Stakeholders in the insurance industry on Sunday charged operators to do more in 2022 to increase penetration and its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an appraisal of the outgone year and their expectations for the industry in 2022.
Mr Valentine Ojumah, Managing Director/CEO FBNInsurance, told NAN he expected insurance companies to upgrade their level of efficiency, digitalisation and financial security to promote the industry in year 2022.
Ojumah noted that the insurance industry had not performed as expected since 2020, due to the COVID -19 pandemic and irresponsibility of some of the industry players.
“Quite a few industry players are dragging the sector back.
“The issue of recapitalisation of the industry which had remained a problem to implement since 2019 is still very important and this is evident in the inability of some of the operators to pay claims as and or when due.
” The fact that this still happens means that a few companies are still either insolvent or working with inadequate or low capital,” he said.
According to him, underwriters must add value to the industry by raising their game through provision of a level of customer engagement and satisfaction.
Ojumah charged operators to digitalise their operations by increasing their investment in digital and retail business.
“The more insurance companies focus on retail business, the more insurance will come to the fore in the minds of the people and penetration will increase.
“Although, retail insurance is extremely challenging because we are dealing with a populace that not only do not like insurance but do not understand it and are not interested to learn,” he said.
The managing director appealed to the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Insurance bill to address the loopholes in the current insurance law.
He said that the law, which had been in existence since 2003, was overdue for a review.
“Once the insurance bill is passed into law, the issue of recapitalisation of the industry as planned by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in 2020 but stalled by a court order, among other issues would be resolved,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr Tope Daramola, also said that players in the industry expect much more from the sector than it was able to deliver in the outgone year.
Daramola said the expectation was as a result of the landmark achievement recorded by the industry when it hosted the Africa Insurance Organisation ( AIO) Conference in September 2021 in Lagos.
“The AIO conference brought continental attention to Nigeria , following the emergence of one of our own , Mr Tope Smart as the President of AIO and participation of the Presidency during the event.
“This opened up the high quarters for the industry and must the sustained, ” he said. According to him, the industry must be able to consolidate on the strategic engagement already established with the high quarters.
He said this would translate into better reputation, acceptance and financial strength for the industry. Daramola expressed optimism that the year 2022 would be better than the former, following decline in the rate of COVID-19 infections.
The broker noted that on the economic outlook, the current trend of inflation viz-a-viz devaluation of naira may be worrisome. ”This is because the insurance industry derives its strength from the economy and whatever affects the economy also affects the industry, ” he said.
NAN reports that in 2021, another notable event that occurred aside the AIO conference was the release a three-year strategic plan by NAICOM for implementation between 2021 to 2023, to transform the industry.
The plan was hinged on five pillars, which include: entrenching effective and efficient service delivery, ensuring safe, sound and stable insurance sector, adequately protecting policyholders and public interest, improving trust and confidence in the insurance sector.
The last is, encouraging innovation and promotion of insurance market development.
Insurers under the aegis of the Nigeria Insurance Association (NIA) paid over N9 billion as claims that resulted from the aftermath of the October 2020 #EndSars protest .
NAICOM also began discussion with operators to review the N5000 third party motor insurance policy in 2022.
During the year under review, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance also indicated its willingness and readiness to insure all its assets across the Federation, among other issues. (NAN)