NicozDiamond chief decries hostile operating environment

NICOZDIAMOND Insurance Ltd chairman Phineas Chingono says Zimbabwe’s operating environment for the insurance industry is not conducive at the moment as there are several hindrances including the aspect of being rated as a security risk de

stination.



NicozDiamond, one of the major players in the country’s insurance industry, this week released its audited financial results for the year ended December 31 where gross premiums written shot up by 470% in historical terms. Net premiums written also went up by 461% while claims incurred increased by 266%.



Chingono however said during the period under review the operating environment for the insurance industry was challenging.


“The perceived Zimbabwe risk and global threats of terrorism made treaty negotiations difficult resulting in the hardening of insurance terms and conditions,” the chairman said.


The international community, including the influential Economist Intelligence Unit, has rated Zimbabwe as a high-risk destination and business partner.

While the country was once a tourism haven it has now become a shunned regional destination despite boasting several attractions such as the Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and the Eastern Highlands.


Last week the United States renewed its advisory against travel to several nations.


The US State Department extended the warning that began last August saying there remains a threat of future terrorist attacks in East Africa, especially in Kenya.


Eleven nations in the region including Zimbabwe were affected by the US move.


The Kenyan government said at least 13 800 hotel employees in the Kenyan coast had been laid off in the past 10 months due to negative travel advisories by the US and UK. The number is expected to rise after the US government extended the travel advisories last week.


As a result of the travel alerts the flow of tourists has declined in Zimbabwe and Kenya causing bed occupancy in most resorts, hotels and lodges to fall.


In Kenya this has been as much as 65%. The Zimbabwean tourism authorities however keep informing the public that figures are increasing.


The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers has already called on the US and its allies to revoke the terror alert to its citizens.