Munich Re records 55% net profit in 2020

Dr Joachim Wenning, chair of the board of management at Munich Re


Munich Re reported a 55 percent fall in net profit last year to €1.2bn despite 18 percent growth in ERGO’s contribution to €517m, as the group was struck by €3.4bn of Covid-19 losses.

The group’s reinsurance business saw profit drop 69 percent to €694m in 2020, as the bulk of the group’s heavy Covid-19 losses hit the unit, with primary insurer ERGO reporting just €64m of pandemic claims.

CEO Joachim Wenning said “all the pieces are in place” for the group to return to pre-pandemic profit targets of €2.8bn in 2021. He said Munich Re would have met this target last year without Covid-19.

Munich Re’s combined ratio deteriorated to 105.6 percent last year from 100.2 percent. Major losses in excess of €10m each totalled €4.69bn for 2020 and €1.19bn for Q4.

The group said major loss expenditure at 20.8 percent of net earned premiums exceeded the long-term average of 12 percent. Covid-19 losses together with manmade claims totalled €3.78bn in 2020. But nat cat losses of €906m were lower than expected. Hurricane Laura was the costliest catastrophe of the year for Munich Re at €280m.

The group reported a drop of more than 2 percent in Q4 profit to €212m, on the back of a 35 percent fall in reinsurance to €75m, and an increase at ERGO to €136m.

For full-year 2020, ERGO was close to meeting its pre-pandemic original profit target of €530m after ERGO International saw its profit more than double to €230m from €105m, and its combined ratio improve to 92.7 percent from 94.3bpercent in 2019.

The group’s 2020 operating result dropped 42 percent to €1.99bn, after a 62 percent fall in reinsurance to €984m from €2.6bn in 2019.

Gross premiums written increased almost 7 percent to €54.9bn last year, driven by 10 percent growth in reinsurance business to €37.3bn, while ERGO recorded a drop of 0.5 percent to €17.6bn.

At key renewals in January 2021, Munich Re recorded an 11 percent increase in the volume of business to €11.6bn. Rates were up 2.4 percent across its global portfolio and terms improved, particularly in non-proportional business. Half of Munich Re’s P&C business was renewed in January and the group said it expects further rate hardening in April and July renewals.

Mr Wenning said Munich Re was still able to make a profit and return a dividend to shareholders in 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19. He said the group entered 2021 with confidence.

“Our reinsurance business is ideally positioned to resolutely exploit opportunities for profitable growth in the improved market environment. And ERGO is performing well following the successful conclusion of its strategy programme,” Mr Wenning said.

He added that the group will hold off from the launch of a new share buyback programme. “Our shareholders will benefit more from investments in the attractive business opportunities now emerging,” he said.

Moody’s analyst Christian Badorff said Munich Re performed better than some of its peers and benefited from ERGO as “a good diversifier in 2020”.

“In the recent P&C reinsurance renewals, Munich Re has been able to grow its book by 11 percent also benefiting from price hardening, and we think this will support underlying earnings in 2021. Group Solvency II at 208 percent continues to be strong, but we note a material weakening from the pre-crisis levels of 237 percent at year-end 2019, driven mainly by the growing book of business, low yields and increasing credit risk,” Mr Badorff said.

By admin

AXA XL posted a €1.4bn underlying earning loss in 2020, from profits of €507m a year earlier, as Covid-19 and nat cat claims saw its combined ratio hit 112.2 percent

In full-year results, AXA XL also announced that it has entered into an adverse development cover (ADC) agreement with Enstar to provide up to $900m of protection against long-tail lines reserves for accident years 2019 and prior.

AXA XL’s 2020 combined ratio deteriorated from 101.5 percent in 2019 as the pandemic cost the unit about €1.7bn, and its nat cat claims were higher than normal. Excluding pandemic losses, the combined ratio would have been 102.5percent

The numbers come despite strong pricing improvement at AXA XL that helped revenues increase 3 percent at constant exchange rates to €18.53bn, although they fell 1 percent on a reported basis.

AXA XL Insurance achieved 17 percent price increases on renewals last year, rising to 22 percent in the fourth quarter. AXA XL Reinsurance saw price rises of 7 percent for the year and 9 percent at 1 January renewals, compared to 6 percent a year earlier.

