ADDRESS BY Mrs (Dr.) ZAINAB SHAMSUNA AHMED, HONOURABLE MINISTER OF FINANCE, BUDGET AND PLANNING AT THE COMMISSIONING OF THE NAICOM PORTAL ON FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022 AT THE COMMISSION’s HEAD OFFICE, ABUJA
It is a delight for me to be in your midst this morning to perform the commissioning of the portal of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). I congratulate the governing board, management and staff of the Commission on achieving this feat; leveraging technology and data for the transformation of its processes; drive its regulatory and supervisory functions, increase operational efficiency and improve its corporate outcomes.
I understand that the Portal will serve as a platform for interconnecting all industry stakeholders to support real-time aggregation of data, automate its business processes and provide access to statistical data of the sector.
The commissioning of the Portal should serve as a springboard for industry wide adoption of technology and innovation for efficient and effective service delivery, ease of transacting business and customer experience and satisfaction. The industry should provide quick turnaround time on their services, grant access to information when required without any inhibitions and maintain effective real-time communication with its customers.
Dwindling Government revenue profile demands that the Commission must look into ways of increasing its revenue through the use of technology and the Portal in particular. I urge the Commission to ensure the Portal is connected to other government databases like the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) NIN Database, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Passport Database, Nigeria Integrated Customs Information system, FRSC’s National Vehicle Identification System, the National Vehicle Registry, State Licensing Databases among others in order to provide value added services to all Insurance Industry stakeholders and enhance revenue generation.
In addition, the NAICOM Portal must also serve as the central database and sole repository of all Insurance Data connected to government databases in the country.
Meanwhile, you will agree with me that the unsatisfactory response to settlement of claims by underwriters had greatly contributed to the prevailing poor public perception and lack of trust and confidence in the insurance Industry. Indeed, prompt claims payment is the best advertisement for the industry, therefore all genuine claims that have been duly verified and due process followed, should be paid promptly.
The Commission must put in place mechanisms to ensure Insurance companies meet their obligations to policyholders by paying claims promptly as that is the major reason they exist in the first place. claims payment determines the valuable structure of the industry in the economy.
The current Insurance Penetration, a measure of the contribution of Insurance to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 0.88 for 2021 is very low. This indicates a low Insurance sector development contribution to the National Economy. However, this also shows that there are abounding opportunities for growth in the market. There is a need therefore, to develop new innovative products based on data and customer preferences and introduction of new channels of distribution beyond the traditional channels to reach new segments of the market.
There is also a need for cooperation with other agencies of government to enforce compulsory insurances in the country. Stakeholders in the industry must consciously and intentionally spread the reach of insurance from the major cities and few states to other regions of the country especially the rural areas. Low penetration in the retail end of the market must also be addressed through vigorous drive of inclusive Insurance like micro insurance and takaful.
In addition, deliberate attention must be given to the low insurance literacy and education in the country. Strategies must be put in place for insurance education, awareness and enlightenment. Massive sensitization must be done on both traditional and new media on the benefits of Insurance. I want to advice that insurance education should be introduced in the education curriculum from Primary to Tertiary Schools.
In conclusion, I want to encourage the industry to adopt new and disruptive technologies like mobile technology, cloud computing, Artificial intelligence, Blockchain, Data Analytics and Internet of things in driving and supporting its business. On this premise, I commend the Commission for being in the forefront of this and for incepting initiatives in this direction including Guidelines for Web Aggregators and Regulatory Sandbox, introduction of BIMA Lab Insurtech Accelerator Program. However, I believe there is a need for Regulatory framework for Insurtech companies to guide and supervise their operation without inhibiting their innovation. The Commission should look into this.
I believe with the commissioning of the NAICOM Portal today, the long overdue digital transformation of the insurance industry has begun with the attendant effect of increased penetration, reduction in the numbers of fake insurances, efficient service delivery and improving public trust in Insurance.
On this note, I hereby commission the NAICOM Portal.
Thank you all for your attention.