ThisDay Correspondent, Ebere Nwoji Wins NAICOM’s maiden award of excellence

By Favour Nnabugwu




The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has conferred on ThisDay Newspapers’ Correspondent, Mrs Ebere Nwoji, its maiden Award of Excellence in insurance sector for analysis and features writing in Nigeria.

NAICOM while announcing the award among Journalists from various print and electronic media organizations during the Commission’s annual training programme for Journalists held in Lagos, observed that Mrs Nwoji’s critical analysis of issues and trends in insurance sector remains remarkable and unparalleled.

Further, the Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive Officer of NAICOM, Mr Sunday Olorundare Thomas, noted that her feature articles have not only helped to educate the public on value and relevance of insurance also enlightened members of the public on policies, developments and challenges in the nation’s insurance sector. He also said Nwoji’s writings on insurance issues also assisted to deepen insurance penetration and kept the practitioners on their toes to embrace modifications in line with international best practices.

While applauding Mrs Nwoji for her painstaking efforts and dedication to ensure fairness and balance reporting through research as reflected in her writings, assured to institute the award as an annual event. In addition, Thomas urged all Journalists in Insurance Sector beat to emulate the exemplary disposition of the ThisDay Correspondent in educating the public on insurance matters.

Earlier, the Deputy Director .and head corporate communications and Market Development of NAICOM, Rasaaq ‘Salami, while announcing the maiden award winner, noted that through Mrs Nwoji’s consistency in well researched analytical writings, she educates the Nigerian masses on insurance by analysing sensitive and critical issues in the insurance sector .

According to him, “the Commission gives this award of excellence in insurance sector analysis and feature writing in recognition of her uncommon and extra effort in critically following and analysing developments in insurance sector.”

Mrs Nwoji received a sybolic plaque with an inscription: “Federal Republic of Nigeria. National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) with the compliment of Commissioner for Insurance” and cash award.

It would be recalled that prior to joining ThisDay, Mrs Nwoji started her Journalism career in Champion Newspapers Limited in 1997. She had also worked at the defunct Financial Standard and Daily Neswatch.

Mrs Nwoji who brings to bear her wealth of knowledge and experiences in discharge of her job, is a graduate of Mass Communication and holds Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with specialty in Marketing.

Insurance, pension operators propelled for incentives to NMSMEs

By Favour Nnabugwu
Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Chinyere Almona has advised insurance and pension operators to come with incentives to attract micro clients
Almona while delivering paper on the “Onboarding MSMEs into Micro Insurance and Pension Space in Nigeria,” at the 7th Annual Conference of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) in Lagos, Thursday gave the advise.
“Although the Insurance and pension sectors have been doing a lot in driving the financial inclusion initiative of the Federal Government, there is need to incentivize and encourage those in the informal sector, the Nigerian Nano, Micro, Small and Medium and Enterprises NMSMEs operators to embrace micro insurance and join the micro pension plan,” Dr. Almona said.
While calling on Insurance underwriters and pension administrators to take advantage of numerous opportunities that abound in the NMSME sector, she said “NMSMEs presents huge opportunity for the micro insurance and pension industry due to the size of the workforce.”
Other opportunities include Large MSMEs employment/labour force, large willing adult population, expanding distribution channels, favourable regulatory environment, mature financial services sector and revolution in information technology and digital

Statistically, the LCCI DG said the total number of employment by MSMEs stood at 61.9 million representing 87.9% of the total labor force in the country, adding that the number of employment generated by the informal sector was 16 million while the formal sector generated 7.5 million in 2020.

On the need to step up awareness and enlightenment of the NMSMEs on the benefits of micro insurance and micro pension and application of technology Dr Almona said “investment in enlightenment campaigns and enabling technology are required.”

The benefits, according to her, include a safety net at retirement, alignment with the current social empowerment programmes, minimizes old-age poverty, Improves standard of living for the elderly

While calling on the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to provide necessary regulatory framework that supports NMSMEs, said stated “With regulatory support, Nigeria is well placed to achieve meaningful micro-pension coverage rapidly as well as enhance insurance penetration.

Speaking on the micro insurance Industry, Dr Almona said the ratio of insurance assets to gross domestic product (GDP) has remained stagnant at 1%, noting that Microi-insurance in Nigeria is at a very early but growing phase.

On the Nigerian Micro Pension Industry, she said the percentage ratio of pension assets to GDP remains low, stating that the total pension contribution remitted by the public sector is slightly higher than that of the private sector which, according to her, further justifies the low penetration of pension in the private sector of the economy.

Also, the Head, South West Office of PenCom, Dr Tunde Alayande that the on-boarding SMEs into the Micro Pension scheme is one of the strategies in which the pension industry has been contributing to the financial inclusion initiative of the Federal Government.

He said the micro pension plan was designed for those in the informal sector including the SMEs

Dr Alayande said that PenCom In collaboration with the Pension Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), has come up with lots of initiatives for the SMEs for the benefit of the industry.

In his goodwill message on behalf of all members of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), the Chairman , Sugun Omosehin commended NAIPE for the conference., noting that the conference the conference is not only significant to the insurance Insurance Industry but also to the entire financial services industry.

According to him, “the reason personally I am here today is that significant. NAIPE is not only projecting the image of the industry but in such a manner of making people get to understand what we do, what we represent and how he can impact our economy”

Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairman of NAIPE, Mrs Nkechi Naeche Esezobor said the theme of the conference Onboarding MSMEs into Micro Insurance and Pension Space in Nigeria,” was considered because of the importance of SMEs as driver and engine of growth of the Nigerian economy and the need to support it to continue to contribute to the growth of the economy.

She urged micro insurance and micro pension operators to see SMEs as their growth assets by ensuring that they are properly captured .