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CBN: MfBs partnership for better micro-insurance services

Published by The Nation on Mon, 03 May 2021

Financial inclusion is the provision of a range of high quality financial products, such as savings, credit, insurance, payments and pensions, which are relevant, appropriate and affordable for the entire adult population, especially the low-income segment of the society. To achieve improved access to financial services, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and financial sector expertshave called for collaboration among Microfinance Banks (MfBs) to expand micro-insurance services for enhanced financial inclusion, writes COLLINS NWEZE.There are avenues to bring banking services to the people. Financial service providers have for years brought their services to the people through savings, micro-insurance, payments, access to credit among others.The move is supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and experts who have called for improved collaboration between Microfinance Banks (MfBs) to provide micro-insurance services to the people.Making this call in Lagos at the sixth annual symposium of the Nigerian Microfinance Platform (NMP) organised by the Microfinance Learning and Development Centre (MLDC), with the theme, Expanding the frontiers of financial inclusion: The micro-insurance option, the experts averred that MfBs are instrumental to the expansion of micro-insurance services among the people.CBN Deputy Governor, Financial Sector Surveillance, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad, said there was the need for a strategy to re-emphasise the importance of micro-insurance as a financial service.This, she said, would re-align micro-insurance as a vital tool in attaining a higher level of financial inclusion within the Microfinance Sub-sector through the security of micro- businesses.Represented by Mrs. Idowu Akinlade, Deputy Director, Other Financial Institution Department (OFISD), Ahmad said: Financial inclusion, which entails affordable and available access to financial services by every adult in any given country or area, also includes insurance; however, this aspect of financial servicing has been under-emphasised for too long.I consider it vital for us, through collaborative efforts, to look deeper into this shadowed aspect of financial inclusion, exchange ideas with our counterparts from other countries, build regulator/operator capacity and tackle issues within the sector to enhance the provision and availability of affordable financial services in Nigeria.Also, making a case for collaboration among MfBs on micro-insurance, Group Chief Executive Officer, Letshego Holdings, the parent company of Letshego MfB, Andrew Fening Okai, said: Microfinance participants should commit to collaborate on building micro-insurance as product of necessity and do it with confidenceadopt and develop clear value propositions while paying attention to simple but efficient distribution channels supported by easy claims resolutions.On his part, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Hassan Bello advised the participants on factors MfBs needed to consider in the provision of micro-insurance services.Represented by Joshua Etopidiok, Director, Special Insured Department SIID, NDIC, Hassan said these factors include trust quotient of the insurance industry; ease of purchase of micro-insurance services; customer service through digitisation; and advocacy for micro-insurance.On the urgency for MfBs and micro businesses to embrace micro-insurance, President Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, said: The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social unrest which climaxed the #EndSARs protest corroborate the need for insurance no matter the size of a given business. You will recall that during the protests, social tensions escalated to heightened levels of violence, looting and vandalism. No doubt, uninsured businesses felt the full effects of the destruction with no or limited options for recovery. I strongly believe that this experience provides a very strong use case for the adoption of micro-insurance.Corroborating this position, Chairperson, AFOS Nigeria LTE, Adetutu Ogunnaike, said the need for inclusive micro-insurance could not be overemphasised, especially in view of the achievement of AFOS through the empowerment of low-income people.She said the company is committed to making insurance inclusive and hence look inward to suggestions on how financial protection from risks can be provided for low-income households.
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