By Favour Nnabugwu
Insurance operators in the country have agreed to foot N300million estimated cost of a nine months rebranding of the market that is underway. The Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari stated this while briefing the staff of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on the effort of the regulatory body as it concerns the insurance market low penetration and growth inefficiencies inhibiting the speedy progress of the market. Kari who told the Commission’s staff that the Publicity sub-committee of the insurance industry had briefed NAICOM about their plans to rebrand the insurance market expressed appreciation of the market operators to foot the cost.
He said, “The issue of perception has been taken out by the market through the publicity sub-committee of the Insurers Committee. They came and briefed us on the proposal they are submitting to the main committee at the last meeting we had in Lagos, about a robust and rebranding plan which will cost about N300million in 9months. The CFI stated, “They said the market has agreed to foot the bill. We were impressed by the presentation they made here and if they can do that, it is most likely that perception of the industry will change.”
He saw the need for operators to rebrand while the Commission tackles the issue of inefficiencies hampering progress in the market. “But then the issue of inefficiencies was identified to be that of the responsibility of the regulator and the place in the industry because they admitted that it would be a waste of money and of time, if we take care of the perception at the front end and the back end, there is nothing.” He said the delay of approval from the regulatory body to insurance companies had to do with some issues that were not made right for which the commission hold on to approvals until the right things were done.
“If insurance companies do not get their approvals from the regulators on time, if they will still not have statistics, so many issues were identified and there were six sub-committees which each has been tasked with one of the issues to look at and advise the industry. Kari who believed in the initiative of his predecessors emphasised, “Now our roles as a regulator is to try and sort out the inefficiencies and ensure that penetration is improved on. We have decided that the best approach is not to try and reinvent the wheels but intensify the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) because it is robust enough to take us to the promise land.”
He strongly affirmed that the MDRI will not only develop the market but will restructure it while he identified the main thrust of the MDRI through the enforcement of compulsory insurances. “We have been strategizing through the sub-committees, departmental committees and we are still in the interactive level because without publicising it. And we have started contacting stakeholders that will help us in the enforcement and the date has been fixed for the official launching, we will then as an industry come out and do a massive re-launching of the initiative.”
“We believe that if we can improve on the inefficiency of the market and develop the market some more, the market penetration will be the base and the levies we charge will increase in quantum, he said.