Under the ADC deal with Enstar, AXA XL will obtain coverage for 90 percent of potential €1bn adverse reserve development. The protection attaches at $375m in excess of International Financial Reporting Standards reserves of $11bn.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals, and is expected to finalise around the end of the first quarter this year.

But despite this, and a difficult 2020, AXA XL has reiterated its €1.2bn earnings target for 2021.

The performance at AXA XL contributed to AXA P&C’s underlying earnings falling 51% to €1.64bn, driven by P&C Covid-19 losses of €1.5bn. This is line with the company’s previous pandemic estimate.

P&C suffered €1.1bn of business interruption losses, €600m for event cancellation, €500m in other lines and €200m for solidarity payments. This was offset by about €800m of lower motor claims.

P&C was also affected by higher-than-normal nat cat claims of €502m that fell on AXA XL.

AXA said that excluding Covid-19 claims and assuming a normalised nat cat loss year, P&C underlying earnings were up 2 percent

P&C revenues were up 1 percent to €48.73bn, with commercial lines revenue up 2 percent to €31.7bn.

The P&C 2020 combined ratio was up 3.2 points to 99.5 percent, largely reflecting the impact of Covid-19 claims and higher nat cat charges. Excluding Covid-19 claims, the all-year P&C combined ratio was broadly stable at 96.4 percent

AXA Group’s 2020 under-earnings decreased by 34 percent to €4.26bn, driven by the 51 percent fall in P&C. AXA’s group net income was down 18 percent to €3.16bn.

AXA Group’s revenues were down 7 percent last year to €96.72bn, or 1 percent at constant exchange rates. This reflects growth of 4 percent in Q1, decline of 10 percent in Q2, a fall of 1percent in Q3 and an increase of 1 percent in Q4.

AXA’s CEO Thomas Buberl said: “The group’s underlying earnings were €4.3bn in 2020, notably impacted by €1.5bn of Covid-19-related claims, as previously communicated, and by higher natural catastrophes. We are confident in our earnings outlook and have set a 2020 starting base of €6.3bn underlying earnings for our 2021-2023 strategic plan targets.”

Tangerine Life Insurance Limited, (previously known as Metropolitan Life Insurance Nigeria Limited), has, after a meticulous process, concluded its merger with ARM Life PLC.

Tangerine is owned by Verod Capital, a leading private equity firm investing in growth companies across Anglophone West Africa.

The key objective of the acquisition is to build a stronger, broader insurance and financial services platform, drawing on the strengths of both entities. Tangerine’s strength in the corporate market segment and ARM Life’s broad retail and annuity-based service offering.

Since it was first announced in February, 2020, both organizations have embarked on a rigorous exercise to evaluate their collective strengths and address any gaps, towards building an impressive new enterprise focused on digital first. The new entity will focus on impressing and satisfying customers with quality products and a superior customer experience.

Tangerine Life’s ethos and drive is clear in the words of Livingstone Magorimbo, Managing Director, Tangerine Life, “Integrating the businesses has presented us a tremendous opportunity to enhance our capabilities, improve operating efficiencies and grow our businesses.

At Tangerine Life, we will continue to innovate, drive positive change within the insurance industry and create tremendous value for our customers towards effectively positioning our business to stay ahead of the next wave of industry evolution.”

 The next phase of ARM Life’s rich retail and annuity heritage involves leveraging technology to better serve all stakeholders as evident in the words of Stephen Alangbo, (former Managing Director at ARM Life) and director at Tangerine Life “Innovation is paramount in ensuring customer satisfaction in today’s business landscape. We believe that the combination of both entities will ensure exceptional value creation for existing and new customers and partners”.

The merger places Tangerine Life firmly as the 4th largest life insurer in Nigeria and positions it for future growth.

By Favour Nnabugwu

The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, NCRIB, has all insurance brokers to play by the rule with almost professionalism and integrity.

President of NCRIB, Mrs Bola Onigbogi who concerned by the reports on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Bestworth Insurance Brokers over N26bn PHCN Severance benefit.

The NCRIB claimed Bestworth Insurance Brokers is not a member of the Council, adding that NCRIB dissociated itself the conduct of the company and its MD, Mr Abiodun Waheed Hassan.

