The regulation and supervision of insurance business was directly under the Ministry of Finance as empowered by the 1974 Act. However, the responsibility for the administration of the Act was given to the Ministry of Justice, to ensure compliance. With a desk officer appointed to be in charge of insurance matters at the Finance Ministry, this responsibility was returned to that Ministry. An increase in the number of insurance companies necessitated the appointment of commissioner of insurance at the then Ministry of Finance in 1995. In a bid to improve the efficiency of the financial system in the Gambia, the Central Bank was empowered by the 1997 constitution to assume the regulation and supervision of insurance institutions.
Initially there were two insurance companies operating in The Gambian market. These were the Gambia national Insurance Company Limited and the Northern Assurance Company. The latter was foreign owned in large measure but was later transformed into a wholly locally owned insurance company and has since then been renamed Capital Insurance Company limited. Senegambia Insurance Company Limited was set up in 1981 but discontinued operations in 1996.
Presently there are eleven insurance companies operating in The Gambia These are companies are:
With the exception of Gamstar Life and Health Assurance Company Ltd, Gambia National Insurance Company Ltd and Great Alliance Insurance Company Ltd all these companies operate only non-life insurance. Gamstar Life and Health Assurance Company Ltd is the first separate subsidiary insurance company operating only life and long term insurance in The Gambia.
The need to update the insurance Act 1974 led The Central Bank of The Gambia to substantially revamp its provisions, so that we now have the insurance Act 2003. The Regulation created under the present Act is now being finalised.
This Regulations set out the basic requirements such as paid up capital, deposits for every class of business, the amount of solvency margin and components of its calculation as well as investment requirements amongst others.
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