The insurance industry in Nigeria is set for far-reaching experiences of expansion and innovations as the industry regulator, NAICOM, responds to current market needs with the 2023 National Insurance Conference, Jeph Ade reports.
It is no more news that Nigeria’s economy is battling various risk factors with heightened concerns of how to surmount them. Inflation rate has crossed the 25 per cent threshold, threatening savings and investments, especially as households now spend most of their income on food items following soaring prices of food commodities.
Also, if the official exchange rate of the Naira of between N700 and N750 coupled with the Black Market exchange rate of N1000 to the Dollar as of the 10th of October 2023 have affected businesses adversely, the high interest rate on borrowing has left everything gasping for breath. The unending tales of woes by investors and manufacturers tell the story better.
What’s more? The debilitating impacts of subsidy removal that have recalibrated the socio-economic frontiers and variables of our national life seems to be the last straw. It has given a clearer picture of how tough it is for citizens to cope.
Analysts are of the view that only pragmatic innovations, out-of-the box solutions, and timely actions can ease the present economic tension in the nation.
These sad realities notwithstanding, there’s good news in the offing as NAICOM is responding with a needs-based national conference aimed at addressing present realities, stabilizing businesses, supporting commerce, and minimizing losses by the insured public, especially in the construction industry.
The apex insurance regulatory agency is responding timely and aptly using the veritable platform of the conference which is slated for 22-24 October 2023 in Abuja with the theme: “Redefining Safety – Insurance Solutions for Public Buildings and Buildings under Construction”.
The host and Commissioner For Insurance at NAICOM, Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas sees the conference as a strategy to promote insurance solutions through innovation and collaborations.
In his words: “Insurance is a key driver for economic growth and as NAICOM, we continue to seek collaborative ways to grow the sector and enforce critical and compulsory insurance policies. From financial inclusion to new products development and market expansion, we believe insurance will accelerate Nigeria’s infrastructural and national development.”
He added that “This year’s conference is of special importance owing to the various events that have taken place, especially the successful transition to a new Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR; President & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Speaking further, he said, “For this year, we have chosen a theme that is of paramount importance to Nation Building, and our collective prosperity. It is apt and timely. The Commission is honoured to host this pivotal gathering which is expected to bring together leaders, experts, and forward-looking policy makers in the industry. Our aim is not merely to discuss but to usher in a new era of collaboration – one where insights are transformed into actionable strategies to redefine safety standards.”
For intending participants, his expectation is that, “As you prepare for the conference, get ready to navigate through enlightening sessions, engaging discussions, and fruitful exchange of ideas that will shape the future of insurance and our dear nation, as a whole.”
He went on to note that “Every contribution that will be made, every question that will be asked, and every idea that will be shared have the potential to spark positive changes that will resonate far beyond the conference.”
To further underscore the importance of the conference, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) is expected to grace the epoch-making occasion as the Special Guest of Honour.
Other dignitaries expected at the august event include His Excellency; Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor of Lagos State as the Guest Speaker. The Minister of Finance, Mr. Olawale Edun as the Chief Host and the Chairman of Heirs Holdings & UBA Group; Mr. Tony Elumelu will be the Speaker at the conference and the Theme Paper Presenter.
The epoch-making occasion will equally play host to the President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV); Mr. Johnbull Amayaevbo, and Chief Executive Officer, FSD Africa Mr. Mark Napier as Speakers, respectively.
Furthermore, the Conference will welcome other esteemed attendees including Federal Ministers, State Governors, State Commissioners of Works and Housing, as well as distinguished Royal Fathers and Traditional Leaders in the country.
With endorsements by dignitaries who had been previously visited to secure necessary buy-in to the programme, expectations are high that the drive for compulsory insurance with focus on public buildings and buildings under construction would receive a boost during and after the conference.
NAICOM is of the informed opinion that the alarming rate of buildings collapse in Nigeria in recent times underscores the urgent necessity to implement comprehensive insurance for public buildings and buildings under construction, adding that the two types of insurance are part of the compulsory insurance policies of the industry regulatory agency which will give succor to Nigerians in the event of a building collapse or other risk factors.
Information made available to CherryAfrica from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, reveals that at least 62 catastrophes in 2022, causing 84 deaths and injuring 113 persons. A closer look shows that Lagos state alone had 20 cases, while Kano and Anambra States recorded five building accidents each, then Delta and Jigawa had four each.
Also, 135 cases were reported between 2007 and 2013.
Overall, the collapses, whenever they occur, not only result in the loss of human lives but also lead to significant financial burdens for the government not leaving out affected persons and communities.
Poised to lessen such losses in the future, NAICOM submits that, “As a nation, as landlords, as project managers, site builders and users of public buildings, there’s need to start taking the two insurance policies very seriously namely, “Public Buildings Insurance” and “Insurance of Buildings under Construction”.
The Commission further assured the public that the two policies, when diligently implemented and strictly adhered to, will provide financial protection against such unforeseen disasters, enabling swift recoveries, reconstruction, and restoration of critical services. They further stated that by insuring public buildings, Nigeria can safeguard her infrastructural investments, ensure continuity of essential services, and promote safer and more resilient environments for her citizens whenever buildings collapse.
This upcoming conference is bringing stakeholders together to forge a way forward for creating expanded awareness and compliance with the two policies.
The conference Keynote Address and launch of the Insurance Industry Strategic Plan, and Guidelines for Insurances of Government Assets will be done by the President and Commander-In-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces; His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.
Designed to give more insights into how insurance practices influence and are influenced by environmental considerations and sustainability goals, the conference will also equip participants to forge modern templates for sustainable building practices, appropriate risk assessments, and effective insurance solutions. It will offer opportunities to explore the dynamic relationship between insurance, the environment, and the sustainable future the nation strives to build.
The conference also promises to afford unique opportunities for the nation to explore the insurance sub-sector of our economy and to effectively engage there in.
NAICOM concludes that ” The event will provide a unique platform for insurance companies to shine as they present their cutting-edge products and solutions to the Nigerian public and the world at large. As such, NAICOM invites all and sundry to partake in the forthcoming conference and accompanying exhibition where industry leaders, innovators, and forward-thinkers will gather to share their visions for the future of insurance in Nigeria.
It is earnestly expected that participants will have the auspicious opportunity to showcase their services and cutting-edge insurance solutions that distinguish their brands. Bearing in mind that every square foot is a spotlight on one’s journey of progress and a testament to the dedication that propels any given organization forward, both individual and corporate participants will find the conference to be not just an invitation to collaborate but also to create, innovate and shape the future of our nation’s insurance industry.