By Rosemary Onuoha
The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has projected a 400 per cent growth for agricultural insurance in the next two years.
The Commission, however, lamented the present low insurance penetration among farmers noting that only about 75,000 farmers are covered by any form of insurance in the country despite the large number of farmers which runs into millions.
Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, disclosed this in Lagos, stressing that the insurance sector has the capacity to do more agricultural insurance.
Kari who stated this when the International Finance Corporation, IFC, signed an agreement with Africa Reinsurance Corporation, Africa Re, to help thousands of small holder Nigerian farmers easily access insurance to protect their crops and livelihoods, said that a situation where only about 75,000 risks in the agricultural sector are covered by insurance is not enough.
Kari said: “The insurance industry is currently covering about 75,000 risks in the agricultural sector, however, we can do more because some African countries have gone far ahead of us in the area of agric insurance. However, I believe that in the next two years, we will meet every target we have set for the industry and our agric insurance penetration will grow by 400 per cent.”
While highlighting some of the challenges confronting the growth of agric insurance in Nigeria, Kari said that lack of knowledge is the biggest challenge confronting the growth of the business.
He said: “Lack of knowledge is the biggest challenge confronting the growth of agric insurance so we need more training of insurance practitioners to grow penetration in that line of business.”
He, however, advised insurance companies to study the terrain before joining the IFC, Africa Re partnership, and not just rush into being a partner just because others are joining; rather they should take time to study the agricultural environment.
Also speaking on the development, Managing Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Mr. Oye Hassan-Odukale said that the insurance sector is still building capacity on agric insurance, adding that government should create a level playing field for agric insurance to thrive so that more insurers can come in because it is a very large market.
Also speaking, Managing Director of AIICO Insurance Plc, Mr. Edwin Igbiti said that the insurance sector has been lagging behind in the coverage of agriculture, however, with the coming on board of IFC and Africa Re, the growth statistics of agric insurance will double in the next four years.