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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

FRA wants to make life insurance compulsory for recipients of subsidized financing for SMEs

FRA wants to make life insurance compulsory for recipients of subsidized financing for SMEs: It appears that the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) wants to impose mandatory life insurance coverage on all beneficiaries of SME loans, holding a workshop with NGOs and SME finance organizations to discuss the measure on Tuesday, Al Mal reports. The stated purpose of the initiative, according to FRA Chairman Mohamed Omran, is to ensure insurance coverage on some 2.4 mn entrepreneurs, who have received around EGP 8.4 bn in SME loans as of 1Q2018. FRA is proposing some form a collective life insurance policy for a number of loan recipients in which they pay a set and minimal premium of no greater than EGP 4 per month. FRA has made insurance for SMEs a crucial component of its strategy to reform the wider insurance sector, which it is undertaking primarily through amendments to the Insurance Act.

Take this as one part trial balloon, one part bureaucratic maneuvering: The SME financing program is from banks to businesses and so is regulated by CBE. And GAFI is, in most respects, the base line “regulator” of SMEs. The FRA’s standing to impose an insurance requirement on a *non-financial* company taking a loan from a commercial bank is vague, at best (to us, at least. You lawyerly types out there might have a different view. If so, let us know and we’ll report back here to the community.)

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