‘Industry retention capacity has improved significantly’

Tope Smart

Tope Smart

CHIEFTAINS of the nation’s insurance industry have acknowledged the significant stride the insurance industry has made in the last five years to build public confidence in the market.

According to operators, the level of confidence in the industry has risen greatly to the extent that so many people now believe in the industry due to prompt claims payment.

The Group Managing Director|CEO, NEM Insurance Plc, Tope Smart, speaking at an interactive session with the media in his multi-million naira new office complex in Lagos, said the level of confidence in the industry is totally different today from what it used to be. “The level of confidence has risen and to that extent so many people now believe in the industry. You will agree with me that the industry has improved by way of response, response to some of the big claims, which amounted to billions of naira that happened in the last five years. That gives a kind of confidence in the insuring public that they now believe in the industry”.

He said “ Four to five years ago, some of the businesses that were taken abroad have come back to Nigeria largely because of the kind of response that the industry have given to claims payment.”

Smart explained, “NEM has always been a responsible, reliable and faithful company to its clients. What the company symbolizes is excellence by way of our commitment and response to claims payment. Therefore, I will say that though we are not yet there, but NEM is evolving and our focus is to be one of the top three insurance company in Nigeria and we are working towards that end because there are a lot of prospects and potentials. We have reengineered our processes and we will continue to do so by differentiating our brand from others.

According to him, the area we are seriously looking at to put more effort is oil and gas. We are deploring a lot of resources to get a good proportion of our investment that we feel will be in the interest of NEM.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), GUS Wiggle, who shared these views acknowledged that the industry is moving forward. He said “In furtherance of the association’s desire to further take advantage of the Nigerian Content Act 2010, curb capital flight, build local capacity in oil and gas underwriting and increase retention of oil business locally, the Energy and Allied Insurance Pool of Nigeria (EAIPAN) promoted by the association has become fully operational.

According to him, the technical management board led by a past chairman of the association, Wole Oshin, has been inaugurated while Africa Re has been appointed as the pool Manager. Twenty member companies have so far subscribed to the pool.

Meanwhile, the pool managers have advised risk underwriters in the country who are yet to subscribe to the energy pool to do so in order to retain capacity in oil and gas underwriting business and curb capital flight incidence in the industry.

The chairman of the technical committee, said that currently the pool which was formally floated early this year had 14 subscribers with a total contribution of 40 per cent of their subscribed lines amounting to $4 million, adding that others joining the pool would help in addressing capital flight which is one of the major challenges undermining capacity building in the nation’s insurance sector.

The pool boss, however, urged insurance firms that had subscribed to cede businesses to the pool in order to grow the capacity of the local market in energy and allied risks underwriting.

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