By Rosemary Onuoha
Operators in the insurance industry have expressed optimism that the agreement for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency, ATI, by President Muhammadu Buhari will have a multiplier effect on the sector, even as it will enhance the local market in Africa.
Operators who spoke to Vanguard on the development noted that the move will engender economic activity within the sector as such will improve contribution of the insurance sector to the nation’s GDP.
It will be recalled that President Buhari, last week, signed the instrument of accession to the agreement for the establishment of the ATI.
Speaking to Vanguard, Managing Director of Anchor Insurance Plc, Mr. Augustine Ebose said that the multiplier effect of the development on the country is enormous.
Ebose said: “The insurance industry has been waiting for this approval for years and with President Muhammadu Buhari giving the approval, the move has given enhancement to the Nigerian market.
“With this move, international businesses that are operating in the country will consider Nigeria insurance market first before going outside. In essence, the multiplier effect on the Nigerian insurance sector is enormous.
“With this move, local players also have the liberation to operate in the African market. It could be likened to the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, setup where you don’t need passport or visa to go to other West African countries, rather there is free trade.
“As such there is express freeness to do insurance within Africa,” Ebose said.
Also speaking, President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, Sir Muftau Oyegunle stated that the government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari had demonstrated first-hand its commitment to the growth of the insurance industry in Nigeria.
Oyegunle said: “ATI is a Pan-African institution that provides political risk insurance to companies, investors, and lenders interested in doing business in Africa.
“Its deep African roots have positioned the organisation to understand and assess the risks synonymous with the region and to help mitigate them.
“Its reputation, as well as its credibility, financial strength, underwriting capacity, its robust risk solutions and risk assessment, have ensured that it is credibly rated by clients.”
Oyegunle added that the growth of the Agency would go a long way in creating an enabling platform for foreign trade and equally engender economic activity within the sector that would ensure improved contribution of the insurance sector to the nation’s GDP.
It will be recalled that the ratification was adopted at Grand Bay in the Republic of Mauritius on the Eighteenth Day of May, 2000 and the purpose of the Agency is to provide, facilitate, encourage and otherwise develop the provision of, or the support for, insurance, including coinsurance and reinsurance, guarantees, and other financial instruments and services, for purposes of trade, investment and other productive activities in African states to supplement those that may be offered by the public or private sector, or in cooperation with the public or private sector.
Highlighting the timely nature of the Act, Oyegunle stated that it was coming at a time when the insurance industry was in need of all the benefits that the Act would bring to the fore.
He stated that the signing of the Act by President Muhammadu Buhari would inspire confidence in foreign entities and investors who have an eye on the Nigerian Market and this would result in more partnerships as well as exchange of ideas and technology.