The Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, has said that Nigeria cannot grow without having a strong insurance industry as backbone. To achieve this, Access Bank, Wigwe said, is ready to partner with insurers to showcase insurance to Nigerians and espouse its relevance to national development.
Wigwe, who spoke at an insurance forum organised by the bank for stakeholders in the insurance industry, noted that to achieve this, insurance firms would need to embrace merger and acquisitions as this will position them to recapitalise, thereby becoming stronger to take on mega businesses in the country.
The forum with the theme: “Harnessing Economic Realities with Opportunities for Growth in the Insurance Industry” and sub theme: “Key Issues that affect the Nigerian Insurance Industry,” according to Wigwe, was aimed at tinkering with the possibility of banks partnering with insurers to further grow the economy.
“Insurance has a broader outlet but there are several issues hindering the growth of the industry. About 20 years ago, it used to have international players from America and Britain who had depth of skills. They set up reinsurance offshore and so the industry inherited these skills from them.
“But the fact that people did not pay attention to insurance left a situation where those skills took the back stage. The world over, insurance companies owned banks, and not the other way round. There is need to build strong companies in Nigeria that can manage risk a lot better and provide long term money. This way sector like telecommunication, housing, etc and basically develop infrastructure.”
Director-General, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Sunday Thomas on his part said for insurers to thrive and excel in 2016, they will need to place customers at the centre of their business plans and strategies
“They also need to review our products, policies and processes to ensure that they are relevant to customers’ needs. We must begin to build capacity in retail businesses. We must deliver on the promises through simplified claims processes that will leverage on the use of cutting edge technology.
“For the sustainability of the industry, the market must continue to enhance the way it is valued by the consumers and other stakeholders. The industry must step up its consumer education and public awareness of the vital importance of insurance as a social and economic transformation mechanism.
“Insurance industry will need to keep developing innovative solutions required by consumers to manage risks in an increasingly complex and uncertain environment, price based competition cannot drive growth and sustain the market and therefore must change. There must be high level deployment of technology which will ensure efficiency needed to ensure sustainable growth while the availability of key talents is crucial to the survival and success of the insurance industry,” he said.
Source: The Nation