Army of Insurance experts across West African region was on Monday challenged to embark on initiatives that will deepen insurance among Africans.
Addressing the delegates from countries in West Africa at the ongoing 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Education Conference of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) in Lagos, Nigeria’s Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said that though insurance industry might be currently plagued with some challenges, but mentioned that there is prospect to be hopeful of a brighter future.
Adeosun, who was represented by Director, Efficiency Unit in the Ministry of Finance, said that Nigeria is one of the countries currently recording low insurance penetration, as most Nigerians do not value the importance of insurance cover to their lives.
She also said the Federal Government though understand the challenges affecting the patronage of insurance products and services in the country, noting that, that was the reason why the government through her ministry, inaugurated a committee comprising of all arms in insurance industry in February, this year, hoping that the committee will come up with perfect Consolidated Insurance Bill that will drive the industry forward.
“Government is trying all it could to address the poor performance of insurance in the country through several initiative’ and we hope the Consolidated Insurance Bill will address some of these challenges”, she stressed.
While charging regulators in the region to create appropriate frameworks and inventions to attract insurance investors into the region, this, she added, will lead to rapid growth, patronage and profitability of West African insurance market.
To her, “there is urgent need for collaboration among regulators to share information about underwriting firms within the region to curb unethical practices, money laundering, terrorism, among others.”
Insurance Veteran, Professor Joe Irukwu, on his part, believes the industry has witnessed tremendous growth in the last three decades, calling on the current practitioners to practice imbibe the ethics of professionalism, while hoping for more collaborations among companies in the region to increase insurance education and acceptance.
Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, while believing the industry is on the right path to growth, noted insurance remains a key component of economic growth and development.
Earlier, Outgoing President, WAICA and President of Ghana Insurers Association, Mr. Ivan Avereyireh, had said the “No Premium, No Cover” is a good initiative to insurance industry in the sub region, saying, this has assisted in rapid growth in premium generation across the countries in West Africa.
Avereyireh, who is also the Managing Director/CEO, Ghana Life Assurance Co.Ltd, stated that Nigeria, who took the lead in initiating this novel idea, has set a good example which Ghana and The Gambia have followed, noting that this initiative is generating positive response from the people.
Stating that WAICA intends to get insurance into the curriculum of secondary schools and tertiary institutions across the countries in the region, he added that this will enhance the people’s understanding of insurance, thus, relieve practitioners of some stress they pass through in the course of marketing insurance products and services.
“Let us no rest on our oars until we bring insurance to people in all the nooks and crannies of our region. The poor needs to be inculcated into buying insurance products and services and Micro insurance and Takaful insurance will assist a lot in achieving this,” he pointed out.
The Vice President, WAICA, Mr. Rotimi Fashola, said the industry can only be better, in as much as operators in the region act as one, putting measures in place to drive insurance growth across the region, saying he was optimistic about the future.
“The industry has scope for growth. Though, there could be challenges now, but I am optimistic about the future”, he stated.