By Rosemary Onuoha
THE insurance industry recorded 22 percent increase in gross premium income, year-on-year, to N315 billion in the third quarter (Q3’18) from N258 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017 (Q3’17).
Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, disclosed this while delivering the keynote address at a workshop for insurance journalists in Lagos on Friday. He said that gross claim figure for the period under review increased by 30 percent to N143 billion from N110 billion in 2017.
Kari who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner, Technical, Mr. Sunday Thomas, noted that the Commission is rolling out various initiatives with the main objective of deepening and broadening insurance penetration in the country.
He said, “It has become a common saying that insurance is underperforming in Nigeria, with dismal percentages and unflattering comparisons trotted out to reinforce this position. While one may not disagree that the industry is performing less than optimal potential, the insurance industry has not been static. All our indices have grown steadily though at a slow pace over the past few years.
“The outlook may not be as rosy as we all would have liked but NAICOM sees the silver lining and is fully committed to making the most of it. We have set for ourselves a clear, unambiguous task: to improve the aggregate numbers by enabling individual operators to optimally serve a much larger customer pool with a more varied basket of products.
“The end game for us is to increase the insurance uptake ratio among the Nigerian populace and we have a number of initiatives in place towards achieving this.
“Financial inclusion is one of the tools we envisage to help us improve market penetration. The initiative is premised on the fact that getting the mass of the financially excluded to embrace insurance in one form or another will have a positive impact.
“Accordingly, insurance companies are being encouraged to have a buy-in into our microinsurance initiatives for the Nigerian market.
“The Takaful market is still grossly under accessed by the public, and there is therefore, the need for aggressive promotion in aid of financial inclusion.
“In addition, efforts are being made to expand the distribution channels for insurance products because the traditional channels are becoming too restrictive and suboptimal. Whereas bancassurance has received the most attention, there are other initiatives to reach out to the public”.
He said the Commission has developed a guideline for the creation of State Insurance Producers (SIP), adding that it is expected that state governments’ participation in enforcement of compulsory classes of insurance will enhance compliance and deepening of the market.