Insurance companies in Africa have begun moves to take advantage of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Micro Insurance Innovative Facility to develop micro insurance for its teeming population.
The focus of the project being driven by the AIO Micro Insurance Committee of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO), BusinessDay learnt was to leverage on the facility’s experience, innovation, human resources, training, exchange, products and other supports to develop micro insurance among countries in the continent.
Larry Ademeso, managing director, Custodian Life Insurance and a member of the AIO Committee disclosed this to BusinessDay on the sideline of the just concluded African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Conference held in Cairo, Egypt.
Ademeso stated that the Committee members who have had a number of teleconferences ahead of the 2013 AIO met in Cairo again to review and evaluate its work and set agenda for Africa that would enable its access the ILO Micro Insurance programmes. He stated that the take-away from the meeting of the Committee was that a number of African countries were already putting their houses in order to develop their micro insurance market. “For me, I see Nigeria playing key role in the whole arrangement, given our vast population and the fact that our penetration level is still very insignificant.”
Ibrahim Hassan, the Nigerian deputy commissioner for Insurance, who was present at the Committee Meeting briefed reasonably on what the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) was doing in terms of regulation and guideline to ensure effective take-off of micro insurance in Nigeria.
“And I can tell you that everyone at the meeting agreed that Nigeria was doing quite a lot to explore this opportunity,” Ademeso said.
“We will continue to interact, and one of the highlights of that meeting too was sharing experience among the members. So we interacted with some of the members from more micro insurance developed markets, especially Kenya in East Africa, Zimbabwe in the Southern Africa.
“For instance, a lady from Zimbabwe demonstrated how insurance industry in Zimbabwe have been able to sell their life insurance products through the churches, and what that tells me is that we can actually expand our distribution channels to reach more of our population.”
Housed at the International Labour Organization’s Social Finance Programme, the Microinsurance Innovation Facility seeks to increase the availability of quality insurance for the developing world’s low-income families to help them guard against risk and overcome poverty.
The Facility was launched in 2008 with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to learn and promote how to extend better insurance to the working poor. Additional funding has gratefully been received from several donors, including the Z Zurich Foundation and AusAID.