Ovia Urges Regulators to Approve Mobile Phones for Insurance Sector 

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Ebere Nwoji
The founder/Chairman Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the NigerianCommunications Commission (NCC) to work together and approve the use of mobile phone in driving insurance penetration in the country.
This, according to Ovia would also help in driving financial inclusion in the country.

Ovia, who spoke as the guest speaker at the 2018 National Insurance Conference holding in Abuja, advised the regulators to discard their differences and work together in ensuring that they use financial inclusion in alleviating poverty at the grassroots.
He decried the fact that although insurance plays a critical role in improving financial position of the poor and down trodden, less than one per cent of Nigerian populationhave insurance policy, while 99 per cent are excluded.

He said the larger percentage of the population that were not captured by the sector could, within the shortest period, be included in the services if the regulators could work together in the use of mobile phone, which is available to more than 60 per cent of the population to serve them with insurance services.

According to him, with the use of telecommunication technology as insurance distribution channel, insurance, which currently contributes less than one per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will by the 2025, contribute about 12.4 per cent to the GDP of the economy.
He stressed the need for insurance managers to eschew over-dependent on the traditional distribution channels and shift to the use of modern technology, adding that what they can achieve in 40 years in terms of insurance distribution using traditional distribution channel could through the mobile technology distribution channels, be achieved in one year.

He also charged the insurers on the need to simplify the languages used in developing their policies.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, said the timing of the conference could not have been more significant especially as the insurance industry prepares to launch the Nigerian Insurance Industry Development Plan (NIIDP), which has Financial Inclusion as one of its major components.

He said work on the NIIDP had already been concluded with inputs from KPMG, a consulting firm, which will also independently monitor its implementation to ensure each segment of the market keep to date with their assigned responsibilities.

“It may interest you to know that the plan has been presented to the Insurers Committee, a body comprising management of NAICOM, CEOs of insurance companies and heads of insurance trade associations and the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) to ensure every player in the industry is on the same page with us. I commend the market committee and KPMG for the good job on the NIIDP”, he said.

According to him, the industry dedicated the forum to financial inclusion for an opportunity to listen to speakers and discussants with divergent views and opinions so as to improve on what it already had.

“Thus, we find in Mr. Jim Ovia, a perfect speaker to share his knowledge and experience on our theme paper for this conference, not only because he is an erudite speaker or because of his pedigree as a successful businessman. Jim’s vision gave birth to one of the leading banking brand in this country which has now spread internationally,” he explained.