- Insurance Sector Records 35.7% Premium Growth in 10 Years
The insurance sector has in the past ten years achieved an average growth rate of 35.07 per cent in both life and non-life classes of business.
A breakdown of this showed that life business recorded a higher growth rate of 27.64 per cent, while non-life grew by 7.43 per cent in the last 10 years.
Available statistics from the latest edition of the Nigeria Insurers Association’s annual digest showed that life business witnessed highest increase in premium of 85.8 per cent in 2008m, but recorded poor performance in 2016 when it recorded -0.50 per cent increase in premium generation.
However, in 2011, life business premium grew by 37.21 per cent followed by 2014, when premium from life business grew by 35.02 per cent. In 2012, premium from life business grew by 28.25 per cent while in 2017, it grew by 27.59 per cent.
For the non-life segment, the insurance sector witnessed highest increase in premium in 2008, when the sector’s premium grew by 22.1 per cent. This was followed by 2009, when the industry’s premium in non-life business grew by 19.6 per cent and was closely followed by 2011 and 2012 when it increased by 11.80 per cent and 11.63 per cent respectively.
Nevertheless, the sector recorded the worst performance in premium generation in 2015 and 2014 when growth stood at -3.50 per cent and -1.31 per cent respectively.
In motor insurance business segment, another class of non-life insurance business, the sector recorded a net written premium of N33.859 billion.
Among the underwriting firms that participated in this class of business in 2017, NEM Insurance earned the highest premium of N4.370 billion. NEM was closely followed by Axa Mansard Insurance which recorded N3.080 billion and Leadway Assurance – N3.071 billion.
The least premium earner in the motor insurance class of business for the period was the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation(NAIC) which earned N49.351 million premium.
In fire insurance class of business, the industry recorded the highest premium in 2017, when it garnered N35.375 billion followed by 2016 when it earned N30.773 billion premium and 2015 when it earned N27.36 billion premium.
The least premium in fire insurance business was earned by the sector in 2008, when the industry realised only N15.618 billion premium.
Speaking on the sector’s performance the Chairman, NIA, Mr. Tope Smart, said the sector’s performance during these period was negatively affected by the economic recession experienced in 2016.
He, however, said despite the downturn in economic activities, operators continued to improve their drive and commitment for premium increase.
The immediate past Chairman, NIA and Managing Director Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Mr Eddie Efekoha, said the total quantum of businesses written by insurance companies grew from N315.96 billion in 2016, to an estimated N363 billion in 2017.
He said in 2017, insurance firms had to grapple with challenges of epileptic power supply and dilapidated infrastructure such as roads and other public facilities, all which according to him, exposed the industry to increased cost of operations.
“This coupled with a suffocating tax regime impacted the bottom line of insurance companies,” Efekoha said.
According to him, despite the challenges, the insurance industry, during the period under review continued to perform its role of financial intermediation and business restoration in line with its mandate.
“The volume of business written by the market grew from N315.96 billion in 2016, to an estimated N363 billion in 2017, representing an expected increase of 15 percent over 2016 figure,” he said.
Efekoha, said to ensure a more robust performance in the current business year, the industry operators in collaboration with the National Insurance commission (NAICOM) embarked on various initiatives to deepen insurance penetration.
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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