NAICOM to Relaunch MDRI Initiative

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Ebere Nwoji

The insurance industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is considering the re-launch of its much orchestrated Market Development and Restructuring (MDRI).

This is to ensure deep penetration of insurance among Nigerian populace and enhance its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The MDRI project is a medium term plan, which first phase spanned between 2009-2012. The objective was to ensure the deepening of the insurance market and moving the industry gross premium form the initial N164billion in 2008 to NI.0 trillion 2012.

Its objectives aside deepening insurance penetration, was to create 50,000 jobs through the agency system, fight against fake insurance institutions and ensure enforcement of compulsory insurances.

Though the initiative could not achieve these set objectives at the appointed time, the industry in pursuance of this set objectives, has laid solid foundation for its achievement in 2017 according to the immediate past Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel whose initiatives the present commissioner, Alhaji Mohammed Kari has vowed to consolidate on.

Kari, shortly after taking over the mantle of leadership of the insurance commission said his main focus was to polish the image of the industry by doing away with fake insurance operators, creating awareness on relevance of insurance to Nigerians and collaborating with relevant government agencies to enforce compulsory insurances.

At the recently concluded National Insurance Conference held in Abuja, Kari, said in a bid to ensuring the enforcement of compulsory insurances, the commission has planned to relaunch the seven year -old MDRI initiative to review it for the immediate impact.

“We believe it will provide. We believe if properly implemented, it will bring the desired result as envisaged.
This effort has further been boosted by the just concluded review of the draft Insurance bill by the ministerial committee set up by the Minister of Finance; the presidential directive on insurance of government assets, the Senate resolution supporting the enforcement of compulsory classes of insurance across the country.

He said while efforts and consultation have reached advanced stages with the various agencies including state governments towards enforcement of these classes of insurance, the minster has consented to chair the grand launching of the enforcement campaign.

“The underwriters and brokers have also reached some landmark agreement which would see to improved market discipline and streamlining of the technical management of risk which is now lacking in most areas of operations”, Kari stated.

Speaking on the level of insurance penetration in the country, Kari said the commonly used index for measuring the development of insurance in an economy is the market penetration which is the ratio of total insurance premium to the gross domestic product.

He said while the challenges of low spending power, culture and low financial inclusiveness does not help insurance penetration, enforcement of the compulsory classes of Insurance would give the needed boost to jump-start penetration in the sector.

This according to him informed the resolve to re-launch the MDRI.
“Having reasonably tackled the immediate issues wedging the positive moves of the industry, efforts are now being focused on the medium and long term impetuses required to provide the quantum leap the industry so desire to be able to contribute to the national economy.

He said to achieve this goal, the commission has continued to provide regulatory oversight for the industry in relevant areas through the issuance of guidelines, training and the creation of the enabling regulations to introduce new classes of Insurances to address the financially disadvantaged in our society.

He noted that the efforts of the market need to continue to be supported by the government and the Legislature adding that government need to ensure the adequate protection of public assets and the timely funding of such, and the legislature need to increase their oversight function of the activities of the sector including passing the approraite legislation,

Also speaking, President of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Isioma Chukwuma said the benefit of insurance to national economy cannot be overemphasised.
She however said regrettably, these enormous potential have been stultified, among others, by lack of intra industry cohesion.