Insurance Penetration: Operators Grapple with Innovation, Competition

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Ebere Nwoji

One of the greatest challenges facing insurance industry operators in Nigeria is how to combine and manage the triangular relationship between the forces of innovation, competition and growth to deepen insurance penetration and control a fair share of the GDP of the national economy.

The Director, Inspectorate Department at the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Thompson Barineka expressed the view at a recent media seminar organised by the commission at Kaduna, Kaduna state.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Innovations and Healthy Competition as Engine of Growth for Nigeria Insurance Industry, noted that insurers are grappling with the tough new business, investment, competitive and regulatory environments that are emerging from the financial crisis and the advancement in information technology.

He noted that civilisation and globalisation have been a determinant energy of change, a catalyser of economic and social transformations, adding that the time was ripe for insurers to explore how they could deepened the insurance industry’s penetration and control fair share of the National GDP.

Currently, insurance contribution to the GDP is less than one percent.
The NAICOM Director, defined innovation as the act or process of introducing new ideas, device or methods adding that it has proved to be an efficient stimulant for building world-leading organisations such as Microsoft, Rolls Royce and Apple.

He also observed that innovation has proved to be a discipline of creativity that attracts the best people (companies like Dyson and Google); a message that reinforces a corporate ambition such as (Toyota, Adidas or Samsung) as well as an instrument to foster leadership citing BP, UPS and Glo as good examples.

Speaking on the imperativeness of innovation, Barineka said innovation is about making larger changes – new products, new ways to interact with customers, new channels and agile responses to new technologies and advances.