Welcome Address By Alhaji Mohammed Kari Commissioner for Insurance At the Insurance Industry Consultative Council’s 2019 National Insurance Conference, Held 01 July 2019
@ Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja
It is my privilege to warmly welcome His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is ably represented today by Dr Mahmud Isa-Dutse, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, and all other delegates to this very auspicious conference.
The National Insurance Conference provides a veritable platform for top government functionaries, investors, insurance practitioners and other stakeholders to discuss contemporary issues affecting the development of the insurance industry in Nigeria.
The insurance business model, which essentially entails evaluation and assumption of risk, accumulation of premiums and settlement of claims, has largely remained the same since the first policy was sold in London in 1861. The theme of this year’s conference: “Disruption, Innovation and Business Growth” is therefore very pertinent against the backdrop of the need for the Nigerian insurance industry to remain relevant in an era of dynamism where operating in the same way is an assured route to irrelevance.
The need for radical reforms has been accentuated by the disruptive impact on the insurance industry of a series of digital innovations in areas such as online sales technologies, machine learning, the Internet of Things, advanced analytics and virtual reality, among others. While these new technologies are already making it easier for consumers/policyholders to benefit from superior service and more choice as well as lower prices, there are corresponding challenges. For example, cyber risk and crimes, determination of liability in driverless car accident, emergence of inter-sectoral competitors as well as disruptive social and technological changes.
Therefore, in order to remain relevant and become a critical contributor to the national economy, the industry must consciously be proactive and organized so as to take advantage of the opportunities provided by these disruptive developments while at the same time curbing their corresponding negative impacts. It is important to note that firms will only benefit from digital technology only if they embrace its potentials along the entire insurance value chain, including underwriting and claims management.
This would therefore entail a rethink of the industry’s business strategy and alignment of its operational practices to contemporary economic context such as the Economic Recovery Growth Programme (ERGP) of the Federal Government, sustainable and inclusive insurance as well as exploiting the benefits of the implementation of the 2nd Phase of Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI), among others.
From the regulatory standpoint, the need to exploit the opportunities of digitalization and to tame the cumulative consequence of inflation and devaluation of the Naira heightens the necessity for the ongoing reforms of the insurance industry such as, expansion of the insurance distribution channels, financial inclusion, corporate governance enforcement, market discipline, professionalism and the recapitalization exercise aimed at strengthening insurance institutions and increasing the spread of insurance in the country. Let me hasten to add that these reforms are in furtherance of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s determination to revamp the economy as encapsulated in the ERGP in order to ensure that the insurance industry becomes a significant contributor to economy of Nigeria.
Your Excellency and distinguished delegates, by your esteemed attendance today, you have signposted the Federal Government’s recognition and extended Government’s invaluable moral support to the Nigerian insurance industry.
Let me thank Your Excellency, distinguished personalities and all delegates for your esteemed presence and support.
Commissioner for Insurance
Federal Republic of Nigeria
01 July 2019