The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has restated that about 39.5 million Nigerians were totally excluded from the financial services system. These include insurance services, pension and banking services.
The bank said greater numbers of persons were excluded from insurance and pension services.
A representative of CBN at the micro insurance fair recently held in Lagos, Mr. Olayinka Peters from the Financial Inclusion Secretariat of the apex bank stated this while addressing exhibitors and visitors at the fair.
He attributed Nigerian’s apathy to insurance in particular to lack of trust and financial education, adding that the above two problems must be addressed by the insurers in collaboration with the apex bank.
Peters said to help the apex bank wade into the problem, insurance industry must provide quality data on insurance activities.
According to him, CBN annually publishes data on banking, insurance and pension but that there has not been any quality data raised by insurance industry.
He said data on insurance often provided by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), is of poor quality pointing out that it lacked information on number of women , number of men and children that have insurance cover.
Furthermore, he said the available insurance data provided by the commission lacked sector by sector insurance activities such as agric sector insurance.
He called on the commission and umbrella body of insurance underwriters, the Nigeria Insurers Association to avail the apex bank with quality data that will enable it give adequate attention to insurance and come up with strategy on how to improve on the performance of the sector which after its century of operation in Nigeria contributes below one percent to the National GDP.
He promised that the financial inclusion strategy secretariat to which the NIA is a stake holder would publish every quality data released by the insurance industry.
Speaking, the Director General of NIA, Mr. Sunday Thomas said the association considers the fair very important because looking at the structure of Nigerian population, there is need to deepen Insurance penetration further to make Nigeria occupy higher position in African insurance market .
Thomas said through the fair, NIA wants to leverage on the population of the country to increase insurance penetration and earn more premium for the industry.
According to him, NIA in hosting the fair,considered the fact that majority of Nigeria’s population falls within the low income group and these have for years been excluded from insurance service delivery.
He said against this backdrop, member companies of NIA have gone into development of products that will serve this developing retail market.
According to Thomas, the fair has successfully brought the insurers and insuring public to a common platform where they can interact with each other on insurance services available as well as the relevance to them.
Also speaking at the event, Group Managing Director, Mutual Benefit Assurance, Mr. Akin Ogunbiyi said insurance is very relevant to Nigerians especially to grass root dwellers and informal sector operators.
Ogunbiyi who gave the key note address at the fair listed advantages of insurance to this segment of Nigerian population as provision of other benefits that cannot be accessed through other mechanism adding that micro insurance provides value addition advantage such as risk management advice.
He also noted that micro insurance services to the informal sector operators provides them with peace of mind especially in this period of incessant fire out breaks in various markets in the country since the operators who has micro insurance cover knows that there is micro insurance cover in place.