The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has charged insurance managers across West African sub-region to embark on initiatives that will deepen insurance penetration among Africans.
The minister, who spoke at the ongoing 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Education Conference of the West African Insurance Companies Association, (WAICA, ) in Lagos, noted that though insurance industry might be currently plagued with some challenges, there are prospects of a brighter future.
Her call in this regard was corroborated by insurance veteran, Professor Joe Irukwu, who also charged the insurers on innovations that will popularise insurance among West African citizens.
Addressing delegates from countries within West African region, Adeosun said Nigeria is one of the countries currently recording low insurance penetration, as most citizens do not value insurance cover, leading to the low contribution of insurance industry to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Adeosun, who was represented by Director, Efficiency Unit in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Patience Oniha, said the federal government understands the challenges affecting the patronage of insurance products and services in the country.
She said this was the reason the government, through her ministry, inaugurated a committee comprising of all arms of insurance industry in February, this year, hoping that the committee will come up with a perfect Consolidated Insurance Bill that will drive the industry forward.
“Government is trying all it can to address the poor performance of insurance in the country through several initiatives 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, she added that such moves would lead to rapid growth, patronage and profitability of West African insurance market.
“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,” she added.
Irukwu, on his part, said the industry has witnessed tremendous growth in the last three decades, calling on the current practitioners to imbibe the ethics of professionalism, while hoping for more collaborations among companies in the region to increase insurance education and acceptance.
According to him, “As we express our gratitude to all those who have contributed to the growth and development of WAICA, I will like to take this opportunity to appeal to all insurance professionals and companies and every one present at this conference to continue to support WAICA. We all have a duty to support WAlCA as a major regional insurance institution so that it will continue to play the most effective unifying leadership role that it has played in the past 38 years,” Irukwu stated.
Also speaking at the event, Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, said the industry is on the right path to growth, noting that insurance remains a key component of economic growth and development.