According to her, “The fact is that the company is not a member of our Council and as such we dissociate ourselves from its alleged heinous unprofessional conduct, for which it is being investigated”

“This is a challenge to all members to play according to the rules and eschew acts that could jeapardise individual and corporate reputation of our companies and the Council”.

Explaining further, Onigbogi said, “It was alleged that the stashed funds was meant for payment of outstanding insurance premium and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into the corporate account of entities”

The Council however urged all members to play according to the rules and eschew acts that could jeapardise individual and corporate reputation of our companies and the Council
It will be recalled that EFCC arraigned Abiodun Waheed Hassan and his Company Bestworth Insurance Brokers  on February 25, 3020 before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal

Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja on a five count charge of alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the
tune of over Twenty Six Billion Naira (N26billion).

The defendant allegedly diverted humongous sums of money earmarked for
the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and
incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), into the
corporate account of entities.

Count one of the charge reads: That you, Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokersi Limitedand  on or about 15th January 2015, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal CapitalTerritory, while being entrusted with certain property to wit: thebsum of N26,236,594,986.00 (Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-sixMillion, Five Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundreda and Eighty-six Naira only) paid into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE

Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked
for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased
and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did
commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N2,500,000,000.00( Two Billion
Five Hundred Million Naira only) thereof when you transferred the said
sum into Kakatar CE Limited’s Zenith Bank Account No.1012637660 and you
thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Panel
Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.”

Count Five states, “that you , Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director,
Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited on or about 18th December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction
of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being
entrusted with certain property to wit: the sum of N26,236,594,986.00
(Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred
and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-six Naira only) paid
into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No.
1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE Benefits account with the Central
Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding
insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of
Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did commit criminal breach of
trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating
the sum of N6,000,000,000.00( Six Billion Naira only) thereof when you
transferred the said sum into PJO Venture Limited’s Skye Bank Account
No.1771645235 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under
Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,
(Abuja) 2004.”

The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’, when the charges were read to him.
Based on his plea, prosecution counsel, Benjamin Lawan Menji, ask for a
trial date and prayed the Court to remand the defendant at the
Correctional Service pending the trail.

Counsel for the defendant, Ade Olusalako told the court that the defense
had filed a motion for bail of his client and pleaded for the remand of
the defendant in the custody of the EFCC pending the determination of
his bail application on the grounds that “the defendant has been on
administrative bail for almost five years and he has an underlining

However, the prosecution counsel objected to the application. “As he
rightly submitted, we received the application but we shall vehemently
be opposing the application; we said vehemently so that the court will
know that we have a strong opposition. Moreover, our facility is
overstretched because of the issue of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the little
we have we are trying to manage them. The proper place of detention or
custody is the Correctional Service which the government has done its
best in providing”, Menji told the court.

However, Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021 for
hearing on the bail application and remanded defendant in EFCC custody.

UK’s leading insurer Aviva Plc has sold its French unit for 3.2 billion euros ($3.9 billion), marking the biggest deal under chief executive officer Amanda Blanc’s turnaround plan to streamline operations in the UK, Ireland and Canada.

The deal significantly strengthens Aviva’s capital and liquidity with an increase in excess capital of 2.1 billion pounds ($2.95 billion) and center cash of 2.8 billion pounds ($3.9 billion).

Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva, said: “The sale of Aviva France is a very significant milestone in the delivery of our strategy.”

“It is an excellent outcome for shareholders, customers, employees and distributors. The transaction will increase Aviva’s financial strength, remove significant volatility and bring real focus to the Group.”

“Aéma Groupe has a strong heritage in the French insurance industry and this transaction will propel it to a top five position in the French market. I am confident Aéma Groupe will be an excellent owner of Aviva France.”

Aéma Groupe is a leading French mutual insurer with 8 million customers and revenues of over €8bn and €7.4bn of equity. It was formed in January by the merger of Aésio and Macif.

Aviva’s shares rose as much as 2.1% in early trading in London.

A tough decision
Aviva’s sale of its French operations following the sale of its shareholding in an Italian JV in November last year, as the company looks to regain dominance over its core markets.

Today’s sale covers the France life, general insurance, and asset management businesses and the shareholding in Aviva France.

The UK insurer expects to use the increased cash and capital to bolster its capital framework of debt reduction, investment for long-term growth strategies and return of excess capital to shareholders. A part of the cash proceeds will be used to fasten repayment of some of the Group’s internal loan with Aviva Insurance.

