The volume of businesses written by insurance companies in the country grew from N315.96 billion in 2016 to about N363 billion in 2017, representing an increase of about 15 per cent over 2016 figure.
The record, which came in the midst lower purchasing, recession and near economic inactivity, is an indication that the sector holds untapped potential that could support the country’s growth quest if harnessed adequately.
The indication was given by the immediate past Chairman of Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Eddie Efekoha, while speaking on the insurance industry’s financial performance for the year ended December 31, 2017, in Lagos.
Efekoha, at the 47th yearly general meeting of the association, where he presented his two-year scorecard as the helmsman of the NIA, said the above premium was raked in by the operators within the period despite the prevailing challenges facing the entire global financial markets.
He said in 2017, insurance companies had to grapple with challenges of epileptic power supply and dilapidated infrastructure such as roads and other public facilities, all of which exposed the industry to increased cost of operations.
“This coupled with a suffocating tax regime, impacted the bottom line of insurance companies,” Efekoha said.
The insurance expert said despite these challenges, the insurance industry, during the period under review continued to perform its role of financial intermediation and business restoration in line with its mandate.
Efekoha, said to ensure a more robust performance in the current business year, the industry operators in collaboration with the National Insurance commission (NAICOM) embarked on various initiatives to deepen insurance penetration.
These initiatives according to him, included, the insurance industry roadmap; financial inclusion; micro insurance; bancassurance and the insurance industry rebranding project.
He noted that the association’s Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) initiative and other strategic efforts would increase insurance uptake by the public.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, the association’s leadership baton was transferred from Efekoha to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer NEM Insurance Plc, Tope Smart.
Smart joined Vigilant Insurance Company Limited as the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer in 1995 and was responsible for the overall growth and development of the organisation.
In view of the outstanding results posted in two years, the company in 1997, approved his elevation to the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, with shareholding in the company.
In 2007, he successfully spearheaded the merger arrangement between Vigilant Insurance Company Limited and NEM Insurance, after which he was appointed the Managing Director of the merged entity.