Ipec & NSSA partner the media

Zimbabwe Independent

The Insurance and Pension Commission (Ipec), in a strategic partnership with the media, is advancing the national financial inclusion agenda by improving financial literacy through raising awareness on insurance and pensions.

Speaking during the recently held graduation of journalists who completed an 11-month Nssa/Ipec mentorship programme, Commissioner Grace Muradzikwa said the objective of the programme is to raise insurance and pensions awareness among members of the ‘fourth estate’ in order to inspire interest and media excellence in the coverage of insurance and pension matters.

“As a society, we need knowledgeable and well-trained business, financial and economic journalists to serve as watchdogs and chroniclers of the fundamentals and events that shape our socio-economic status.

It is our belief as Ipec that if journalists are equipped with information, the whole nation would be adequately informed,” she said.

Launched in 2017, the programme is part of a quest to educate the nation and improve the perception and uptake of insurance and pension coverage.

Financial literacy

Muradzikwa said it was not by coincidence that Ipec targeted journalists for the mentorship programme. The decision was arrived at after careful consideration and recognition of the role of media in educating the society.

“It is pleasing to note that the programme is growing from strength to strength significantly delivering increased awareness of insurance and pensions matters to the public. Indeed, policyholders and pensioners are increasingly becoming aware of their rights and responsibilities,” she said.
She urged the graduands to continue with the work of demystifying insurance and pension issues.

“Your work is critical in ensuring that insurance and pension matters are understandable and accessible to the public to promote informed decision-making on savings for retirement and risk management,”
Sharing some insights on Ipec’s envisaged strategies for enhancing financial literacy through partnership with the media, Muradzikwa said recognising the most committed journalists through awards was one of the key areas.

Partnerships with universities offering media programmes to incorporate insurance and pension matters in their curricular to enable media students graduate with good understanding of insurance and pension matters was another strategy that they had formulated.

“Engaging the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to include insurance and pension courses in broader education curricular; and structured media campaigns are also the the other strategies,”she said.

Confidence building

Confidence building in insurance and pensions is among the 2020 strategic objectives for IPEC. This strategic objective was set on the back of declining consumer confidence, particularly in life insurance business following the episodes of loss of value experienced in the last decade.

It is Ipec’s conviction that the objective of restoring confidence cannot be attained without strong partnership with the media fraternity. It is, therefore, important that members of the fourth estate partner with Ipec in acknowledging the positives being registered in the industry and efforts underway to address legacy challenges affecting consumer confidence.

“Whilst it may take many years to restore lost consumer confidence in the industry, it may also take one sensational and unreliable article to destroy the same confidence. Research suggests that media news contribute to market panics and irrational exuberance. In this regard, I would like to acknowledge the positive coverage that we have received after the publication of the quarterly market reports, especially on actual claims paid reflecting the relevance of the industry,” said Muradzikwa.

She calledl upon the media and the graduating journalists in particular, to uphold the following cardinal principles of journalism:-
Truth and Accuracy – getting the facts right;

Independence;

Fairness and Impartiality;

Humanity; and

Accountability.

“I also urge you to keep the diversity of your audience in mind as you report on insurance and pension issues, which include students, families, businesses, investors, policymakers and business leaders. My plea is that more focus should be put on the general public, policyholders, ordinary pensioners and retail investors by informing them, for example, about investment opportunities or complex financial topics in simple terms, she said.

Muradzikwa also made a clarion call on the insurance and pension players to be customer-centric as they roll out their products.

“Restoration of confidence should be at the fore of the 2020 agenda to ensure sustainability of the industry, particularly the risk business of the life sector,” she said.

Reporting in a Global Digital World

Speaking on the global digital world Muradzikwa said it was critical to note that through the ubiquitous digital media, the world has been reduced to a global village.

We have witnessed increased consolidation, globalisation and the digital transformation of commerce, markets and business models. There is a growing trend towards a global market and the breakdown of geographic boundaries due to the advent of technology. Mass media has also come to the fore through social media as ordinary citizens have become de facto journalists,”
“Lack of reporting on insurance and pensions by the mainstream media will leave consumers at the mercy of citizen journalists, whose work may only be driven by personal agendas.”

Challenge to Journalists

Meanwhile Muradzikwa shared on challenges faced by journalists as they report on insurance and pension matters which include the following:-
Focusing on the plight of the pensioners – so as to inform interventions to improve their plight.

Unpacking issues covered in quarterly and annual reports as IPEC will continue supporting you through media briefings;

Working with both IPEC and industry players to reduce unclaimed benefits;
Reporting on performance of insurance entities including reporting developments in terms of mergers and acquisitions, earnings announcements and corporate governance.

