Stakeholder urges African insurers to patronise local operators
The Continental Reinsurance Plc, has said that the capacity of African insurers and reinsurers can only be enhanced if the local operators are patronised.The firm’s Managing Director,Dr. Femi Oyetunji, said this while speaking on the impact that Continental Re had been able to make in Nigeria and the African continent in 30 years of its existence.
Oyetunji observed that over the years, two big global insurance companies combined write more than 30 times the businesses than all African reinsurers and insurers put together.
He said, “The argument in support of that is that local insurers do not have the capacity. However, without giving any of the project business to African carriers, that situation can never change.”
Oyetunji applauded the stance of insurance regulators who are increasingly looking for local markets to take a share in all business, with foreign carriers picking up once local capacity is exhausted.
He pointed out that this message has to be reinforced at government level, simply because too many projects are being agreed at the highest levels without the industry being able to out-forward its arguments.
While mentioning some of the giant strides of the company in the past three decades of its existence, he said Continental Re provides support to over 200 insurance companies in Africa with its main offices in Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Botswana.He said it also has a specialist subsidiary – Continental Property and Engineering Risk Services, registered in South Africa.
Oyetunji also said Africans must find solutions to their challenges, simply because some vested interests from outside the continent have no interest in Africans doing things for themselves.
He observed that the answer to many of the African insurance market dilemmas, lies in much greater collaboration.The Continental Re boss said, “The industry should work together to enable it to compete with the global players in a meaningful way. We are heavily dependent on external factors, but there are opportunities to take greater control of our destiny.
“If I could wave a magic wand for the next 30 years of business, it would be to have enough capacity that we could write the business we choose, without compromise. With that capacity, I would be able to do the things that the big globals are doing – and not just in terms of underwriting. We would be able to use insurance as a mechanism to lift more people out of poverty. But no-one is going to help us with that – we have to do it for ourselves and to work together to achieve that.”
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