By Favour Nnabugwu
Nigeria’s National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and FSD Africa are in collaboration to launch BimaLab, an accelerator programme designed to boost the development and adoption of digital solutions for the insurance sector.
BimaLab Nigeria aims to address gaps in the insurance market by educating, nurturing and promoting innovators and Insurtech start-ups. The programme will borrow from Kenya’s BimaLab I, BimaLab II and global best practices with a focus on local experience to provide Nigeria with the most competitive and attractive start-up accelerator programme.
Ten companies will be selected to participate in the ten-week programme that will provide them with the expertise, resources, and support to develop and scale market-ready solutions that bring social and/or commercial value to Nigeria’s insurance sector.
Across the continent, little knowledge of the insurance industry coupled with low income has affected the rate of insurance penetration in the mass market. Yet, a recent report by Deloitte indicates that affordable insurance products play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of negative financial shocks and in doing so reducing financial vulnerability.
To widen insurance coverage, FSD Africa has recently rolled out a similar accelerator programme in Ghana (InnoLab). The solutions being supported through the accelerator programmes will be expected to also speak to the needs of populations beyond their borders of origination.
Among the success stories from previous BimaLab Accelerator programmes include Bismart, a Kenyan insurance agency that has partnered with Britam to launch a short-term school fees insurance cover called Elimu Smart. The cover protects school-going children from dropping out of school in the event their parent or guardian becomes critically ill or dies, safeguarding the future of the children even in cases of incidents.
Commenting on the launch of the BimaLab Accelerator Programme: Kelvin Massingham, Director – Risk and Resilience, FSD Africa said: “We believe that this programme will enhance the development of a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups; through collaboration with corporate partners, investors and research institutions to accelerate and scale innovation in the insurance industry in Nigeria. We have successfully implemented the programme in Kenya, and are commencing the same in Ghana.”
Commissioner For Insurance/CEO National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Thomas Olorundare Sunday said :“As a key driver of change in the financial sector, innovation has led to immeasurable efficiency and gains. Even though these changes can sometimes be accompanied by uncertainty and hesitation, there is evidence of great success. I have no doubt that with such collaborations, Nigeria is set to be a successful case study on insurance innovation across the continent.”
UK’s Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones in Lagos said: “As a result of Covid-19’s negative impact and the resulting need for improved resilience against economic shocks, innovative insurance becomes increasingly important in addressing emerging vulnerabilities among businesses and households.
The UK government has long been enthusiastic about leveraging technology and innovation as major vehicles for making impact and supporting the Nigerian government so the partnership between UK Aid funded FSD Africa and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is crucial in fostering the development of an Insurtech ecosystem that focuses on growth, inclusion, and strategic alliances.”
Applications for BimaLab Nigeria are now open on https://bimalab-nigeria.azurewebsites.net/. The deadline for submission is 23 February 2022.
About FSD Africa
FSD Africa is a specialist development agency working to reduce poverty by strengthening financial markets across sub-Saharan Africa. Based in Nairobi, FSD Africa’s team of financial sector experts work alongside governments, business leaders, regulators, and policymakers to design and build ambitious programmes that make financial markets work better for everyone. Established in 2012, FSD Africa is incorporated as a non-profit company limited by guarantee in Kenya. It is funded by UK aid from the UK government.
About the National Insurance Commission, Nigeria
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) was established in 1997 by the National Insurance Commission Act 1997 with responsibility for ensuring the effective administration, supervision, regulation and control of insurance business in Nigeria and protection of insurance policyholders, beneficiaries and third parties to insurance contracts.