As part of plans to ensure insurance industry generates about N1 trillion annual premium income in the next few years, the federal government, through the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), is already in talks with state governors as well as enforcement agencies to enforce the adoption of five compulsory insurances in the country, LEADERSHIP can authoritatively reveal.
The discussion with state governments, according to our findings, centres on the need to domesticate insurance laws in their respective states to make it easier to enforce subscription to compulsory insurance policies.
With such domestication, the federal government can now deploy enforcement agencies in states to proscribe uninsured Nigerians, thereby increasing insurance adoption, acceptance and penetration.
The compulsory insurances include Motor Third Party Insurance of section 68 of the Insurance Act 2003; Buildings Under Construction of section 64 of the Insurance Act 2003; Occupiers Liability Insurance of section 65 of the Insurance Act 2003; Group Life Insurance in line with the Pension Reform Act 2004 and Health Care Professional Indemnity Insurance under section 45 of the NHIS Act 1999.
While the commission has succeeded in convincing Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna and few other states to domesticate the Insurance Act 2003 in their respective state laws, plans are ongoing to reach out to other states through the current governors to kick start the process of entrenching insurance acts in their bylaws.
In this regard, NAICOM had earlier met the chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, on the need to use the forum to persuade governors to initiate the process of passing insurance laws through the state Houses of Assemblies, to make enforcement easier.
The commission is exploring using the meetings of the governors’ forum to discuss with all the state governors and persuade them on this new plan.
Similarly, investigations also showed that state agencies such as Environmental Sanitisation Board, Revenue Generation Board, Federal Fire Service (FFS), the Police, among others, upon getting the states to buy-in, would be deployed to enforce peculiar compulsory insurance policies, majorlyto ensure that all public buildings are comprehensively insured.
The insurance industry regulatory body is equally in talks with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the states’ Vehicle Inspection Offices (VIOs) to enforce comprehensive and third party motor insurance policies.
Apart from improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the adopting states, the insurance industry would be able to hit the N1 trillion annual premium income benchmark as billions of naira insurance premium would be generated through the state apparatus on a monthly basis.
With a mere 1.5 million Nigerians insured out of over 160 million people and an annual premium income of about N450billion currently, NAICOM feels the right time to deepen penetration is now.
Confirming this development during the NAICOM 2020 Seminar for Insurance Journalists in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State at the weekend, the commissioner for Insurance/CEO, NAICOM, Mr Sunday Thomas, said arrangements with state governments are ongoing to deepen insurance penetration at state level, noting that the insurance industry has brighter prospects to reach and even surpass the N1trillion premium benchmarks as long as enforcement of these insurances are in place, while checkmating the activities of insurance racketeers who are selling fake insurance certificates to the people.
He equally disclosed that the commission is in talks with several enforcement agencies on the need to support NAICOM’s drive to not only deepen penetration, but to also increase insurance contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
He said, “The N1 trillion premium income target is not too much considering the space that is yet to be covered. With improved enforcement and awareness, the industry can realise this in the next few years. We are already in discussion with state governors and relevant enforcement agencies to realise this ambition and the signs are positive.
“In the next four years of my administration, I want to drive massive penetration, using several mediums, of which Information Technology (IT) will play a major role.”
Insurance and Actuarial expert, Dr Pius Apere, also noted that before the N1trillion Premium target could be achieved, government needs to implement some of the insurance laws such as compulsory insurance law with strict compliance.
He expressed dismay with the high level of rate-cutting in the industry which, according to him, is mainly surviving in the brokers’ market.
Apere who is also the managing director/chief executive officer of Anchor Actuarial Services Limited said the target was realistic as long as the insurance industry can go into retail marketing like few operators are doing now through micro-insurance, hence penetration could be deepened and the N1trillion premium target realised.
On his part, the executive secretary/CEO, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr Fatai Adegbenro, charged federal, states and local governments to lead by example by insuring all their assets, including public building, to increase insurance penetration and profitability.
Government, according to him, should lead in the implementation of the No Premium, No Cover policy by insuring all its buildings while making timely budgetary provisions for insurance of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
FG Identifies Tech Experience Centre As Strategic To Nigeria’s Digital Future
Meanwhile, the federal government has described the Tech Experience Centre, an ambitious technology project aimed at bridging the gap to cutting-edge technology for millions of Nigerians, as strategic to its plan to build a digital Nigeria for all citizens.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, who stated this while unveiling the Centre located at the high-rise Yudala Heights in Victoria Island, Lagos, expressed
delight with the project, even as he conveyed the feelings of
President Muhammadu Buhari on the launch of the initiative.
The Centre houses a convergence of globally renowned tech giants such as Cisco, HP, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, Zinox, Schneider Electric, Samsung, Apple and Bosch, among others, all under one roof to create an immersive experience of the latest technologies.
“We are happy to see this huge technology initiative become a reality as it shows the private sector has bought into our visions for Nigeria,” Pantami said, noting that “achieving a Digital Nigeria is not the responsibility of government alone.
“The role of government is to come up with the right policies and create the enabling environment while the private sector also supports the efforts of government.
“This Tech Experience Centre is very strategic to the seven pillars of our digital economy strategy which include: Digital Literacy and
Skills Development; Service Infrastructure; Solid Infrastructure; Digital Services Promotion and Development; Soft Infrastructure;
Digital Societies and Emerging Technologies and lastly Indigenous Content Development.
‘‘I wish to commend TD Africa and the Zinox chairman, Dr Leo Stan Ekeh for their efforts in birthing this Tech Experience Centre which we are certain will create a huge opportunity for our youths and many other Nigerians”, the minister added.
Also speaking at the event, the chief host and Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu hailed the management of TD Africa for the bold initiative, even as he disclosed that the Lagos State government is already laying the foundation for the state to be the technology hub of Nigeria and West Africa.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the deputy governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, emphasised the important role of technology as a game-changer in any society.
He said, “Technology also helps in managing information. It is used in security, education and to collect data in the hospitals. Nigeria needs to urgently harness the use of technology to develop the nation.
‘‘I commend the chairman of Zinox and TD Africa on the launch of this impressive technology project. Indeed, technology is the pillar of all the plans of the present administration in Lagos”.
Also speaking at the event, chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, commended the federal government and the Lagos State government for their increased emphasis on the technology sector.
Ekeh, a serial digital entrepreneur, described the renaming of the Ministry of Communications by President Buhari with the addition of Digital Economy as a masterstroke, even as he heaped praises on Dr Pantami for his sterling leadership.
The Zinox boss who revealed that technology is the currency of new wealth in the 21st Century also hinted that the sector holds the key to the future of Nigeria’s digital wealth.
Consequently, he called on the federal government to empower the youth especially in ICT, noting that Nigeria is the only place in the world where tech guys are among the poorest.
“Government needs to encourage the youths by empowering them as most of them work in that sector. Also, many youths are equally interested in developing the country through technology so they need to be empowered,” he said.