Acting as watchdogs over the corporate and financial sector; and
Challenge pension funds in contribution arrears status to deal with the issue and not infringe on workers’ rights.

Message to Institutional Partners

In her message to institutional partners Muradzikwa said the event marked IPEC’s strong partnership with not just media houses but insurance companies and pension funds as well as the National Social Security (NSSA).

“I wish to express my profound appreciation to insurance and pension practitioners, and colleagues from NSSA who have been part of the resource persons for this programme. We value your commitment to impart knowledge to colleagues in the media fraternity. Your continued support is highly appreciated,” she said.

The commissioner also acknowledged the financial support received from the industry in making the event a success. Special mention was made to Old Mutual, Nicoz Diamond, CIMAS, ICZ, ZAPF and LOA who donated generously towards the Awards that were given out.

Muradzikwa congratulated all graduating and winning journalists. Appreciating the impact that their articles have had and wished them great success in their field of journalism.

She promised that the Commission would continue to build the capacity of journalists so that they can interpret the technical insurance and pension.

“ Our desire is for the training to be decentralised to ensure that journalists from other provinces are also equipped with accurate information so that they can report insurance and pension issues from an informed position.

“I urge our esteemed Journalists to continue playing their indispensable role in a democracy as people cannot govern themselves without being informed.

Panics and irrational exuberance. In this regard, I would like to acknowledge the positive coverage that we have received after the publication of the quarterly market reports, especially on actual claims paid reflecting the relevance of the industry,” said Muradzikwa.

She calledl upon the media and the graduating journalists in particular, to uphold the following cardinal principles of journalism:-

Truth and Accuracy – getting the facts right;

Independence;

Fairness and Impartiality;

Humanity; and

Accountability.

“I also urge you to keep the diversity of your audience in mind as you report on insurance and pension issues, which include students, families,businesses, investors, policymakers and business leaders. My plea is that more focus should be put on the general public, policyholders, ordinary pensioners and retail investors by informing them, for example, about investment opportunities or complex financial topics in simple terms, she said.

Muradzikwa also made a clarion call on the insurance and pension players to be customer-centric as they roll out their products.

“Restoration of confidence should be at the fore of the 2020 agenda to ensure sustainability of the industry, particularly the risk business of the life sector,” she said.

Global digital world

Speaking on the global digital world Muradzikwa said it was critical to note that through the ubiquitous digital media, the world has been reduced to a global village. We have witnessed increased consolidation, globalisation and the digital transformation of commerce, markets and business models. There is a growing trend towards a global market and the breakdown of geographic boundaries due to the advent of technology. Mass media has also come to the fore through social media as ordinary citizens have become de facto journalists,”

“Lack of reporting on insurance and pensions by the mainstream media will leave consumers at the mercy of citizen journalists, whose work may only be driven by personal agendas.”

Challenge to journalists

Meanwhile, Muradzikwa shared on challenges faced by journalists as they report on insurance and pension matters which include the following:-
Focussing on the plight of the pensioners —so as to inform interventions to improve their plight.

Unpacking issues covered in quarterly and annual reports as Ipec will continue supporting you through media briefings;

Working with both Ipec and industry players to reduce unclaimed benefits;
Reporting on performance of insurance entities including reporting developments in terms of mergers and acquisitions, earnings announcements and corporate governance.

Acting as watchdogs over the corporate and financial sector; and
Challenge pension funds in contribution arrears status to deal with the issue and not infringe on workers’ rights.

Institutional partners

In her message to institutional partners, Muradzikwa said the event marked Ipec’s strong partnership with not just media houses but insurance companies and pension funds as well as the National Social Security (Nssa).

“I wish to express my profound appreciation to insurance and pension practitioners, and colleagues from Nssa who have been part of the resource persons for this programme. We value your commitment to impart knowledge to colleagues in the media fraternity. Your continued support is highly appreciated,” she said.

The commissioner also acknowledged the financial support received from the industry in making the event a success. Special mention was made to Old Mutual, Nicoz Diamond, CIMAS, ICZ, ZAPF and LOA who donated generously towards the Awards that were given out. Muradzikwa congratulated all graduating and winning journalists.

She expressed appreciation for the impact that their articles have had and wished them great success in their field of journalism. She promised that Ipec would continue to build the capacity of journalists so that they can interpret the technical aspects of insurance and pension.

“Our desire is for the training to be decentralised to ensure that journalists from other provinces are also equipped with accurate information so that they can report insurance and pension issues from an informed position.

“I urge our esteemed Journalists to continue playing their indispensable role in a democracy as people cannot govern themselves without being informed.

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