The impact of COVID-19 on the Rwandan insurance sector
The impact of COVID-19 on the Rwandan insurance sector3 November, 2020 •
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying containment and mitigation measures have affected and disrupted the operations of industries around the globe. This report explores the impact of COVID-19 on the Rwanda insurance sector
Rwanda was the first African country to implement a national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. Lockdown measures included the closure and suspension of domestic travel, schools and places of worship, the ban of public gatherings and restrictions on non-essential services.
Stakeholder interviews were conducted and a rapid industry survey was rolled out by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR), in partnership with Rwanda Insurers Association (ASSAR), to understand the extent to which Rwanda’s insurance sector has been affected by COVID-19 and identify the key challenges and opportunities arising from the crisis.
The pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in the insurance sector while also highlighting opportunities to develop the sector. As the insurance sector was not initially considered an essential service, insurers’ operations, which to a large extent require physical interactions, were affected. The COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, has had impacts on insurers’ ability to launch new products, conclude sales, collect premiums, service customer and process and pay claims. At the same time, the pandemic is impacting insurers’ balance sheets as investment returns are negatively affected by the ensuing economic crisis triggered by COVID-19.
However, the pandemic also provides opportunities for the insurance sector and insurance regulator to drive insurance market development. This focus note presents:
- The impact of COVID-19 on insurers in Rwanda
- Priorities for insurers and regulators over the short, medium and long-term to support the insurance sector’s continued development amidst the COVID-19 pandemic