…demand govt support through business-friendly regulation
Stakeholders in the nation’s financial services sector have advocated the need for Insurance and Pension operators to adopt a more creative and innovative ways in their business approach, product development and service delivery to grow the sectors.
They made the demand at this year’s annual national conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) with the theme: “Role of Insurance and Pension in building sustainable economic growth under the new government,” which held in Lagos recently.
The experts emphasized the need for operators to embrace continued manpower development and technology adoption, which is a panacea for driving growth in modern-day businesses.
They also urged government at all levels to provide an enabling environment, supported by relevant regulation that is business-friendly and growth-driven.
In his contribution at a panel session, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Scib Insurance Brokers, Mr. Shola Tinubu harped on the need for government to adopt creative policies and regulations that are business-friendly and growth-driven for the insurance and Pension sectors.
Tinubu advised the regulators to give operators a free hand to choose their own ways of raising capital.
He said “On the insurance side, capital had been driven by statutory requirements.
“We are talking about the regulator mandating the players to get certain quantum of capital without creating ground for that capital.
“Meaning that companies have to strive for capital just to stay in business and what has happened in the various rounds that we had was that there was no creative idea for channeling the capital.
According to him, if any company decides on its own to go to the capital market to raise capital, such a company will channel the capital effectively for the growth of the business.
Tinubu noted that the industry needs a situation where operators will initiate capital level and use it to follow up investment ideas.
The managing director of Scib stated that there is a need for investment managers who can digest investment ideas and see the kind of things they need.
He explained that operators do not need capital for the sake of raising it, but for investment opportunities that will yield higher returns.
In his view, the Managing Director, ARM Pension, Mr. Wale Odutola, represented by Mrs. Abimbola Suleiman, ED, Investment, ARM Pension, said every household has a need for basic insurance and a basic pension plan.
Odutola noted that insurance and pension have gone a long way in improving the lives of people.
He explained that government alone cannot engender sustainable economic growth, as such, insurance and pension should be encouraged among the rural dwellers to better their lots.
“When insurance handles the risks for businesses and the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) takes care of Pension liabilities from the balance sheet of the companies, this will go a long way to ensure productivity and growth in the nation’s finance sector.
“There are currently nine million people in the CPS net and this is abysmally low when compared to the nation’s population.
“Hence, there is need to get all state governments involved and the participation of the informal sector in CPS,” he said.
According to Odutola, deepening the scope of participation requires innovations and creativity from operators in both the insurance and pension sectors.
Ms. Prisca Soares, former Secretary General of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) said that, lack of skilled manpower, especially in the area of dearth of Actuaries, is presently challenging the insurance industry.
Soares said that the industry needs to take a deliberate attempt to develop its manpower and solve this major challenge, with regard to financial reporting.
She explained that investment in technology needed for actuaries, had been a challenge over the years, but has now become more critical.
“When you do risk base capital you need actuaries to get it right. The insurance industry needs conscious efforts to address this because it is critical to their business,” she said.
Also, Mr. Oguche Aguda, Chief Executive Officer of the Pension Operator Association of Nigeria (PenOp) represented by Mr. Akinbola Akintola,Head of Research Department at PenOp, said, the insurance and pension sectors are facing the same challenge of public confidence.
Oguche charged operators in both sectors to work on their images, adding that if there is no confidence, there is no growth and without growth of the two sectors, the country’s economy cannot grow.
The Group Managing Director, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance (CHI), Mr. Eddie Efekoha represented by Tunde Daramola, ED, Finance at CHI, harped on the need to enforce compulsory insurances and pension, as the era of non-payment of claims have gone.
Efekoha urged operators in both industries to be honest with their businesses, gain the trust of consumers and also bridge their expectation gaps.