The Federal Government of Nigeria has called on insurance operators in the West African Sub Region to reposition insurance industry for Global Competitiveness.
The government also called for the promotion of efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance market in the region for the benefit of the policyholders and other stakeholders.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs (Dr) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed made the call in her key note address at the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) Education Conference 2023 and the 50th anniversary celebration in Lagos with the theme: “Repositioning the Insurance Industry in West Africa for Global Competitiveness”.
She said, “I therefore urge the delegates here present to deliberate and recommend ways of repositioning the insurance industry in West Africa for Global Competitiveness.”
She said this because of the low insurance penetration and its poor contribution to financial growth of most countries in the continent.
According to her, “I wish to state that insurance in the whole of Africa has been characterized by low penetration and poor contribution to most African countries financial growth, therefore maintaining efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance market in the West African sub region must be promoted for the benefit of the policyholders and other stakeholders.
“As an optimist, we are encouraged to believe in a new dawn, leveraging technological innovations, and a positive paradigm shift focused and poised to meet the anticipated surge in the demand and untapped side.”
She urged delegates to deliberate and recommend ways of repositioning the insurance industry in West Africa for Global Competitiveness.
Speaking on the objective behind the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), she emphasized the need to establish high quality insurance database to provide a holistic view of the industry’s operations in the sub-region even as she called on WAICA members to leverage technology and other alternative distribution channels in order to increase market penetration.
The Finance Minister also noted the importance of enhancing multilateral cooperation with the objective of promoting international standards in fostering favourable investment environments and orderly markets in the West African sub region and beyond.
She said “The insurance industry, like other components of the financial system, is changing in response to a wide range of global social and economic forces. In particular, insurance and insurance-linked financial activities are increasingly crossing national and sectorial boundaries. Consequently, it has become imperative for the Insurance supervisory systems and practices to continually upgrade in order to cope with these developments to mitigate possible financial and systemic stability concerns arising from the insurance sector as they emerge.”
In his goodwill message, Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mr. Olusegun Omosehin, underscored the importance of the theme of this year’s conference, “Re-Positioning the Insurance Industry in West Africa for Competitiveness” describing it as both timely and relevant.
He said “It underscores the need for us to embrace and drive growth and innovation of the insurance sector in our Region. I have no doubt that the discussions and insights that will be shared during this conference will help to shape the future of insurance in West Africa and beyond.”
On the WAICA’s 50th anniversary celebration, Omosehin who is also the Managing Director of Old Mutual Nigeria Life Assurance expressed happiness that the event is being hosted by Nigeria.
“As the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association, I am proud to see our nation taking the lead in organizing this important event, WAICA@50.
“Our commitment to excellence, innovation, and professionalism is reflected in the way we have prepared for this conference, and I am confident that it will be a resounding success.” Omosehin said.