Aviva France, which is the largest part of the Group’s manage-for-value portfolio, has not remitted any dividends to Aviva Plc. in 2020.

The insurance industry has been under extreme duress for years even before the pandemic due to record low bond yields and rising regulatory costs. Many insurers including Aviva have found themselves shedding less profitable operations to stay firm in the markets.

Aviva’s French unit accounted for 20% of the company’s total revenue in 2019, according to Bloomberg. In spite of the surge in revenue, it still stands at 11th position in the French life-insurance markets which is largely dominated by banks and mutual, and 12th in general insurance, according to the company’s 2019 annual report.

Aviva’s recent deals include an agreement to sell its life-insurance unit in Vietnam and the offloading of its stake in Italian life-insurance JV with UBI Bance. The UK insurer is also in negotiations to sell its Italian life insurance business to Paris-based CNP Assurances. In addition, Allianz SE is in talks to acquire Aviva’s general insurance unit in France, according to people familiar with the matter.


From left: Vice President, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr. Tunde Oguntade; President, Mrs Bola Onigbogi; Managing Director, African Alliance Insurance Plc, Mrs. Joyce Ojemudia; Head of Finance, African Alliance Insurance Plc, Bode and the NCRIB Executive Secretary, Mr Fatai Adegbenro at the February Edition of NCRIB Members’ Evening





• Distinguished members of the NCRIB Governing Board
• Top Management team of African Alliance Insurance Plc, ably led by the Managing Director/CEO, Mrs. Joyce Ojemudia,
• ,Our guest speaker, Mr. Obashola Alo, FCIB, Group Head, Insurance/Financial Risks, Dangote Industries Ltd
• Our guests here present,
• Gentlemen of the Press,
• Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am most delighted to welcome you all to the first edition of NCRIB Member’s Evening in 2021, holding here in Lagos. Permit me to use this opportunity to appreciate all members across the nation, especially, our living ancestors, distinguished Board Members and all other professional colleagues for your unflinching support for the current management team.

It is no more news that activities and events are taking different shapes and dimensions. Some of our members can now sit down at the corner of their various offices and houses and still be a part of Members’ Evening. This is one of the numerous opportunities that came with the advent of Coronavirus. I am convinced that this development has further enhanced participation of our members in our various events and activities, especially, members in the diaspora. Although, it would have been my utmost pleasure to have everyone physically present here, but we must adhere strictly to the Federal Government regulation to curtail further spread of the dreaded virus. It is on this note I like to encourage my distinguished professional colleagues, especially, those outside Lagos, to leverage on this opportunity and be a part of our activities. Your attendance and participation in our events are always a source of encouragement. May I implore all the Area Committee Chairmen to always encourage their members to attend and participate virtually in all programs organized at the national level.

I like to reiterate that this leadership team is committed to the development of our noble profession. We are not stopping until all stones are turned. At the inception of this administration, I did identified two cardinal thrust of my leadership, which were Image Building and Strategic Engagement. I need not bother you on most of our landmark achievements within this period in spite of the challenge of Covid-19, but I need to stress that no leader is sustained without the followers. It is on this note that I crave more of your cooperation, suggestions and participation. Together we shall continue to stand. We have endeavored to make our events most resourceful and educative.

I am most delighted to inform you that before the end of this event, we will be learning tips on how to package winning bids. This will be handled by Mr. Obashola Alo, Group Head, Insurance/Financial Risks, Dangote Industries Limited who incidentally is also a Fellow of our Council. Our choice of Mr. Alo is certainly hinged on his experience on the subject matters. I would like to encourage you all to take the full advantage of this educative and informative session.

Let me use this medium to profoundly appreciate African Alliance Insurance Plc team for its unrelenting determination to further deepen relationship with Registered Insurance Brokers, as evidenced by the resolve to host this landmark edition of NCRIB Members’ Evening. Also, I like to officially congratulate Mrs. Joyce Ojemudia for her appointment as the Managing Director of a very progressive firm. I have no doubt in the ability of Mrs. Ojemudia to lead African Alliance to a lofty height of achievement. It will delight you to know that Mrs. Ojemudia in her personal capacity contributed towards the success of my investiture in 2019. She was also strong member of my Investiture Committee and she has again proved to us that she is Brokers-friendly. I have no doubt today that African Alliance Insurance Plc has etched its name in the golden book of record of Registered Insurance Brokers in Nigeria.

