Insurance for flood critical as heavy rains set on farms, communities
The heavy rains are here again, and there are likely incidents of a flood, according to metrological experts.
Flood loss incidents through most parts of the last three years were huge, as people lost their lives and many homes were displaced.
Therefore Flood insurance will enable businesses including farmers and communities in flood-prone arrears to recoup their investment and also get indemnified in the event of a loss.
Like last year, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) issued a grim forecast. “2023 will witness an early onset of rainfall accompanied by flooding”, the agency said in its forecast published in January 2023.
“Starting in March, coastal areas in the South-South, particularly Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers State, will experience downpours; Southern Inland cities will see precipitation in April, while central states will see rain in May”, the agency further reported.
NiMET also predicted extended rainfall in Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, Ogun, and Lagos states. It said, “between June and July, the northern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno would experience the beginning of rain, which will peak between July and September”.
According to federal authorities, the 2022 floods resulted in 662 deaths across 33 states as the deluge of rain washed away years of investments in agriculture, hundreds of hectares of farmlands, and properties estimated at trillions of Naira. The federal government estimated that over 2 million Nigerians were displaced and that the national economy lost well over N4.2 trillion to the floods.
Tunde Hassan-Odukale, managing director/CEO of Leadway Assurance, has cautioned that Nigerian’s should not ignore the early warning forecast by the relevant weather monitoring and emergency management agencies about this year’s rainfall and flooding expectations.
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“This year’s weather forecast paints a bleak picture, especially against the backdrop of the prevailing global inflation and economic vulnerabilities and uncertainties. As expected, these projections call for a prompt response from all stakeholders. As a nation, as Agribusiness investors, business owners, property and asset managers, families, and individuals, we must proactively take action to mitigate the disheartening and devastating human and material losses from the flooding incidents in 2022”, Hassan-Odukale said.
“With the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reporting that Nigeria’s food inflation rate peaked at 24.35 percent in February 2023, there is an urgent need to prioritize food security and protect the enormous investment in agriculture. On our side, we have designed insurance policies to help victims of devastating flooding recover from the massive financial losses, which experts estimated at over N4.2 trillion”, he added.
Hassan-Odukale pointed to the Agricultural market, which contributed 26.97 percent to the national GDP in 2022, as the most vulnerable sector to flood devastation. The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, estimated that the industry lost about 700 billion Naira to the 2022 flood.
Similarly, the construction and property market, which NBS reported contributed about N20 trillion to the Nigerian GDP in the first three quarters of last year, is also one of the vulnerable sectors to watch.
Desmond Ibekwe, an insurance broker said it’s important that business and exposed areas are adequately insured against flood, particularly now that deforestation is having huge impacts on environment.
Ibekwe however noted that government should give national insurance policy for flood a consideration, given the level of loss experienced in parts of the country particularly by farmers.
Nimi Akinkugbe, financial adviser and expert on money matters had said “We live in uncertain times. Violent floods and storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes; the list goes on. Such disasters have one thing in common; they are “catastrophic risks” that are not likely to affect you in your lifetime, but if and when they do happen, the consequences can be devastating. Because such risks are so rare and unpredictable, often striking without warning, they can be badly underestimated. Yet just being prepared can save you from untold distress. “
According to Nimi, Insurance is a crucial instrument that sadly most Nigerians still ignore; that is, until they need it most.”
“Are you one of thousands of Nigerians who suffered terrible damage to your property from the recent deluge of rains. There is no better time to revisit the issue of insurance than when we have a live and practical situation that brings home this critical issue. How well are you protected against flooding and, indeed, other disasters? You will find that the insurance premium is a small price to pay for the peace of mind of having your belongings insured.”
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