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MIXED FEELINGS TRAIL 2011 EXPECTATIONS ON INSURANCE SECTOR

By NBF News
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INSURANCE experts on Thursday expressed mixed feelings on their expectations for the industry in 2011.

Some of them said that the industry would experience a boom if the 2011 elections were peaceful and there was a smooth transition of power.

Others were of the view that if the elections were characterised by massive rigging, violence and court cases, uncertainty would envelope every sector of the economy.

Mr. Sikiru Oyefeso, the managing director, Staco Insurance Plc, said that stability in the political terrain, economy and oil prices would boost activities in the insurance sector.

'The stability will mean more money and people will be willing to pay their premiums and take up new insurance policies without coercion.

'Also, if the electricity supply improves in 2011 and manufacturing companies resume production more companies will take insurance policies,' he said.

Oyefeso added that the industry was ready to take advantage of the Nigeria Content Development Act 2010 by surmounting the challenges of underwriting oil and gas risks.

In his view, Mr Olusola Oladipo-Ajayi, chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) said that 2011 would be better than 2010.

According to him, structures had already been laid to ensure this.

'In 2011, all compulsory insurance products will be fully enforced while operators will be encouraged to take advantage of the Nigeria Content Development Act, either as individual companies or consortiums.

'In 2011, NIA will introduce Electronic Motor and Marine Insurance Policy and this is aimed at stamping out fake insurance in the country,' he said.

Also speaking, Mr Sunny Adeda, the president, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), said that in 2011 being an election year, more money would be in the circulation.

According to him, this would translate to more people and organisations acquiring more assets and taking up insurance policies.

'There is the likelihood that in 2011, more money will be in circulation and people will buy more vehicles while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will acquire more Data Capture Machines.

'We hope that if these vehicles and Data Capture Machines are insured it will translate to increase premium for the industry in 2011,' Adeda said.

The CIIN president said that the operators were looking forward to improvement in the power sector while many more manufacturing firms would go into full production.

He added that the industry expected to reap also from the Federal Government's $500 million (N7.5 billion) intervention funds for the small- and medium-scale enterprises ((SMEs), textile and movie industries.

'Naturally, we expect that the economy will grow in 2011,' he said.

In his comment, Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu, the managing director, Goldfish Insurance Ltd., said that insurance industry would receive a boom in 2011 if the compulsory insurance products were enforced.

There is a law encouraging insurance of all public buildings and insurance of workers and employers. If this is enforced and carried out religiously, it means a boom for insurance industry in 2011,' he said.

According to Ajagu, this expected boom in the insurance industry would depend largely on the conduct and outcome of the 2011 elections.