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Chuks Udo Okonta
At least 25 insurance companies need to up their games to be visible to the public as report shows that they presently occupy the bottom of the industry scrambling for crumbs.
According to Nigeria Insurance Digest, produced by the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), these firms possess less than one per cent of the industry’s market share, with net premium below N2 billion.
Firms in these category include; Unitrust Insurance Company Limited with 0.97 per cent market share; Old Mutual Insurance Company Limited, 0.92; Sterling Assurance Nigeria Limited, 0.89 per cent; Royal Exchange Prudential Life Plc, 0.81 per cent.
Others are, Zenith Life Insurance Limited, 0.79 per cent; Capital Express Assurance Limited, 0.65 per cent; Standard Alliance Life Insurance Plc,0.54; NICON Insurance Plc, 0.35 per cent; Fin Insurance Company Limited, 0.27 per cent; Universal Insurance Plc, 0.25 per cent; Wapic Life Assurance Limited, 0.22 per cent and more.
The Managing Director, Leadway Assurance Limited, Hassan Oye-Odukale, whose firm controlled the largest share of the market with 13.29 per cent, said insurance business entails large number of people. “You want to make sure that you touch people. One of the things we have been accused of in Nigeria is not reaching large number of Nigerians.That is low insurance penetration in the country.
“You penetrate insurance better by selling the product generally to a larger number of people.Even the commissioner for insurance himself agree that we have not adequately penetrated the market.
“Nigeria has a population of over 175 million people so where we look at it that the market is tough, people outside Nigeria see it as opportunity because they look at the number of people we have and if you can sell products to them you know you have penetrated the market. So it is a matter of time we are looking at it also that we need to look at our backyard .There are people to reach there,I look at it that we in insurance industry , we have been a bit lazy I will be frank with you,” he said.
He noted that insurers are not trying to reach people enough with insurance, stressing that when it comes to overall premium income of insurance industry, it is not all that bad but most of them come through commercial insurance.
According to the National Chairman of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Boniface Okezie, who was unhappy about the low level of insurance penetration in the country and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the low level penetration accounts for the below par value at which most of the listed insurance stocks are being sold on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).