to, say, the short-term business of SONAR (SONAR-IARD), is almost 50 per cent larger than its long-term insurance. 

This is contrary to what one finds in most countries where on average long-term insurance is 50 percent more important than short-term insurance,

From  Microinsurance in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, Africa – World Insurance Companies Logos

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