The insurance industry cannot flourish due to a lack of awareness among people about different terms and conditions and benefits of policies, as well as skilled manpower, experts have said.
They emphaised nursing agents who work in the field level and ensuring good governance in the managements of insurance companies to uphold their image.
They came up with the remarks at a virtual dialogue on the coronavirus impacts on sustainability of the insurance sector and its capability to accelerate economic recovery. The webinar was jointly organised by the Lawyers and Jurists Foundation, MMH, and The Business Standard on Friday.
The speakers stressed the need for bringing the general people under insurance policies.
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said a foundation of the insurance sector has been built in the last ten years. Now, lots of work have to be done to increase penetration of insurance policies.
He said that it is very difficult to bring farmers under agriculture insurance policies.
"To increase the number of insurance policies, the government should provide incentives to marginalised people in places where we cannot create an awareness in this regard."
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman said the country's business activities were closed for 66 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "As a result, we have suffered a massive loss.
He claimed that the government-announced stimulus packages have not been implemented properly. "Even the authorities could not set the pattern of disbursing the fund from the packages."
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman said the poor have been the hardest hit by Covid-19.
He believes the food crisis may not be acute in the country, but the economy will not move forward if small and medium enterprises remain stagnant.
"We have already started disbursing loans among the most affected people," said the PKSF chairman.
Dr M Mosharraf Hossain, acting chairman of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority, said due to a lack of awareness among general people about the insurance policies, companies cannot sell their products effectively.
"We want to change the mindset of policyholders by creating awareness and establishing their rights. Thus, it will be possible to increase penetration."
"We are working continuously for the development of the insurance sector," he added.
Barrister AM Masum, head of chamber of the Lawyers and Jurists, said low skilled people work in the insurance sector as field agents.
"As they cannot make customers understand insurance policies properly, they pursue people to open policies by providing them with false information. As a result, such insurance policies are dropped in the midway."
For this reason, the insurance sector carries a negative image. Therefore, continuous training programmes have to be organised for agents to improve their skills, he added.
Imam Shaheen, chief executive officer of Asia Insurance, said the insurance sector did not run properly due to a lack of skilled manpower.
Al-Moeiz Laiwala, deputy managing director of Pioneer Insurance Company, said the insurance industry had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic due to a disruption in imports.
"However, the imports of medical services products increased at that time. So, the insurance sector will not face a big crisis."
Mahamud Hosain FCA, who moderated the dialogue, said that the penetration rate is 4% in India, 4.2% in Malaysia, 5% in Thailand but it is only 0.55% in Bangladesh.
The Business Standard Editor Inam Ahmed chaired the webinar.