Nigeria insurance market is set to benefit from BimaLab Nigeria Accelerator Programme to support the nation’s vision to meet the rising demand for innovative insurance products improve penetration and provide the platform for Insurtech start-ups.
This is being facilitated by FSD Africa and the National Insurance Commission to accelerate Nigeria insurance market, boost development and the adoption of digital solutions. Elias Omondi, Senior Manager, Risk Regulations in FSD Africa emphasised that BimaLab Nigeria will address gaps in the insurance market in Nigeria 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.
Omondi said 10 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 two pronged social and commercial value to Nigeria’s insurance sector. According to him this will uptick penetration in a sustained approach in the local market and across the continent with peculiar low knowledge of insurance services and minimal disposable income. coupled with low income has affected the rate of insurance penetration which stood at 3 percent across Africa 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.
The job to improve penetration in the continent has been a challenging issue and the current stats of African Insurance Organisation disclosed by the President, Mr Tope Smart, said penetration dropped to two percent in 2020; therefore, a committed firm like FSD Africa is seen as a revolver for penetration. Before berthing in Nigeria, the firm was in Ghana to launch a similar accelerator programme, Ghana (InnoLab).
Omondi comments, “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, he said.
Optimistic Kelvin Massingham, Director– Risk and Resilience, FSD Africa comments on Bimalab Accelerator Programme: “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, NAICOM Mr Sunday Thomas, who drives the Commission insurance acceleration programmes noted that insurance is a key driver of change and innovation in the financial sector and has scored immeasurable efficiency and gains. He admitted that these changes carry uncertainty and hesitation though, 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.”
Ben Llewellyn-Jones, UK’s Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos added that: “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.”