By Rukayat Adeyemi
The National Insurance Commision (NAICOM) on Tuesday lauded the Bank–Assurance initiative of Access Bank Plc and Coronation Insurance Plc, put in place for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Mr Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance, gave the commendation while delivering a keynote at a webinar organised by the companies, with the theme, ‘ Managing Business Risk at a Time of Uncertainty’.
Thomas said that the Bank-Assurance scheme aligned with the commission’s campaign for financial education and inclusiveness.
He said that the initiative would enlighten the insuring public on the insurance products they needed to have at any point in time to protect their assets.
The commissioner urged the public, especially small business owners, to take up insurance products in managing their businesses.
“It is good to have a good risk management framework as well as the ability to manage our insurance and assets.
” Many are left with the option of cutting cost, however not all cost-cutting will measure success and some might even end up hurting our businesses.
“As business owners and as businesses spring up, we must ensure that we put the right processes in place in trying to manage our assets and ensure that we have more strategic thinking.
“Risk is part of our business endeavours and the best thing is to evaluate and see what part of the risk you can transfer, as the insurance industry has proven its relevance in the affairs of the economy, ” he said.
Earlier, Mr Femi Oyetunji, Group Managing Director, Continental Reinsurance, described risk as anything that brings uncertainty into the achievement of objective.
Oyetunji, represented by his Technical Advisor, Mr Taiwo Adeoyin, said that the main priority of the masses for now is how to reduce cost and expenses on business due to high inflation rate.
He explained that the rationality paradox theory tells us that sometimes, what we gain in terms of reducing costs could even be more in terms of what we lose.
”You could say that this is not the time to take up insurance or this is not the time to insure some assets, but I tell you that at the end of the day, you might end up eating down into your portfolio and into your bottom line, to be able to find your feet in sustainability.
“At this point in time, it is good to reduce costs, but in terms of insurance, we should ensure that all our assets are adequately insured.
“It is also important to have a good management framework and be able to manage our insurance assets,” he said.
Mr Roosevelt Ogbona, Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, said that the bank decided to partner with Coronation Insurance to evolve the Bank – Assurance scheme to fulfil its promise of being more than a bank to its customers.
“We want our customers to experience the best of underwriting and claims experience and I believe that this partnership will make that possible.
“Coronation is a natural partner for us. First, because of the history we have just shared, and more importantly is that it meets all the criteria that we wanted in an insurance partner.
“This included the speed of response and the level of customers that coronation insurance brought to the table, and secondly, and more critically, is the financial strength and capitalisation of the company, ” he said.
According to him, the collaboration between the companies will define and set new standard for quality service delivery within the insurance industry.
Ogbona said that the initiative would elevate the level of insurance services to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) above what is existing in the banking sector and propel the industry to what it ought to be .
Mrs Yinka Adekoya, Managing Director, Coronation insurance Plc, expressed optimism that the webinar was impactful and would help stakeholders in planning for the year 2021 and the uncertainty faced by all.
” We are extremely excited at this transformational Bank – Assurance partnership with the Access Bank, and we hope that it will establish us as the point of reference in the insurance industry in Nigeria and Africa,” she said. (NAN)