Experts optimistic on insurance industry’s growth

Insurance

Insurance underwriters and regulators who spoke at the 2018 end of year workshop organised by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), said they are optimistic that collaborative efforts would take the insurance industry to its rightful place in the finance sector, and contribute significantly to growth.

However, they called on the media to assist the industry in publicising its activities and projecting the industry’s image positively to raise public confidence.

Speaking on the theme of the workshop, “Appraising 2018 and Projecting 2019; State Insurance Producer (SIP) in Perspective,” the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance (Technical), Sunday Thomas, decried that it is a common to hear the sector is underperforming in Nigeria, with dismal percentages and unflattering comparisons to reinforce this position.

Thomas, who represented the Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Muhammed Kari, said while one may not disagree that the industry is performing less than its optimal potential, it has not been static, as indices have also grown steadily, though at a slow pace over the past few years.

“The gross premium as at the third quarter was N315 billion, a 22% increase over the N258 billion for 2017 in the same period. The Gross claim figure for third quarter 2018 was N143 billion, a 30% increase over the N110 billion reported for the same period in 2017. We anticipate the final figures for 2018 to be significant indeed.

“The outlook may not be as rosy as we all would have liked, but NAICOM sees the silver lining and is fully committed to making the most of it. We have set for ourselves a clear, unambiguous task: to improve the aggregate numbers by enabling individual operators to optimally serve a much larger customer pool with a more varied basket of products.

“The end game for us is to increase the insurance uptake ratio among the Nigerian populace and we have a number of initiatives in place towards achieving this.”

“Financial inclusion is one of the tools we envisage to help us improve market penetration. The initiative is premised on the fact that getting the mass of the financially excluded to embrace insurance in one form or another will have a positive impact,” he said.

Accordingly, insurance companies are being encouraged to buy-in into the micro-insurance initiatives for the Nigerian market, citing the Takaful market as still grossly under-accessed by the public, and the need for its aggressive promotion to aid financial inclusion.

Contributing, the President of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Eddie Efekoha, said the industry has huge potential that is yet to be tapped, reiterating micro-insurance scheme as one of the segments still open to the market.

Efekoha, who called for collaborative efforts, said there is a need to develop that segment of the market, where the industry has not done so much.

The Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and Group Managing Director, NEM Insurance Plc, Tope Smart, called on the media to support the sector in its drive to deepen insurance penetration and contribution to growth, describing the timing of the workshop as most suitable.

Also speaking, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NSIA Insurance Plc, who is also the Deputy Chairman, Insurance Committee on Media and Publicity, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu, said there is such a need to deepen insurance as a message in Nigeria.

“In my engagement with NAIPCO and the kind of ideas I have come to hear from some of your members, I’m completely convinced that if we send insurance messages through this body, this hope and desire we have to actually deepen insurance in Nigeria will actually become a reality,” she said.

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