NEM Boss Urges Greater Contribution of Insurance to Economic Growth

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By Ebere Nwoji

The Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of  NEM  Insurance Plc, Mr Tope Smart, recently took a look at  ways the insurance industry can promote economic growth and infrastructural development in the country.

According to him, investment in infrastructure will result in the growth of any economy and would also enhance activities of the insurance sector.

Smart spoke at the 10th anniversary lecture and awards organised by Business Journal  Magazine in Lagos.

He also added that other factors such as macroeconomic environment, technological development, market size are also very important for the growth of the sector.

On the need for infrastructural development, Smart, said investment  in infrastructure could stimulate organisational and management changes.

According to him, public infrastructure, provides the geographic concentration of    economic resources, wider and deeper markets for output  and employment.

“Public infrastructure is generally seen as a foundation on which to build the economy, e.g the development of infrastructure is one of the most important aspects for sustainable socio-economic growth.

“A research conducted by Aschaer in 1995 confirmed  that public infrastructure is the basis of quality of life;  for example, good roads reduce the number of accidents and increase public safety; water supply  system  reduces  the  level  of  disease;waste management improves the health of the environment.

“Also, social capital infrastructure has a significant positive impact on earnings”, he observed.

Smart, who delivered the key note address at the lecture which has the theme

“Insurance is the backbone of any economy because of the basic role it plays which is to restore someone, firm, government to the position it was before the occurrence of an insured peril.

“For a consideration (premium) insurance ensures the continuity of an enterprise notwithstanding the occurrence of an unforeseen event,” he added.

He highlighted channels through which the insurance industry can promote economic growth and structural development as offering protection to firms and organisations.

This would enhance their financial stability as insurance companies are compelled to take over any damage or interruption in the production process occurring as a result of the insured event.

He also said insurance promotes entrepreneurial attitude, by encouraging investment innovation and the vitality of the market, offers relieve and by so doing reduces pressure on government,Increases  financial intermediation through the creation of liquidity and savings through life insurance  products.

Highlighting other channels through which insurance promotes economic growth, the NEM Insurance boss said: “Insurance, through life insurance companies provide funds for long-term investment in the real economy.

“In the absence of a risk transfer mechanism like insurance, economic activities would be much lower and hence will result in economic   loss. Insurance also helps to smooth out the volatile economic condition”.