Asst. Bus. Editor
As the D-Day for 2015 edition of Champion Insurance Day cum Luncheon draws near and stakeholders busy adjusting schedules in order not to miss the insurance flagship awareness platform organized by Champion Newspapers Limited, CNL, the occasion is set to analyze the impact of terrorism, political risk, flooding that had recently shattered many families across Nigeria.
This is the 16th edition of the flagship insurance event.
To be dissected by the insurance industry own, the Group Managing Director, Royal Exchange Plc, Mr. Chike Mokwunye has been confirmed to be the chief speaker on the Theme paper: Sustaining Insurance Growth Amidst Unfolding Mass Event.
In the lineup also are the Director General, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Sunday Thomas, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Cornerstone Insurance Plc, and the former Commissioner for Insurance in the National Insurance Commission, the Abuja based insurance regulatory agency in Nigeria, Chief (Dr) Ladipo Bailey as paper discussants, while the Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari will deliver the keynote address.
Mokwunye, who believes that insurance has potential to grow rapidly in the country given the size of the population and the fast emergence of the middle class said that there are other segments of the business that are still untapped, citing agriculture which, according to him, contributes over seven per cent to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as one of the key areas where insurance can experience real growth.
According to the management of CNL, this year’s event seeks to forge an enduring partnership between government agencies and the private sector with a view to charting a sustainable insurance sector in the country.
The Group Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of CNL, Dr. (Mrs) Nwadiuto Iheakanwa said the 2015 edition of Champion Insurance Day /Lecture holds a lot of promises for insurance industry as the event will provide a veritable platform for industry stakeholders to review the sector’s performances, highlight challenges and proffer solutions to the nagging issue of insurance penetration among the populace.
According to her, there is no better time than now for the industry to make a strategic move to arrest the situation. Her argument tallies with that of other experts who have agreed that the bloated middle class population is an attractive market for insurance in particular and the larger economy in the country
On his part CNL’s Managing Editor, Mr. Luke Okoro said that insurance has no business playing a back bencher to South Africa in insurance matters given its potential. He noted that the sector’s less than one percent contribution to the GDP is unacceptable in a country of about 170 million people even as he urged stakeholders to rally at the insurance day lecture to proffer solution to penetration challenges facing by insurance sector.
Meanwhile, recent statistics showed that Nigeria has a working population of about 14.3 million adult while insurance penetration is less than a percentage and insurance contribution to the economy is about 0.6percent, a development that is attributed to market indiscipline, price war among operators and poor awareness of the insuring publics in matters of insurance.
In addition, innovative product offering, redefined distribution channels, regulations and training/ awareness coupled with customer oriented and affordable products are strategies, the industry can use to grow its penetration in the country, according to experts.
For instance the Group Managing Director/CEO of Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Ganiyu Musa who spoke in a paper titled: “Critical Success Factors for Market Expansion and Penetration Strategies” at the 2015 edition of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Insurance Professionals’ Forum, held in Abeokuta, Ogun State recently posited that operators must maintain price discipline to deal with rate-cutting issues,
He added that: “Increase in micro-insurance penetration in new segments such as agriculture can go a long way to boost the industry penetration in the grassroots, while introduction of Takaful insurance (Islamic-compliant insurance) to rural parts of the country would further deepen insurance penetration in the country.
Micro-insurance is another untapped segment by insurance industry which experts said that full exploitation of the opportunities offered by the banking distribution platforms as a means of growth is a better channel of selling insurance as number of banks depositors has increased.
Again, leveraging on the 126 million active lines (mobile phone ownership in urban (84.9%) and rural (55.6%) and the need to use technology to improve products distribution and boost insurance penetration are sure ways of achieving boosting insurance penetration in the country, according to one analyst.
The Cornerstone boss further stressed the need for constant training and retraining of industry manpower to meet changing customer demands adding that there is need to develop series of training and customized insurance offerings to SMEs with the nature of risks faced by that segment of the market in mind.
He said that partnership with banks and other financial institutions on the on-going financial inclusion and literacy programmes will drive insurance literacy and awareness in the country coupled with joint intensive awareness campaign among operators to educate the masses on benefits of insurance via Media Relations, Radio, TV, and Prints Publication will boost the industry penetration.