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Agusto & Co. 2021 Nigerian Insurance Industry Report: Forging Ahead Despite Headwinds

Agusto & Co. expects a better performance by the Industry in the near term on the opportunities accruing from the pandemic and the #Endsars is optimised.

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Agusto & Co. Limited, the pan-African credit rating agency and the foremost business information provider has released its 2021 insurance industry report. The 2021 edition of the annual report provides a comprehensive review of the insurance landscape in Nigeria and the near term expectation for the Industry.

Contained in the report is a review of the coronavirus pandemic, as it affects the Nigeria insurance industry and strategies adopted by insurers to minimise the associated disruptions while optimising the opportunities provided by the pandemic. Agusto & Co. estimates a 15% growth in Gross Premium Income (GPI) for the financial year ended 31 December 2020. Innovation in product distribution induced by the pandemic, regulatory-backed opportunities including the digitisation of marine insurance certificates and increasing awareness of the benefits of insurance products were some of the GPI growth drivers during the 2020 financial year.

According to Agusto & Co., the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest in October 2020 adversely impacted the Industry in terms of additional claims, which in turn impaired profitability for the 2020 financial year and would moderate the performance of some insurers in 2021. Nonetheless, the riot that trailed the protest emphasised the importance of insurance products, particularly with the absence of a robust social security system in Nigeria. According to Agusto & Co., the violence/riot that trailed the protest could be a catalyst for insurance uptake, given that the insurance penetration rate has remained less than 1% in Nigeria.

Agusto & Co. expects the on-going recapitalisation exercise to change the structure of the Industry. The persistent naira devaluation has reduced the strength of the Industry’s capital since the last recapitalisation exercise in 2007. Although some insurers have strengthened their capital base through earnings retention, the ability of most Industry operators to solely underwrite large ticket transactions has dwindled based on the lower value of the capital in USD terms. As at 31 December 2020, the Industry had an estimated capital base of $1 billion, significantly lower than $2.2 billion recorded as at 31 December 2007. As a result, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the apex regulator in the Industry, raised the minimum capital to ₦8 billion (from ₦2 billion), ₦10 billion (from ₦3 billion), ₦18 billion (from ₦5 billion) and ₦20 billion (from ₦10 billion) for life insurers, non-life insurers, composite insurers and reinsurance firms respectively. The recapitalisation exercise has suffered some setbacks particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the global economy, Nigeria inclusive. Consequently, NAICOM postponed the deadline for the recapitalisation exercise which was later stratified into two phases; December 2020 and September 2021. In addition, litigation by some Industry operators and aggrieved shareholders resulted in the postponement of the December 2020 deadline for the first phase of the recapitalisation exercise.

Notwithstanding the setbacks, Agusto & Co. believes the recapitalisation exercise could be a watershed in the Industry. In addition to the benefits accruing from a larger capital base from a risk underwriting perspective, improved investment management practices will be upheld by a larger investment portfolio driven by a need to generate adequate returns. The recapitalisation exercise has elicited mergers and acquisition transactions in the Industry. Agusto & Co. anticipates an uptick in these transactions as the deadline draws near. The shareholding structure of most insurers is expected to change in the near term as some investors leverage the exercise to either gain or increase exposure to the Industry. With the gradual rebound of the global economy, more foreign investors are expected in the Industry, given that the naira devaluation has reduced the value of insurance companies (in USD terms), despite the undisputed opportunities in the Nigerian insurance industry.

The entry of new players after the embargo that lasted over a decade was a key point in the Industry. In November 2020, six new operators were licenced in the life, non-life and reinsurance segments of the Industry. The firm anticipates the entry of more players, particularly from existing financial institutions seeking opportunities for diversification of income. Agusto & Co. believes that the new players will intensify competition in the Industry. New insurance products and business practices are also expected from these new players.

Agusto & Co. expects a better performance by the Industry in the near term if opportunities accruing from the pandemic and  #Endsars are optimised. The gradual increase in the prevailing interest rate will also support the investment income of insurers. It is expected that more innovative product distribution channels will be introduced to reduce the dominance of insurance brokers. Notwithstanding, Agusto & Co. believes the insurance brokers will remain strategic to the Nigerian insurance industry given the wholesale focus of the Industry.

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    uduX Partners with PiggyVest to develop artists investment program, PopRev

    Fans will be able to track their investment via the uduX platform and obtain real-time insights into the streaming performance of the music they have invested in.

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    uduX, Nigeria’s first domestically launched music streaming service has developed a product, PopRev that will allow fans to invest in a musician’s project and make profits based on the digital streaming performance. PopRev will redefine accessibility, experiences, and ownership within the music business and disrupt the notion of ‘currency’ for all stakeholders involved.

    PopRev packs a thoughtfully engineered tech-stack that aggregates elements from crypto-currency, social networking, influence nodes, reward mechanisms, micro-investments, real-time analytics A.I. (Predictive Algorithms) in one simple, intuitive and user-friendly platform.

    READ: DEAL: Curacel raises $450,000 pre-seed funding to drive insurance inclusion in Africa

    Fans will be able to track their investment via the uduX platform (online and app) and obtain real-time insights into the streaming performance of the music they have invested in. There will also be call-to-actions that’ll allow them to invite friends on to the platform to listen to the artists’ music, share on social media and also participate in the chance to win real-time experiences with these artists. Investors will then share in the equity that these projects generate.

    As a significant partner, uduX has teamed up with PiggyVest (the renowned online savings and investment platform) to deliver PopRev.  PiggyVest boasts a 2million+ active investor base and helps its users save and invest billions of naira every month.

