Stakeholders in the finance sector have urged insurance operators to offer tailored insurance solutions to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to deepen insurance penetration in the country.
A statement by Ms Chiamaka Ajeamo, Communications Manager, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), on Monday in Lagos,
said this was part of the submissions of the stakeholders at CIIN’s education seminar held in Benin, Edo, over the weekend.
The seminar was themed, “Insurance Solutions for MSMEs: Accessing New Opportunities for Penetration.”
The statement said, Mr Edwin Igbiti, president, CIIN, described the MSMEs sector as a major pillar and contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hence insurers must help players in the sector to embrace more insurance products.
Igbiti quoted the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) as saying MSMEs accounted for 96 per cent of all business activities, contributed 50 per cent of the national GDP, and provided over 48 per cent of all employment opportunities in Nigeria.
“The MSME sector plays strategic roles in poverty alleviation and inclusive growth through innovative and improved productivity; but unfortunately, they are highly vulnerable to risks.
“We recognise that the sector, despite contributing a lot to the socio-economic development of the country, faces numerous hurdles that negatively affect their sustained growth.
“This includes limited access to fund, business training, formal credit, infrastructure deficit, among others,” he said.
According to him, insurers need to come in to help indemnify the risks identified in this market.
Igbiti noted that the consumption rate of insurance being an essential service by the enterprises had been consistently low in Nigeria and as such must be addressed.
He stated that the recent flood menace that affected the nation and MSMEs inclusive, among other mishaps, was an opportunity to enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of insurance.
“I sympathise with all the flood 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.
“I am aware that insurance companies are currently warming up to process huge claims from recent floods that ravaged some states,” he said.
The CIIN president urged Nigerians to be custodians of the industry by consistently advocating the significance of insurance to all.
On his part, the Keynote Speaker, Mr Babatunde Fajemirokun, Managing Director, AIICO Insurance Plc, said MSMEs were the driving force needed to improve the economy and boost insurance penetration.
Fajemirokun noted that the MSMEs market was the missing link in expanding the frontiers of the insurance market.
“The MSMEs market should be relied upon to boost the adoption level of insurance while the insurance industry should also invest more in marketing, advertising and branding,” he said.
The Head, Financial Services, SCIB Nigeria and Company Ltd., Mr Peter Offiong, said the products and services offered by insurance companies had failed to meet the specific needs of the MSMEs and other consumers.
“The issue with MSMEs is in product development, because they are in different categories, hence consumer education should be intensified so that the public can learn to trust underwriters to deliver their needs,” he said.
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