By Favour Nnabugwu
Africa Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re) is planning massive agriculture insurance with the federal government following its resolve to spread insurance across all spectrum of the country.
Chairman, Board of Directors, Africa Re, Mr. Hassan Boubrik disclosed this at the closing dinner of the 141st board meeting held in Abuja. He said efforts to increase the penetration of insurance in the country must be a collective one.
Boubrik who appreciated the contribution of the stakeholder of the reinsurer to the growth of Africa Re including African development bank, 41 African states, 108 insurance and reinsurance companies, among the shareholders of the group, called for unity to move the industry forward.
He said, “We call on all especially insurance companies, insurance supervisors, and government bodies to work tirelessly to increase the insurance penetration in our population, and to contribute to the provision of risk management solutions to our communities and countries.”
As a composite company providing lifetime covers in over 60 countries spread across Africa, Brazil, Asia and the Middle-east Africa Re is rated A by Standard & Poors, an international rating agency.
“Africa Re is a major industry in Africa in market share. We are also not just in Africa and the Middle-East in terms of size of premium income estimated at $700 million – one of our own major achievement in our financial rating by Standard & Poor.”
The Group Managing Director of African Re, Mr. Cornellie Karekezi explained why the reinsurers decisded to take its board meeting to Abuja this year, “We had our board meetings in Lagos for the last 38 years. And, it is normally a unique opportunity for board directors to interact with staffs that are in Lagos and to interact with the insurance community of Nigeria”.
He noted that, though, the insurance market is in Lagos, the corporation aimed to achieve two-prong targets with the Abuja meeting. “We came to Abuja mainly for two reasons. First, to visit top authorities of Nigeria to discuss some matters of common interest, especially the projects which we intend to do in this country.”
“Two projects are on our minds at the moment. Of course, we are requesting the venue for building residential properties. We have been doing a lot here, and this is our home. We want to locate our head office to Abuja. It’s long due. So, we will come here God’s willing, in the next two to three years, we’ll build our head office, and that is one of the major relocations we have.”
Africa Re also revealed its plans to take on farmers on large scale. “Secondly, we have a project to support Nigerian farmers by providing insurance covers against drought and against other diseases. So this will be with the insurance community and our global partners, especially the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
He said government has two major roles to partake in the insurance of agriculture especially to farmers. “One is to allow you to aggregate farmers, co-operatives, and consolidation of land and so on. Two is to support farmers to pay insurance premium. Everywhere in the world, insurance premium for agriculture has picked up, because of the subsidies of the government.”
Speaking on the impact of recession on insurance business especially as it has to do with Africa Re, the reinsurer’s Deputy Managing Director Mr. Ken Aghoghovbia, said the impact was insignificant to the corporation’s overall business.