Market fires: NAICOM urges traders to key into micro insurance policies

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Market Fires. Ochanja market on fire

Ochanja market fire disaster

WITH the incessant of outbreak of market fires across several states in the country, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has emphasized the need for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to key into the micro insurance policy to mitigate the burden of loss during crisis in business.

With fire razing the Ochanja market in Onitsha Anambra State, the plank market and part of the Balogun market in Lagos State, the spokesperson for the commission Mr Rasaaq Salami, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Abuja, Sunday, said the increasing outbreak of market fires and the safety of small businesses is worrisome.

Noting how affordable, accessible and simple, micro insurance packages were, he said the commission had unbundled the micro insurance from conventional insurance companies to primarily cover small and medium businesses in the country.

Salami said the commission had also issued licence to three micro insurance companies to offer the services.

Traders salvaging their goods during the Ochanja fire disaster

According to him, the essence of the micro insurance was to ensure that MSMEs and individuals at the lowest level were financially included and had access to insurance to cover their businesses.

He noted that the micro insurance had been segmented into three parts of unit, state and national micro insurance. The unit micro insurance will only operate within a specified area like Wuse or Ladipo or Ariaria market, while the state will be operational in a state like Abia, and the national company will operate nationwide.

Salami continued, “initially, we have conventional insurance companies having to open a unit or department for micro insurance, which is called window operation.

“With the review of the guidelines in 2018, we decided that there was need to have stand-alone companies primarily focused on micro insurance and these companies, we segmented into three parts.

“We have the unit, state micro insurance and national insurance companies. For the state micro insurance companies, we have licensed two companies, Goxi and Casava micro insurance companies both operational in Lagos.

“We are in the process of registering Shagamu micro insurance and we have an insurance company, which is at the final stage of obtaining licence for a national insurance.

The aftermath of the fire disaster that gutted the Plank Market in Lagos

“I believe that by the time more of these companies become operational then, people and small businesses will be better covered.”

Salami said that apart from the micro insurance, there was also market fires insurance offered by conventional insurance companies for markets.

He advised traders to seek the services of insurance agents and brokers while trying to buy into any insurance package to be properly guided on the type of insurance to take. 

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