Group Managing Director of the organisation, Wale Banmore
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Chuks Udo Okonta
Royal Exchange General Insurance Company (REGIC), one of Nigeria’s leading insurance companies offering general and special risks protection policies recently held a series of Agriculture Insurance webinars, aimed at increasing the general awareness and perception of agriculture insurance in Nigeria and how good agriculture insurance practice can impact positively on the business of farmers, agro processors, agropreneurs and other stakeholders in the agrobusiness value chain in Nigeria.
A statement by the Head, Corporate Communications, Royal Exchange General Insurance Company, Wilson Okoh-Esene, stated that a four-part webinar series anchored by the Head, Agribusiness and Business Development, REGIC, Chukwuma Kalu, looked at the various aspects of the agriculture industry in Nigeria and the role(s) insurance plays in developing and deepening access to financial services to operators in the agriculture sector.
The first in the webinar series was titled “How Farmers can leverage on Agriculture Insurance to derisk their business during COVID-19 Pandemic Times” and papers were presented by Kalu and Royal Exchange’s Agric Insurance technical consultant, Agrotosh Mookeej, a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, UK and MD, Risk Shield Consulting Actuary, Zimbabwe.
The second edition looked at Agriculture Insurance being a key driver of inclusive finance for farmers, agribusiness SMEs and agroprocessors in Nigeria, explaining in detail, the concept of inclusive finance to farmers and the role of insurance in supporting farming operations. The second webinar also looked into aspects of crowd-funding requirements in raising capital for farming in Nigeria.
The third webinar took a deep-dive into the Ginger value-chain and explained how Weather Index Insurance (WII) can be used to protect businesses and livelihoods. This was held in conjunction with the GIZ Nigerian Competitiveness Project (NICOP), a partnership between the German Government, the European Union and the Federal Government. Yakubu Paiko, Adviser, Access to Finance and Investment, GIZ NICOP, joined the team of Messers Kalu and Agrotosh to explain the concept and product design of Weather Index Insurance (WII) to farmers, farmer cooperatives and other agriculture stakeholders.
The fourth and last in the series, to herald the start of the planting season, focused on using Agriculture Insurance to digitize farming operations and featured Agritask (REGIC’s technology partners, based in Tel Aviv, Israel) as well as representatives from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Royal Exchange General Insurance. The webinar centered on NIRSAL’s role in promoting digitization of farming practices in rural communities; using agric-tech to drive precision agric-insurance inclusion among farmers and also extended to how farmers and agri-businesses can build and gain a competitive edge by using such technology to enhance their farming operations and productivity, leveraging on agriculture insurance.
Speaking on the rationale for the webinars, Benjamin Agili, Managing Director/Chief Executive, REGIC, stated that “these agriculture insurance webinars we just concluded is the company’s way of expanding the frontiers of agriculture insurance adoption in Nigeria, making it easier to be understood and accepted by farmers, agroprocessors, agropreneurs, farming cooperatives, offtakers and other stakeholders nationwide”
Agili further added that “our goal at REGIC is to deepen agriculture insurance penetration and understanding about the values and usefulness of insurance to all Nigerians”. He said “recall that Royal Exchange General Insurance Company (REGIC) was among the first 3 insurance companies to obtain NAICOM approval for Weather Index Insurance (WII) and we have also recently obtained approval for livestock, poultry and fish farming insurance which is already being taken up by livestock farmers in the country”.
Explaining further on the need for the webinars, Chukwuma Kalu, Head of Agribusiness said that “one of the drawbacks in the acceptance of agriculture insurance is the misconception people have about insurance, the issues of claims payment and delays in the settlement of genuine claims. Famers and other stakeholders in the agric space need to understand that insurance is a necessary tool and business enabler. Farmers can use insurance to source finance and farm inputs and use same to protect their production risks for harvest. Once people understand the usefulness of insurance, they will be more than willing to take up agriculture insurance policies on their farms”.
He further added that with Agriculture Insurance, farmers, farm cooperatives and agroprocessors can also access and secure investment capital for expansion of their business and attracting a whole ecosystem of financers or investors as agricultureinsurance provides comfort to investors, as a de-risking mechanism, before investing.