Africa has become the apple of Morocco’s diplomatic and financial eyes, and the kingdom intends to showcase the sincerity and the enormous benefits of its African turn.
Casablanca – The 2019 Casablanca Insurance Rendezvous convened insurance professionals and government representatives on April 3-4 to discuss the new challenges and opportunities emerging in the age of a digitized global economy.
As has become the unspoken norm for most high-profile forums in Morocco, the African continent was one of the major talking points at the sixth annual Casablanca Insurance Rendezvous, a meeting of global trailblazers in insurance and reinsurance.
Exporting Moroccan expertise
The Casablanca-held event has, in the space of five years, become a significant gathering of insurance and reinsurance experts, market risks practitioners, governments, and multinational companies driving the global insurance and reinsurance conversation.
At this year’s event, over 1,000 representatives from more than 30 countries are meeting to discuss the new disruptions of the digital age in the field.
Of the countries present at the gathering, more than 20 were from Africa, showcasing Morocco’s “genuine interest in playing a greater role in the much-needed Africa-Africa turn to rise to continental challenges,” according to Mohamed Hassan Bensalah, chairman of the Moroccan Federation of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies (FMSAR).
Squarely addressing the event’s theme, “The New Borders of Insurance,” Bensalah’s keynote speech spoke in effusive terms of the Moroccan reissuance market’s ability to face a relentlessly globalizing and digitizing world.
Despite the number and the difficulty of the emerging challenges, he stressed, Morocco has invested in new infrastructures that have “boosted its resilience and adaptability.”
This optimism in the face of “emerging and intensifying known and unknown risks,” Bensalah explained, springs from the collaborative efforts which FMSAR and the Moroccan finance ministry have made recently to limit the damaging impacts of new risks.
“As far as the Moroccan [insurance] market is concerned, we have intelligently worked with the Ministry of Finance to establish a protection mechanism against catastrophic events.”
The “catastrophic events,” the FMSAR chair went on to explain, include natural disasters and systemic fluctuations within national and international markets. The goal of the collaboration with the ministry is to create more appropriate conditions for insurance in Morocco.
The vision is to enable Morocco to protect Moroccans from market shocks and fluctuations, while also exporting its expertise internationally, especially to fellow African countries with similar challenges but fewer resources.
Other participants, including panelists and speakers, nodded at Bensalah’s observations, despite the wide-ranging perspectives from which they looked at the conference’s theme. Some mentioned geographic, economic, geopolitical, structural, and climatic risks as the “new delimitations of the coming frontiers of insurability.”
Morocco’s economy minister Mohamed Benchaaboun, who was also a keynote speaker on the inaugural day, echoed Bensalah’s sentiments. Benchaaboun spoke about Morocco’s efforts to meet the needs of less fortunate Moroccans with insurance and reinsurance coverage.
“Faced with new and more complex risks,” Benchaaboun said, Morocco has worked on “improving its creativity and adaptability” to “expand the borders of insurability” in Morocco.
In doing so, Morocco is striving to further improve its investment markets and “fully enter into the digital age.”
The goal of such an effective entry in the age of digitization, Benchaaboun suggested, is to ensure the success of a planned policy of “inclusive insurance” by including children, women, and rural Morocco in the country’s new insurance equation.
At the same time, the minister argued, in line with its continental leadership, Morocco seeks to exploit “Africa’s double economic and demographic dynamics” to bring insurability to a new level in the continent.
The minister called for the “moralization” of public actions, saying that Morocco wants to keep investing in expanding continental cooperation and solidarity.
The objective of such continental actions, he suggested, would be to realize “financial inclusion” by sustaining profitability in Morocco and expanding the country’s presence in as many African insurance markets as possible.
Mali, guest of honor
Beyond panels and keynote speeches that highlighted the critical importance of continental solidarity for Morocco’s emerging vision of South-South actions, the empathic presence of a delegation from Mali was one of the culminating points of the event’s first day.
The West African country is the 2019 event’s guest country.
Moroccan insurance companies expect to strengthen collaboration with Mali. The cooperation seeks to “limit the risks and maximize the opportunities” of the new disruptive digital age of new insurance-related technologies.
In his keynote speech, Oumar N’doye, chairman of the Insurance Companies Committees of Mali (CCAM), reiterated his country’s gratitude to Morocco, which he said has been an important partner over the past 5-10 years.
“Morocco’s presence in Mali in various sectors is a statement to the strong friendship and quasi-parental ties binding our two countries,” N’doye said. He added that bolstering Morocco-Mali relations is part of the “imperative South-South cooperation to dare cross the new frontiers of insurability.”
The inaugural ceremony’s plenary session ended with a signature of agreement framework between Morocco’s FMSAR and Mali’s CCAM. The agreement is a convention of technical cooperation to “make South-South more fruitful,” according to FMSAR’s Hassan Bensalah.
“For us, cooperating with the rest of Africa is not a desire; it is a priority,” he said.