The peaceful protests staged by youths across the country, mobilized through various social media platforms to protest against the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), took a sad turn last week following alleged shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate. In what could be referred to as a reaction to the shootings, hoodlums hijacked the protests and began the destruction of both private and public properties. For example, In
locations like Surulere, almost every shop, bank, shopping mall and ATM gallery along Bode Thomas and Adeniran Ogunsanya streets were damaged and goods carted away freely and there were reports of similar incidences in other parts of Lagos and in other states. There were also reports of BRT buses burnt at terminals and buildings razed down by fire. The Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was reported to have said the state alone would need c.N1 trillion for reconstruction after the destruction caused by the hoodlums.
The massive destruction of both public and private property has sparked worries on the ability of the insurance sector to cope with the expected number of claims. According to news reports, many operators expect claims to run into billions of naira which may be overwhelming for the insurance players if the government fails to offer some sort of aid especially as the sector is right in the middle of a recapitalisation exercise. In what may be a
reaction to these fears, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Insurance Index, a benchmark to measure the performance of the insurance sector closed lower by 0.59% for the week (ended 23-Oct-2020). It is however not too clear how much of the #EndSARS loss incident is covered under the different types of available policies.
The Nigerian Insurance sector remains largely underdeveloped with Insurance penetration still at c.2% and with the sector contributing less than 0.5% to GDP. The sector which contracted by 29.5% in the Q2 GDP report released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics is set for a deep recession this year. Yet to recover from the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic which has resulted in an increase in health, travel and business disruption claims, players will now have to face the impact of the recent destruction of properties across the country on claims amidst trying to meet the new capital requirements set by regulators.
CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.