The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, has challenged underwriting firms, brokers and agents in the country to look closely at the significance of the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) to drive penetration in the country.
Speaking at a media retreat at Abeokuta, Ogun State recently he said the initiative that had started which for one reason or the other was delayed or had not been properly implemented will come up alive.
According to him, the MDRI is being revamped to meet the set targets, adding that the commission under his leadership has taken steps to ensure government and its agencies embrace insurance as enshrined in the law.
He said the commission launched the MDRI initiative as a medium term industry development plan designed by the commission with focus on the enforcement of compulsory insurance products, increase insurance awareness, reduction in the incidences of fake insurance and increase agency reform.
He said we expected a more energetic and proactive collaboration from the brokers than we are getting at the moment. The key objectives of MDRI is continuous availability of genuine insurance products at the gross roots, adding that fake insurance products will thrive in the absence of genuine insurance products. We therefore need more brokers and agents at the grassroots to bring insurance services to the door steps of Nigerians in the rural areas.
Beyond the MDRI initiative, he said, brokers and agents now have the opportunity to explore micro and takaful insurances. He said the commission is collaborating with international agencies for sustainable development to conduct a diagnostic study on micro and takaful insurance in Nigeria. The aim is to evolve products that are environmentally friendly and affordable, land develop appropriate regulatory capacity to enable the adoption of insurance at the grassroots as a means of managing risks.
Also, a director in the commission told the Guardian that the MDRI initiative is a good measure to drive penetration in the rural areas. He said that in a population of 170 million, the contribution of the industry to the GDP stand at 0.6 per cent. He urged operators to come up with new ways of doing business in other to achieve better results on investment.
According to him, insurance business in Nigeria are concentrated in the major urban centres – Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt among others, for instance, third party motor policy are sold for N5,000, but outside these zones they are sold for less.
According to him, in some of the states particular in the rural areas, 98 per cent of the people do not know what insurance is all about, they depend on fake insurance policy cover provided by the local government authority agents at a fee not more than N1,000. This is an area the industry should really look at to mount campaign of enlightenment and awareness of the people because they do not know, they are ignorant, they need to be educated.