The Nigerian Insurance sector needs the right mechanism to thrive and take the lead in Africa.

This was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari during the 47th Africa Insurance Organisations (AIO) Conference held in Lagos recently, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Buhari said that “there is a great future for insurance industry in Africa,” urging insurance firms in Nigeria to take advantage of ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to grow the non-oil sector of the economy through innovations.

What the President is saying

President Buhari commended the industry for identifying with the government through the provision of life insurance packages for frontline medical and paramedical personnel in the fight against Coronavirus.

He noted that the insurance sector will play a vital role in the diversification of the economy by bringing “necessary stability, economic sustainability, revenue generation, job creation and financial inclusiveness.

“There is a great future for the Insurance industry in Africa. We only need to put the right mechanism in place for it to thrive. I assure you that this administration has and will continue to support insurance growth in Nigeria and Africa at large.

“I commend the leadership of the AIO for the resilience, foresight and perseverance in ensuring that the African insurance market strives to meet its expectations in the global market notwithstanding the prevailing challenges,” 

What Vice President Osinbajo said

Also at the virtual event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in his closing remarks, charged Nigerian insurers to work towards having homegrown international insurance conglomerates like the country’s banks with operations in many African countries.

He said, “Nigerian financial services companies, especially banks, are already in many African countries, the likes of Zenith, Access, UBA.

“How about insurance companies? We should now be looking at developing homegrown international African insurance conglomerates. The time is now.”

Osinbajo tasked insurance companies on the continent to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase productivity, adding that every smart economic grouping, whether governments or businesses, must be thinking, planning and strategising for these new times.

According to the vice president, there will obviously be opportunities for new insurance products and solutions, especially, in the property and casualty segment of the business.

He listed the opportunities inherent in the AfCTA for the insurance sector, saying more trade in goods will mean greater need for insurance services.

Osinbajo said brokers, in particular, should expect a boom; demand for trade facilitation services will rise, but obviously companies that already have market presence in other African countries, even if by collaboration, will benefit more than others.

Osinbajo noted that insurance companies must also be prepared for the systemic nature of climate-induced damage, with the possibilities of market failures and more system-wide destabilisation.

What the Commissioner for Insurance is saying

Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, said that the support the sector received from the presidency during the conference would energise the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to regulate the market in a way that would make a difference.

He noted that the sector would soon experience a turnaround as the regulator would be unfolding policies that would drive the objective of the industry from time to time.

Thomas said, “Government is the driver of the economy by empowering the private sector. Policy formulation that factors in insurance will now have more attention than ever before.”