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Insured Kariakoo traders receive pay after fire guts iconic market

Monday July 19 2021
Kkoo pic

Juma Khamis Masanja, who sells horticultural products at the Kariakoo Market (centre), speaks shortly after he received his insurance claim settlement from Britam in Dar es Salaam at the weekend. The claim was based on a fire outbreak that ravaged the market last week. Masanja is flanked by Britam’s chief operations officer, Vincent Tivai (left), and Stanbic Bank’s head of Consumer and Net-Worth Clients, Omari Mtiga. PHOTO | GADIOSA LAMTEY

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Kariakoo Market traders who had insurance cover have every reason to smile as they will soon get back to business after the recent fire outbreak.

This follows a swift payment of their insurance claims by Britam.

At the same time, Stanbic Bank Tanzania, which has bancassurance arrangements with Britam, said at the weekend that it had issued a three-month repayment relief to all the traders who had taken loans from the lender.

Fire ravaged the Kariakoo Central Market in the commercial capital on Saturday, July 10, destroying the businesses of some 220 traders.

The popular market - which also serves traders from the landlocked countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as some parts of Kenya and Mozambique - was destroyed, devastating traders dealing in veterinary medicine, farm equipment, seeds, meat and fish meant for the export market, minerals and several other commodities.

But, for Juma Khamis Masanja, Anna Mzena, Given Sanga and Kidogo Investments, the losses from the fire will soon be forgotten, as they received Sh18 million in insurance claim payments at the weekend.

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The four had insured their businesses against fire and burglary through a bancassurance product offered in partnership between Britam and Stanbic Bank.

“As we are talking, the money is already in their bank accounts. Though the law requires us to pay the claims within 45 days, we have found no reasons of delaying it further.

“We have paid them within six days since the incident occurred,” said Mr Vincent Tivai, the Britam chief operations officer.”

According to the head of consumer and net worth clients at Stanbic Bank, Mr Omari Mtiga, since the incident occurred, the lender – which is also a tenant at the Kariakoo Market - had been working with relevant government institutions to bring the situation to normalcy.

“We have also issued a three-month repayment relief to our clients who had been affected by the incident,” he said.

The acting director of planning, research and marketing from Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (Tira), Mr Zakaria Muyengi, said the fire incident at the Kariakoo Main Market should serve as a wakeup for traders to see the importance of insuring their businesses against risks.

He commended Britam for its prompt payment of claims so that those affected by the fire can go back to business.

He said Tira will work with all insurance companies to foster public awareness campaigns that will raise the population of Tanzanians who go for insurance products.

“Currently, 36 percent of Tanzanians are aware of what insurance entails yet it is about 15 percent of the total population that actually have insurance covers,” he said.

The goal, he said, was to raise the number of Tanzanians who are aware of the insurance subject to 80 percent by the year 2030.

The population, covered by insurance products, must also rise to 50 percent by 2030, said Mr Muyengi.

Representing the beneficiaries, Juma Khamis Masanja and Anna Mzena were all smiles that their businesses have managed to come of the fire incident unscathed.

“I now have a better understanding of what insurance is all about.The payments have been prompt. I see myself as a hero,” said Masanja who sells horticultural products at Kariakoo.

For Ms Mzena, the incident was enticing her to venture into the insurance business as an agent.

“We need insurance. Having received these claims on time, I now wish I could have insured up to Sh50 million.

“I am determined to start selling insurance products in the capacity of an agent,” she said.

The Kariakoo Central Market was designed by a Tanzanian architect, the late Mr Beda Amuli, who died on July 10, 2016.

The market was built in 1974.

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