Experts canvass tailored insurance solutions for MSMEs

A group picture with the President CIIN, Director General, Dignitaries, Speakers and Participants at the 2022 Education Seminar in Benin.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Stakeholders affirmed that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is the missing link in insurance penetration in the country hence, operators need to urgently provide the sector with tailored insurance solutions.

This was the view of the stakeholders who converged in Benin City, Edo State for the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Education Seminar themed “Insurance Solutions for MSMEs: Accessing New Opportunities for Penetration”.

Delivering the welcome address, the President/Chairman of Council, Edwin Igbiti, said the MSMEs sector is a major pillar and contributor to the nation’s GDP.

“The sector plays strategic roles in poverty alleviation and inclusive growth through innovative and improved productivity, but unfortunately, they are highly vulnerable to risks. MSMEs in Nigeria account for 96 per cent of all business activities, contribute 50 per cent of the national GDP, and provide over 48% of all employment opportunities in the country, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

“Despite the critical position of MSMEs in the socio-economic development of Nigeria, we recognise that they face numerous hurdles that negatively affect their sustained growth, including limited to no access to funding, business training, formal credit, infrastructure deficit, and more.“This is where insurance comes in to help indemnify the risks identified in this market. The consumption rate of this essential service; insurance by enterprises has been consistently low in Nigeria. We need to change this narrative.

From left: Director-General, CIIN, Mrs. Abimbola Tiamiyu, National President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON) Dr. Femi Egbesola, President CIIN, Edwin Igbiti, Head, Financial Services SCIB Nigeria & Company Limited, Peter Offiong, and DGM (Divisional Head SME – South), Bank of Industry Limited; Obaro M. Osah at the event.

“A major risk that is bedeviling the nation and MSMEs inclusive, among others is the flooding menace. The current flooding has caused major havocs and death of lives. I seize this opportunity to sympathize with all the victims across the country and believe that insurance companies will play their expected roles in ameliorating the effect of the losses and damages done promptly, as I know they are currently warming up to process huge claims from recent floods that ravaged some states.

“This again, avails us the opportunity to resonate the benefits of insurance to Nigerians. I therefore urge us all to be custodians of the industry by consistently advocating the significance of insurance to all. Hence, this Seminar theme is expedient for us to discuss the relevance of insurance solutions for MSMEs growth and opportunities for penetration.”, he said.

On his part, the Keynote Speaker, Babatunde Fajemirokun, MD/CEO AIICO Insurance Plc, stated that MSMEs are clearly the driving faction needed to improve the economy and boost insurance penetration.

“Rethinking the role of MSMEs is crucial to the penetration of insurance in Nigeria. The sector is the missing link in expanding the frontiers of the insurance market. The market should be relied on to boost the adoption level of insurance even as marketing, advertising and branding should be invested more in the insurance industry.”

Also speaking, the Head, Financial Services SCIB Nigeria & Company Limited, Peter Offiong, noted that products and services of insurance fail because they do not meet the specific needs of the MSMEs and other consumers.

He added that operators must start to produce products and services that relate to what people think and do daily. “The issue with MSMEs is in product development, because they are in different categories, hence consumer education should be intensified and they should learn to trust us to deliver their needs.”

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