By Favour Nnabugwu
THE Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) is currently discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) on plans to increase insurance companies’ participation in marine insurance.
Director-General of NIA, Mr Sunday Thomas who spoke to Vanguard Insurance in Abuja on Thursday, confirmed that the industry has opened discussions with the CBN for insurance companies to get relevant information that would enable them engage the operators in the maritime industry for marine insurance business.
He said that 41 insurance companies are licensed to transact marine insurance business yet those insurers are still grappling with poor market share.
Thomas said the association is also in discussion with the NCS to see how the 41 companies can increase their business volume in marine in line with the relevant laws.
He stated: “We have been having several meetings with the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Customs Service and by the time we finish our discussions and put all the decisions together, the level of insurance involvement in marine insurance will increase.”
He stated that the industry have to develop a system that will allow it to monitor marine business in the country for insurance companies to go after those that applied to banks and customs.
The impact of the CBN new foreign exchange policy on each category of insurance business and resultant risks facing the (re)insurers have been a source of concern to the industry.
However, the industry’s Marine Offices Committee in a report presented to NIA, attributed the dearth marine business to the high rate of staff mobility. The committee called for an adequate training and exposure of marine underwriters in the international practice for proper skill acquisition to cope with the evolving business environment.
“Our clients need expertise to guide them and we must ensure the next generation of insurers are encouraged and trained,” the committee stated.
It also noted amongst the challenges, the need for the marine underwriters to have access to valuable data on their losses/claims that can be used to identify trends and issues, adding that in line with this requirement, a data bank is urgently required.
Meanwhile, global underwriting premium dropped 10.5 percent in 2015 to US$29.9 billion, according to the annual statistical report on the marine insurance market by the International Union ofMarine Insurance (IUMI).
The transport and cargo business line represented the biggest share of total premiums with 52.9 percent, followed by global hull with 25 percent, offshore and energy with 15 percent and marine liability with 7.1 percent.