Industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has projected a 10 percent increase in insurance density and penetration, just as the regulatory agency insists it can achieve N1.5 trillion Gross Written Premiums (GWPs) when it works with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) operators across geo-political zones.
Also, the commission aims to build trust among the insured, which would lead to more referrals; build confidence in the sector by reducing incidences of fake insurance and implementing penalty for nonpayment of claims.
It says this would be done while working with digital companies with access to data and information for wider reach and impact.
NAICOM Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Olorunda Thomas while speaking to newsmen, said the commission launched Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) in 2009 as a vehicle to, among others, drive the enforcement of compulsory insurances, reduce incidences of fake insurance and in the process grow the industry.
He stated that the commission’s strategic focus is on compulsory insurances, government assets, microinsurance and takaful insurance.
He said: “Target market however is Government, Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and Millennials and Gen Z, which make up 60 per cent of our population.
“Our strategic themes include increased awareness and education; stakeholder’ grooming/partnerships; high-impact media productions; and a social/digital NAICOM.
“To increase awareness and education, we will also launch a joint implementation task force with police, FS, FRSC, Ministry of Justice, Mobile Courts, Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) at all levels, among others. We will hold insurance stakeholder’s forum/town hall meetings, launch the Insurance Industry Thought Leadership Series on Testimonials and Endorsements, among others.”
On the commission’s ‘2021-2023 Strategic Plan’, the commissioner stated that as a sector of the national economy, the commission has statutory mandates.
“We know that the driver of the economy is the people at the lower level of the pyramid and therefore we are taking financial inclusion policy very seriously. While it is now a national policy, the insurance sector is far behind but we are doing a lot of catch up.
“To this effect, two Takaful companies have been licensed in addition to the existing ones. We have four micro insurance company that has also been licensed and two are on the verge of being licensed. We believe that if we are able to properly take care of the supply side, the demand aspect of it is will run smoothly.
“Similarly, the traditional method of distributing insurance has become inadequate to take care of the speed we want to gain and the people who want to reach and so we must begin to develop other channels of distribution. There are few of them that have been developed and waiting for final touches here and there for them to be released,” he said.
Thomas went further to state that insurance was a knowledge-based sector and therefore human capacity to drive the initiative was critical.
“The development in the actuarial profession has been on the drawing board for years. The first sets of those who will write the actuarial exam will qualify as certified actuarial analyst. The exam was held last week and I was made to understand that in the next six weeks or so, they will hear the results.
“We have made a pledge to see the possibility of having about 100 of them in the next four years. It’s a target and we see how far we can go. We believe that we need actuarial analyst to stand in the gap pending the time that we will have sufficient number of actuaries for the market.
“I want to say that we are also conscious that technology drives business. We have started with ourselves at the commission and our automation plans have commenced. We want to see how far we can run within the commission. The plan by the commission to have a portal started about now nine to 10 years ago and until last year, nothing was happening. But we picked it up last year and the first phase of the portal has been successfully completed.
“On the strategic plan of the commission, the last one ended in 2020. So, we have picked it up from 2021 to 2023. We are following and pursuing it. We believe that with what we have in the plan, we should be able to make a difference in the market.”
He, however, noted that the enforcement of compulsory insurance was also on.
‘’Last week, we played host to the Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps. About a month ago, we were with the FCT minister and two weeks ago, the Minister of Road Transport, Mrs. Gbemisola Saraki was with us in the commission. We have been trying to engage across the country. We visited the Governor of Ekiti State and we were to visit the Governor of Enugu State but for the prevailing security issues that happened there recently.
“The fire service management was in our office two weeks ago. This is some of the engagements that we have been having because we are determined to make a difference. We want to encourage our operators to increase their budgets in publicity. We are too far behind because not much of insurance is known. The regulator will do its bit but the operators must cooperate with us for all of us to be on the same page,” he added.