Leverage AfCFTA to grow insurance sector, AIO president charges insurers

The President, Africa Insurance Organizations (AIO), Mr Tope Smart, on Tuesday, charged stakeholders in Africa’s insurance industry to leverage the opportunities offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to grow the sector.

Smart said that maximizing the opportunity offered by the trade would grow the insurance sector across the continent.

He spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) following his emergence as the new president of AIO at the recently concluded 47th AIO Conference and Annual General Meeting in Lagos.

Smart said that AIO is a microcosm of AFCTA, with the cardinal objective of promoting cooperation among Africans in the insurance business.

“So, with AfCFTA, the removal of trade barriers will lead to an increase in intra-African trade, which will lead to an increase in demand for insurance across Africa.

“My responsibility is to engage stakeholders in the insurance sector in Africa to take advantage of this initiative to grow the sector,” he said.

Smart, also Managing Director/CEO, NEM Insurance Plc, urged market operators across the region to share information and experience with one another.

He said that such information would enable receiving markets to advance the growth of insurance in their domain.

On the five-point agenda he rolled out during his investiture, the AIO president said he would address the issue of low consumer trust to increase insurance penetration.

“This is a major barrier to the growth of insurance in Africa but payment of claim obligations by operators as and when due will address this issue.

“My administration’s five-point agenda, if well pursued, would increase the rate of insurance penetration across Africa.

“Wherever I stop, having laid a good foundation, I expect my successor to continue from there in the interest of the insurance sector in Africa,” he said.

Smart described his emergence as president as a big honour to Nigeria, which last occupied the position about 21 years ago.

He said the position presented him with an opportunity to come up with some initiatives that would change the narrative about the practice of insurance across Africa.

“It will also give me an opportunity to correct some negative conversations around insurance practice in Africa,” he said.

The AIO president appreciated all stakeholders in the industry for the massive support he got during his investiture.

NAN reports that Kenya has been nominated to host the 2022 AIO conference, where Smart will hand over the baton to a new president.

 

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