IMPACT OF INSURANCE MARKET ACTIVITY ON ECONOMIC GROWTH IN NIGERIA
Insurance is one of the cornerstones of modern day financial services sector. In addition to its traditional role of managing risk, insurance market activity, both as intermediary and as provider of risk transfer and indemnification, may promote growth by allowing different risks to be managed more efficiently through promoting long term savings, encouraging the accumulation of capital, serving as a conduit pipe to channelling funds from policy holders to investment opportunities as well as mobilizing domestic savings into productive investment. Insurance is an indispensable aspect of a nation’s financial system and theoretical conceptions explain that financial systems influence savings and investment decisions through lowering the costs of researching potential investments, exerting corporate governance, trading, diversification and management of risk, mobilization and pooling of savings, conducting exchange of goods and services and mitigating the negative consequences that random shocks can have on the economy. However, the level of insurance market activity which should be commensurate with Nigeria’s huge potentials has not been attained. Insurance by reducing uncertainty and volatility, smoothen the economic cycle and reduce the impact of crisis situations on the micro and macro level. But, the demands for protection against losses of life, property caused by natural disaster, crime, violence, accidents, fire are not met in Nigeria. It is against this background that this study examined the impact of life-insurance penetration, non-life insurance penetration, total insurance penetration and insurance density on economic growth in Nigeria. The study adopted the ex-post facto research design and annualized cross sectional data for 26-year period 1987-2012 were collated from the Central Bank of Nigeria statistical Bulletin, National Insurance Commission and Nigerian Insurers Association. Four hypotheses were proposed and tested using the Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression model. Descriptive statistics and graphs were also used to complement the regression results. The results emanating from this study indicate that while life insurance penetration and insurance density had positive and significant impact on economic growth in Nigeria, both total insurance penetration and non-life insurance penetration had positive but insignificant impact on economic growth in Nigeria under the period of this study. The study therefore recommends among others, that for the insurance industry in Nigeria to exert more positive impact on the Nigerian economy, government policies concerning insurance should focus more on attracting rural communities into the insurance bracket. This will assist at enhancing savings therefore providing funds for investment into the Nigerian real sector.