Customarily, at the appropriate time in the course of this event, we shall have the opportunity to ask questions from Mrs. Ojemudia and interact with the management team of the company on issues that are germane to the company’s growth and survival. I want to urge our members who have opted to join us virtually to also make their observations and comments at the appropriate time. You can also drop your comments.


As a critical player in the national economy, the onus is on the NCRIB to express grave discomfort about the increasing spate of insecurity in the country, in spite of government’s efforts to improve the national economy generally. There is hardly a day that passes by without reported cases of kidnapping, killing, terrorism and other criminal cases that is fast making our country dreadful to live in. This has reached a preposterous dimension and is adversely affecting the pace of economic growth as genuine foreign investors are scared putting their monies into the economy. Since there is a correlation between insurance and economic growth, it is most auspicious for the NCRIB to join its voices to the need to call on government to put in more efforts to combat security challenges in the country. We are using this medium to call on federal government to overhaul its security apparatus while at the same time enhancing collaboration with governments and institutions both within and outside the country to put an end to this menace. It is expedient to eulogize the federal government on its decision to change all the service chiefs, we enjoin the newly appointed service chiefs to brace up to the challenge and ensure the challenge of insecurity is tackled head-on. We also like to reiterate that the role of education and prompt information in tackling insecurity cannot be undermined. At this juncture, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should be rejiged and repositioned to conscientize Nigerians continually on the need for them to be their brothers’ keepers by breaking down belief systems, be they religious or cultural, militating against peaceful coexistence and sanctity of human lives. Also, we implore government to join the league of developed Countries of the world who have resorted to using Information Communications Technology (ICTs) to combat crime. It is not out of place for the federal, states and local governments to deploy the use of CCTV in all towns and cities in the country. This device would assist the law enforcement agencies to keep better tap on criminal activities throughout the country.


Success does not come easy, but through hard work and determination. In the world that is often regarded as Men’s World, it takes courage for a woman to vie for an exalted position such as Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO). The competition for the position of Director General, WTO was indeed fierce, but our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala succeeded in landing the new job. It is on that note that on behalf of the entire membership of the Council, I like to congratulate her on the accomplishment. We have no doubt in her ability to perform sternly in the new job. Her accomplishment as two terms Nigeria Finance Minister speaks volume of her ability to daze the world’s powers and perform beyond expectation. It is hope that with her emergence as the Director General of the Organisation, she would deploy her brain and brawn to evolve with laudable strategies that will boost and develop international trade in the world which will aid smooth flow of mobile trade between Nigeria and other Countries of the world thereby deepening insurance business in Nigeria and showcasing the structured practice of insurance that exist in our nation.

Earlier today, the Governing Board of our noble Council met to ratify and approve the admission of new Fellows to the prestigious society of Fellows of the Council.
Definitely, admission of new members into the society of fellows will further increase the number of members who had been admitted since the inception. The screening process has begun and hopefully, the Board of Fellows, the Committee responsible to access the eligibility of members who had submitted their application forms, would come out with their report.

Barring all unforeseen circumstances, about 56 Insurance Brokers be inducted as new associates of the Council tomorrow, Wednesday, February 24, 2021. In compliance with the Federal Government directives on Covid-19, the induction ceremony will hold at the Council’s event hall with adequate provision to observe social distancing and other measures.


In conclusion, please permit me to appreciate African Alliance Insurance once again for electing to host this evening and affirm that by so doing the company has again etched its name as one of the Most Brokers-Friendly underwriters in the market today.

The SCOR group closed the 2020 financial year with a turnover totaling 16.368 billion EUR (20.1 billion USD), a 0.16 percent increase compared to the 16.341 billion EUR (18.3 billion USD) recorded in 2019.

SCOR Global P&C reported a 0.18 percent increase in gross written premiums with a total of 7.16 billion EUR (8.794 billion USD). The group’s property and casualty class of business generated a net combined ratio of 100.2 percent in 2020.

