The Federal Government, on Monday, reiterated its unwavering dedication to the transformation of the insurance sector and the safety of Nigerian citizens. The Commissioner for Insurance (CFI) at the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Sunday Thomas, emphasised this commitment during the National Insurance Conference 2023 in Abuja, which was centred around the theme “Redefining Safety – Insurance Solutions for Public Buildings and Buildings under Construction.”
Thomas outlined the conference’s purpose, stating, “The National Insurance Conference is one of the initiatives of the Commission to achieve the objective of incentivising law enforcement agencies, state governments, relevant professional bodies, and all other stakeholders. The conference will also sensitise the general public and create the needed awareness of the place of insurance in redefining safety in Nigeria.”
He further noted that the stakeholders at the conference would engage in discussions about current and emerging issues, generating ideas and insights that could be translated into actionable strategies for the effective enforcement of compulsory insurances by relevant authorities and government agencies. Thomas also expressed the hope that this collaborative effort would usher in a new era of collaboration to enhance national safety standards.
Highlighting the accomplishments of the NAICOM under his leadership, Thomas mentioned several flagship projects and their positive impact on the Nigerian insurance industry. He explained, “In terms of its performance, the industry premium income between 2014 and 2022 grew at an average of 13.6 per cent; from a premium income of N282 billion to N726.2 billion. The total assets of the sector also grew at an average of 12 per cent for the same period; from an asset base of N827.5 billion in 2014 to N2.33 trillion in 2022.”
However, Thomas acknowledged that despite the sustained growth, the insurance industry faces a set of challenges outlined in the roadmap. These challenges include a talent gap, comparatively low public awareness, insurance affordability, a lack of trust and confidence in insurers, cultural and religious biases, inadequate distribution channels, and low enforcement.
Looking ahead, Thomas presented the industry’s transformation journey along seven strategic thrusts for the coming years (2024-2033). These strategic objectives include the transformation of the regulatory environment, promotion of insurance awareness and adoption, expansion of insurance product offerings, and the enhancement of digitalisation in the insurance industry, among others.
In addition to Thomas’s insights, the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, represented by his Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Okonkon Udo, underscored the significance of insurance in national development. Edun stressed the sector’s vital role in mitigating unforeseen disasters and the need to unlock its potential. He called for the industry’s relevance to be apparent to all stakeholders to allow it to take its rightful place in society.
While acknowledging industry challenges, Edun urged players and relevant stakeholders to address these challenges to encourage greater participation in insurance among Nigerians. He also assured the commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to creating an enabling environment for the sector to flourish.
Edun concluded, “The ministry will continue to support NAICOM’s effort to implement reforms, ensure good corporate governance practices in insurance institutions, and zero-tolerance for non-settlement of legitimate claims, among others. As you launch the Nigerian Insurance Industry Transformation Roadmap, it is hoped that it will guide the operations of the industry efficiently and effectively.”
The National Insurance Conference was attended by government officials, royal leaders, and stakeholders in the sector, all of whom pledged their dedication to ensuring the safety of Nigerians.