Traders in the busy commercial hub of Gakinjiro in Gisozi are counting losses after a recent fire destroyed property over Rwf400 million.
Around eight wood and furniture shops were completely destroyed by fire, leaving the owners ruing their lack of insurance cover.
“All the mattresses were destroyed. Most traders are smallholder business owners whose financial muscle cannot afford insurance,” Ronald Kamanzi, a shopkeeper, whose entire Rwf35 million worth mattress shop was gutted said.
In 2019, another fire destroyed goods valued at over Rwf2 billion, leaving traders grouped under ADARWA, an association of wood dealers, dejected.
Tadee Twagirayezu, the head of ADARWA says they are encouraging traders to acquire insurance cover to help them recoup some investment.
Experts cite the low insurance coverage on the laisse-fair business model, limited mobilisation, and innovation by the service providers.
“Insurers have to take the lead to urge potential clients on the importance of ensuring lives and assets,” Straton Habyarimana, an economist noted.
Rwanda Insurers Association (ASSAR) accuses Rwandans of being dismissive towards insurance services. ASSAR official figures show insurance subscription by individuals at a paltry 1.7 percent.
“Awareness and publicizing the services of insurance companies to individuals and businesses and low subscription top our to-do list since last year,” Denyse Rwakayija, ASSAR head noted.
Central bank figures indicate that despite the pandemic’s dampening effects, the insurance sector continued to grow as assets grew by 16 percent by June this year compared with 15 percent in June 2020, from Rwf548 billion to Rwf638 billion.