    PopRev will see both parties play to their strengths – PiggyVest serves as a financial partner for the project, providing a clear path to accountability and revenue generation/allocation for artists and their investors, while uduX leverages its knowledge and domain experience within the music industry to deliver benefits to both artists and investors. Together, uduX and PiggyVest offer a more inclusive and financial model that will shape the future of the music industry in Africa. Artists are free from painful 360-contracts, and PopRev ensures that investors and fans alike can be embedded in an artist’s success story.

    Chidi Okeke, CEO of uduX, says:

    “PopRev intends to harness the opportunity between musicians and people who are directly ‘invested’ in their music. It’s about sharing. Creating meaningful experiences that people can connect with and root for. The music industry has continuously failed to innovate, and this has nothing to do with a lack of technology. The problem with innovation in this space is the lack of incentives.

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    PopRev gives artists access to funding, while letting them keep their masters. We’re creating a new artist revenue model driven by fans’ social engagement and the new normal of ‘sharing’. We want to give investors access to metrics and the performance of their investments on-demand. For the wider industry, we’re providing a leg-up to the untapped potential of musical talent in the African diaspora.”

    Nigerian international Afrobeats star, Davido cosigns the PopRev platform, tagging it as timely and needful. “The COVID-19 and lockdown situation made it more obvious than ever that it is not sustainable for artists to depend solely on live performances to fund and extend their art. An initiative like PopRev will afford a lot of creators who, for example, struggled through the lockdown, the privilege to create without concerns of funding. This is timely and needful,” Davido comments.

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    Somto, CEO of PiggyVest, says:

    “uduX is a very innovative solutions platform within the music ecosystem and we’re thrilled to work with them. This is a music business solution that builds equity for African artists and it will be very attractive to our investors. We believe this product will help shape a new business model of revenue generation and open up the market for more data-driven investment.”

    PopRev will also operate cohesively with a collective of trusted experts that’ll offer value-added services to guide artists on how best to maximize and deploy the funds received, to level up. One of the network of experts, King Smade, CEO of SMADE Group and co-founder of Afronation and YAM Carnival comments; “The work I do is centered around exporting the best of African talent and culture. Every household in Africa has a talent to bless the entertainment industry and it is my job to find, grow, promote and protect these talents. I am excited because PopRev will empower more and new artists to create at the highest level so we can export and represent the continent’s culture globally.”

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    Other strategic partners are; (i) MAD Solutions, led by Bugwu Aneto-Okeke – one of Africa’s leading digital content distributors and music aggregators with operations in Nigeria, South Africa and the U.S. (ii) Made in Africa, a 360 management solutions company led by Kamal Ajiboye that manages representation for an extensive portfolio of African music heavyweights will helm artists and image development and secure live show and partnership opportunities. (iii) Pushing Good Music (PGM), reputed as one of Nigeria’s premier independent music curation community led by Douglas Jekan who wears multiple hats as also Head of Music at Beat FM, a conglomerate of multiple radio stations. PGM reputed to have cultivated the Nigerian alternative music scene and offered artists like Odunsi the Engine, Santi, Lady Donli, Amaarae, Johnny Drille and a long list of new school giants their early push will offer A&R, curation and radio support services as part of the PopRev core team.

    The first round of artist investment opportunities via PopRev will be announced shortly.

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    FirstBank hosts webinar to sensitise individuals and businesses on staying protected in the information age

    The virtual event is scheduled to hold by noon on Friday, 16 April 2021 with the theme,  “Staying Protected Amidst the Pandemic Chaos”.

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    First bank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank

    First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider has announced a webinar to sensitise individuals and businesses with useful information on being protected in today’s digital age.

    The virtual event is scheduled to hold by noon on Friday, 16 April 2021 with “Staying Protected Amidst the Pandemic Chaos” being the topic to be discussed at the event. Registration is ongoing for the event via the link https://firstbanknigeria.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PUnqA7enTMG8o0OfOaWxlg

    Today’s world, largely referred to as the digital age has been influenced by information technology which has optimised the way we carry out our individual and business activities.

    However, the current age has been marred by illicit activities like identity theft, internet fraud amongst many others which poses a risk to the safety of individuals and businesses. Attending the webinar will have participants knowledgeably equipped with vital information that will ensure they make informed decisions, thereby promoting their safety whilst staying protected against possible risks and malicious attacks.

    Tope Aladenusi, Chief Strategy Officer & Cyber Risk Services Leader, Deloitte West Africa; Confidence Staveley, Cyber Security Evangelist/ Founder, Cybersafe Foundation and Harrison Nnaji, Chief Information Security Officer, FirstBank will lead the discussion at the event.

    Speaking on the planned Webinar, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group noted that “the world as a global village is associated with not just benefits but also risks of cyberattack and for individuals, businesses and governments to make the best out of the digital and online opportunities, they need to be deliberate in protecting themselves against cybersecurity threats”.

    He further noted that, “in today’s digital age, which the pandemic has accelerated the embrace, cyberattacks are occurring at an alarming rate across the world. As such, no individual, business or government entity with digital and online presence is immune to cyberattacks; and the financial, physical and legal implications of an attack can be significantly upsetting.’’

    In concluding, he enjoined everyone to participate in the forthcoming webinar as it is a viable opportunity to stay informed whilst being abreast with current trends that are pivotal to promoting safety in today’s world that is driven by information technology”.

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    About FirstBank

    First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 126 years.

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    With over 750 business locations and over 86,300 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

    The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.

    Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

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    FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

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