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Increased awareness, tech adoption drive insurers’ premium up 15.5% to N490bn in 2019

…as NIA gets new chairman, deputy

Nigerian insurance industry premium grew by 15.5 percent to N490 billion in 2019, from N413.8 billion in 2018, according to figures released by the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) at its virtual Annual General Meeting held Thursday. The growth was driven by increased awareness about the benefits of insurance, adoption of technology for product distribution, and other market development initiatives.

Premium is the amount of business generated by insurance companies from the insured public for covering their risk during the year.

The meeting saw the appointment of Ganiyu Musa, group managing director of Cornerstone Insurance plc, as the new chairman of NIA, having served as deputy in the last two years, and Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu, managing director, NSIA Insurance Company Limited, as deputy chairman, as well as the election of other council members.

Announcing the performance of the industry in 2019, Tope Smart, immediate past chairman of the NIA, said insurance being part of the larger financial sector had its fair share of the challenges that confronted the economy in the course of the year.

Smart, who is also group managing director, NEM Insurance plc, said with epileptic power supply and crash in price of crude oil, insurance companies had to contend with the lingering energy crisis leading to increase in the cost of operation.

“Dilapidated infrastructure such as roads, railways and other public facilities coupled with a suffocating tax regime as well as the persistent conflicts in the North East and the growing incidents of kidnapping all contributed to affect the bottom line of insurance companies,” Smart said.

He said it was expected that the various initiatives embarked on by the association in conjunction with other stakeholders, coupled with other strategic efforts by the regulator, would further deepen insurance penetration and encourage insurance uptake by the public. Such initiatives include financial inclusion, micro insurance, rebranding project, USSD initiative and the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID) platform for sale of Third Party Motor Insurance.

On the outbreak of coronavirus which has become a global cause for concern, Smart said the pandemic has posed a serious challenge to the association and the entire Nigerian insurance industry.

“The virus has not only disrupted businesses but also forced member companies to activate their business continuity strategies and we are happy that they have responded adequately to the challenges posed by the disease,” Smart said.

“Remote working, deployment of technology, use of web conferencing technology for online meetings, maintenance of physical and social distancing in the workplace and sale of insurance policies through online platforms have become part of the new normal created by Covid-19,” he said.

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