The SCOR Global Life entity posted a 0.15% increase in turnover in 2020. Life premiums went from 9.194 billion EUR (10.296 billion USD) as at 31 December 2019 to 9.208 billion EUR (11.309 billion USD) a year later.

The French reinsurer’s net result dropped by 44.5% percent to 234 million EUR (287.409 million USD) against 422 million EUR (472.581 million USD) at the end of 2019. The return on equity (ROE) stands at 3.8%.

The results were significantly impacted by the pandemic which cost the Group an estimated 640 million EUR (786.076 million USD) in 2020. SCOR is proposing a dividend of 1.8 EUR (2.2 USD) per share to shareholders for the financial year 2020

Can technology change culture of Nigerians toward insurance

Just 1 percent of working Nigerian adults have an insurance plan of any type. Car insurance is supposed to be a compulsory requirement for owning and driving cars in Nigeria, but it has been a tough sell. Unless you are a landlord, housing insurance probably never crosses your mind.

The most tantalizing health and life insurance packages face the assured “God forbid rebuttal, with a sprinkling of “it’s not my portion” on top.

Insurance is future relief against unforeseen events. By paying a fixed regular amount every month or so, an individual buys an ability to start, not from scratch, but from the point of last use when something wrong happens. Insurance preserves value and removes the fear of starting over, which can be crippling at times.

So why has it been difficult to get Nigerians interested in insurance plans? Adia Sowho doesn’t think this is a complex question.

During her time at Etisalat Nigeria, she attempted to partner with insurance companies to offer insurance to the telco’s customers. Those conversations fell through for different reasons but the experience helped form her current view of the difficulty in the market.

“Insurance is a product that carries quite a bit of sophistication,” Sowho said on Digital Identity Matters, a recent live discussion on the intersection of identity technology and insurance organised by VerifyMe Nigeria.

This sophistication shows up in the value users place on their possessions. An ideal insurance buyer would be seriously disturbed by the possibility of loss that they would do anything possible to minimise the future impact of such a loss.

However, the majority of Nigerians are just “not at that level of sophistication in our thinking just yet,” Sowho says.

Bayo Adesanya, the chief digital officer at AXA Mansard, a Nigerian insurance provider, agrees with Sowho’s framing of the problem. He is convinced that growth in insurance will be driven by retail adoption by an emerging type of consumer who has high expectations for convenience and familiarity.

“That segment will not buy a lot of the products that are on offer today because those products were not designed for them,” Adesanya says.

To correct this, he believes insurance products should be tailored to meet potential customers at points of contact that they are already used to.

That would mean integrating USSD functionalities for people who use feature phones, in place of paper-based enrollment and access systems. There is also room for practitioners to learn from traditional rotational savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), like the ajo system.

It’s a train of thought that appeals to Esigie Aguele, co-founder and CEO of VerifyMe. Changing present habits around insurance is a move to influence the culture and there’s no way to do so effectively without adapting formal insurance terminologies (like “premiums”) in ways that will be familiar to people who already have various forms of alternative insurance.

However, Aguele believes there is a great opportunity for accelerating adoption by using digital identity technology of the sort VerifyMe provides.

Founded in 2013 and evolved to a Know Your Customer tech company in 2017, VerifyMe provides digital verification services that comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s tier-3 standards for verification as well as requirements for anti-money laundering tracking.

At the moment, VerifyMe does tens of thousands of address verifications in a month, including for about 16 banks in Nigeria. Aguele says this ‘verification engine’ has shown an optimum capacity for verifying insurance customers’ assets in every local government area in Nigeria.

“The technology is there, the APIs are there today. But with the market we have, there’s a lot of need for regulation and enforcement so we can grow that market, while we work on the economic issues that will change cultural perceptions.”

Aguele’s optimism for insurance in Nigeria borrows from the state of the market in South Africa, which is worth $50bn and contributes 17 pecent  to GDP. In his view, Nigeria – which has 3 times South Africa’s population, should be doing much better than the paltry sub-one-percent contribution to GDP.

Sowho is skeptical about the view that insurance will grow in Nigeria by a reliance on more regulation. Also, it will not be possible to try to innovate by circumventing existing regulations.

But she is confident that a reimagined approach that starts small and moves gradually up the user case scale will move the needle quicker. Of course, enabled by digital identity systems for crucial insurance components like address verification.