By Ebere Nwoji
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas has expressed concern that indigenous insurance firms are fast losing underwriting businesses in oil, gas and aviation sectors.
This, he attributed to lack of appropriate technology.
Thomas, therefore advised insurance underwriting firms operating in Nigeria, to invest significantly in technology to propel their operations in the industry.
Thomas, who spoke at a recent insurance conference in Lagos, said the industry must as a matter of priority invest significantly in technology so as to make meaningful impact in the industry.
The NAICOM boss, lamented the declining participation of local insurance firms in big ticket businesses due to lack of appropriate technology, adding that, “the market must emulate technology to move forward.”
Apparently worried by this development, he said, “insurance companies are losing underwriting businesses in oil, gas and aviation sectors.”
“The industry must invest handsomely in technology which is one of our key drivers for developing the market.
“Institutions should be prepared to digitalise their processes, procedures and systems in order to make their operation seamless and real time,” he added.
The NAICOM boss stated that the Commission was investing heavily in automating its processes and expects nothing less from insurance institutions.
“As business owners and as businesses spring up, we must ensure that we put the right processes in place in trying to manage our assets and ensure that we have more strategic thinking,” he added.
Thomas, noted that more businesses were being reinsured abroad, thereby further eroding the capacity of the local market.
“More businesses especially in the aviation sector and oil and gas are now being reinsured abroad.
“Of more concern is the declining participation of life companies in the annuity business which is the emerging business for our industry.
“These are the areas where the industry can impose itself on the economy through the control of funds for national development; unfortunately, we are missing it,” he said.
The Commissioner further advised members of the insuring public not to discard insurance as part of measures to cut cost in the face of the harsh economic situation.
He said: “It is good to reduce cost but in terms of insurance, people should ensure that all assets are adequately insured.
“It is good to have a good risk management framework as well as be able to manage our insurances and assets.
“Many are left with the option of cutting cost, however, not all cost cutting will measure success and some might even end up hurting our businesses.”
Thomas, however, said the insurance industry has proven its relevance in the affairs of the economy.
“Risk is part of our business endeavors and the best thing is to evaluate and see what part of the risk you can transfer,” he said.