The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged insurance operators in the country to ensure diverse insurance products to enable more citizens to key into insurance.
Head, Financial Inclusion Secretariat CBN, Mrs Temitope Akin-Fadeyi, gave the advice while discussing on financial inclusion at the National Insurance Conference on Monday in Abuja.
According to Akin-Fadeyi, the importance of insurance cannot be overemphasized as it can be used in all financial services.
She said the CBN, and the various stakeholders had been on the vanguard of searching for ways of expanding insurance penetration in the country.
She said segmentation was key to reaching the financially excluded and urged operators in the industry to leverage on micro insurance to grow the bottom of the pyramid in the country.
“Segmentation is important as there are customers that are at the bottom of the pyramid, the poor, the people at the grass root.
“As we develop products, there is a strong call for the non-interest insurance because no matter how we package insurance some people for religious reason will not key in.
“So as we push micro insurance, we need to also sell the non-interest component like the “takaful insurance”
because we know that a strong set of our population believe in that way of life.
“At present, we do not have many operators today that are pushing that form of insurance.
” So as we are considering expanding the insurance industry and financial inclusion, let us put that into consideration.”
According to her, financial inclusion is about expanding the space, bringing more people into the formal economy.
Akin-Fadeyi said insurance penetration which was said to be just about two percent of Nigeria’s population could be increased if the right cover and various options were offered to the people.
She urged stakeholders to also key into the bank assurance framework to help achieve financial inclusion in the country.
She said:”We can partner across this phase to serve the segment we are trying to reach as it covers the two sectors.
“On one phase, it serves the banking client and the other phase that banking client can become an insurance client.
“The commission has done its part, the policy framework is there, the guideline is there, the market also needs to rise and take advantage of this opportunity.
“We all have a role to play, we need to do more; the financial inclusion target of December 2020 is close to its terminal date.
“We need to be committed to meet the number of the financial inclusion target so as to better the lot of our citizens through insurance.
Managing Partner at Prohouse and System, Dr Ndubisi Chinedu, said Nigeria had the population to drive financial inclusion.
According to Chinedu, about 37 million of Nigeria’s population are involved in micro enterprise and the major challenge they face is access to credit.
He said it was important to develop products that would ensure this group of people to have access to credit facilities.
“Also, the public does not trust us in the industry and we need to make a lot of effort on this.
“This is because if they do not trust us, it will be difficult for them to key into all of these new products we are introducing in the market,” Chinedu said.
Also, the Learning Manager of Old Mutual Nigeria, Mr Olu Okunnu, urged operators to ensure the use of technology.
He said:”Technology must be brought in, in terms of innovation, because when this is done, trust will begin to build and more people will key into insurance.”