CFI, Sunday Thomas speech at the launch of R3Lab in Lagos

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REMARKS BY MR. O. S. THOMAS, COMMISSIONER FOR INSURANCE (NIGERIA) AT THE LAUNCH OF RISK, RESILIENCE AND REGULATORY LAB (R3LAB) LAUNCH, AT FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS ON 30TH MARCH 2022

I am pleased to welcome you to the Launch of the Risk, Resilience and Regulatory Laboratory (R3Lab).

This event was conceived by our development partners, Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) funded by UK Aid. The setting up of the R3Lab was given impetus by our mutual interest in maximizing the untapped potential of the African insurance industry and exploring ways in which collaboration, technology and insurance supervisory capacity building is capable of not only mitigating the impact of specific challenges experienced in the regulatory environment but also improve the regulatory effectiveness of African insurance supervisory authorities.

We are all aware of the evolving risks in the Africa economic space such as climate change, pandemics, digitalization, inadequate understanding and lack of confidence in the insurance sector and the need for new strategies to enhance the capabilities of African insurance supervisory authorities to effectively regulate and protect insurance policyholders.

The R3Lab offers a three-tiered approach towards creating an enabling regulatory environment and equipping the regulator with sound, proportionate and fit-for-purpose practices.

Risk, Resilience, and Regulation are the key entry points for the R3Lab to build the technical capacity and skills of the regulator on innovation and sustainable insurance. The R3Lab will facilitate the design of customized capacity-building programs and set up peer to peer exchange platforms, comprehensive learning toolkits, a resource center for data collection and reporting and topical taskforces and forums for insurance supervisors in Africa.

I am pleased to confirm that this platform is the third joint-initiative that has been birthed through FSD Africa’s partnership with NAICOM. The first was FSD Africa’s ongoing support in the review of existing regulations including identifying and articulating the key steps, framework(s), and tools required by NAICOM for Risk-Based Capital (RBC). This will enable NAICOM fully implement a scalable RBC Framework in Nigeria as well as to help it develop an innovation framework for NAICOM to fulfill its dual objectives of market development and policyholders’ protection.

It is also gratifying to state that, FSD Africa in furtherance of its support to NAICOM and the Nigerian insurance industry, we officially launched the second project, the BimaLab Insurtech Accelerator in February 2022. The platform selects, coaches and mentors insurtech firms, granting these firms access to FSD Africa BimaLab Grant Fund in developing innovative business solutions focusedon solving compelling economic or social problems. I understand ten (10) selected participants are already undergoing 10 (ten) weeks intensive mentorship and coaching. Let me, on behalf of the Management and staff of the National Insurance Commission, express our sincere gratitude to FSD Africa for the invaluable support.

It is my hope that through the commissioning of these projects and platforms, we create an enabling environment for the development of insurance products which address the day-to-day challenges experienced by Nigerians in the face of environmental related risks. Availability of better products is likely to result in better service delivery and increase financial returns to investors. In recognition of this, NAICOM aims to achieve greater public trust and confidence in the insurance sector through “Innovation, Distribution and Effective/Efficient Service Delivery” which has been the cornerstone of our strategic focus and actions.

I wish to conclude my remarks by thanking you all once again for joining us as we mark this new milestone in Africa’s path towards achieving a more resilient insurance sector which will inevitably improve the standard of living of Africans and entrench sustainability in businesses

I thank you for your attention.

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