Contribution Of Insurance Companies To The Growth Of Small And Medium Scale Businesses
The purpose of this study was to establish the relationship between the contributions of insurance companies and the growth of SMEs in NICON basing on the following objectives; to examine major factors that affects the growth of SMEs; to assess the contribution of insurance companies to the growth of SMEs; to investigate the factors inhibiting the purchase of insurance cover by SME operators and to determine the strength of the relationship between insurance companies and growth of SMEs. The research was descriptive in nature involving quantitative methods which was administered through questionnaires. The total sample comprised of 65 respondents of all the managers and employees of National Insurance Corporation. Simple random sampling was used whereby the researcher went to NICON and administered questionnaire to the sampled or selected employees. Primary data was obtained from the library materials, textbooks, NICON brochures, internet and journals. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS and frequency distribution tables. Findings revealed that innovation is a strong empirical evidence for fast growing SMEs, competition has a great effect on SMEs industry and credit remains a great challenge to the growth of SMEs. Besides that insurance companies mitigate risks and enhance loan acceptability by SMEs sector with banks. However low income earned by SMEs, high premium cost and paperwork and experience and beliefs inhibit the purchase of insurance cover by SMEs. Nevertheless, there is a strong positive relationship between insurance companies and the growth of SMEs at Spearman Correlation Coefficient.
It was concluded that improvement in business skills increases the performance of SMEs. However insurance companies do not lowers insurance rates and offer protection to SMEs income statements. In addition SMEs being small in size and their inability to fully understand the document limits them to get insurance cover. It was recommended that management of NICON need to build a great relationship with SMEs as their customers in orders to develop and grow them in trust and also lower the premium rates to SMEs in order to improve on their performance. Also NICON need to have a fresh look at the scope and spectrum of services provided to SMEs and has a better understanding on the scale of enterprise sector.
1.1 Background of the Study
The substantial growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) activity clearly marks SME as one of the most remarkable economic phenomena. SME is a business that is privately owned and operated with a small number of employees and relatively moderate volume of sales. The definition of SMEs varies from country to country depending on the level of development and the strength of the economy. The lower limit for small scale enterprises is set at between five and ten workers and the upper limit is set at between fifty and one hundred workers. The upper limit for medium scale enterprises is set between one hundred and two hundred and fifty workers (Hallberg, 2000).
In Uganda there are approximately 1,069,848 SMEs currently in operation and they comprise over 90% of the private sector. They contribute to employment, provision of basic goods and services, and generation of export and tax revenues for national socio-economic development. Their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution to the economy is 75% and they employ about 2,500,000 nationals. The location of these SMEs is mostly in urban areas with 80% located therein. They operate business like restaurants, accountants, hairdressers, conveniences stores and guesthouses (Hatega, 2007).
On the other hand insurance is a contract by which one party undertakes in consideration of a payment called premium to secure the other against pecuniary loss by payment of a sum of money in the event of destruction or damage to property, fire, accidents or death of a person. Economy, investment and finance reports (2010) defines insurance as a policy from a large financial institution that offers a person, company, or other entity reimbursement or financial protection against possible future losses or damages. An insurance contract is an agreement by which the insurer promises, from a premium or assessment, to make a payment to a policy holder or a third person if an event that is the object of a risk occurs. SMEs often face a variety of problems related to their size. Frequent causes are bankruptcy, theft, fire, death, automobile accidents and workers injuries.
For example, National Insurance Corporation Limited (NIC) is an insurance company in Uganda. The company is a leading provider of insurance and risk management services with 19 branches spread throughout the country (Robinson, 2009). NIC was established by Act of Parliament in 1964. The basic function of NIC insurance is to provide security and protection against risks to business. NIC has also undertaken several projects aimed at empowering the development and growth of SMEs in Uganda. Amongst these projects include; organizing public workshops and seminars aimed at enhancing techniques of small scale traders, for example the 2001 conference on marketing insurance, Publishing literature on insurance services covering issues like the need for business to be insured, business growth and financial discipline in business which are of importance to SMEs businessmen and supporting of SMEs in development and training of young businessmen in how to survive competently in the market place. (Mutesasira, Osinde, and Mule 2001).
However, besides NIC contributions to the growth of SMEs, it’s unfortunate that most of the SMEs are badly run due to lack of knowledge and skills in insurance policies, (Ocici, 2007),lack of professional and networking, limited knowledge of business opportunities, poor compiled records and accounts and low level of technical and management skills (UNCTAD 2002). In addition, high premium cost is also a major effect on growth of SMEs. It is therefore against this background that the researcher deems it worthy to find out by analyzing the relationship between contributions of insurance companies to the growth of SMEs.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the contribution of insurance corporations to the growth of SMEs in economic development, failure and slow growth still exists and the public doubts its management (Ocici, 2007). Research suggest that 80% of the businesses affected by major incident close down within 18 month, and 90% of those who lose data close down within 2 years. This is due to the failure of small businesses to have adequate insurance cover and proper business continuity plans (cover sure, 2007). However literature has shown that insurance companies are not willing to insure SMEs and it was the aim of this research to establish whether a relationship between these two variables exists.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the contribution of insurance companies the growth of SMEs in Nigeria. Other objectives the study sought to achieve are:
- To examine major factors that affects the growth of SMEs.
- To assess the contribution of insurance companies to the growth of SMEs.
- To investigate the factors inhibiting the purchase of insurance cover by SME operators.
- To determine the strength of the relationship between insurance companies and growth of SMEs.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
- Ho: There is no relationship between insurance companies and growth of SMEs
- Hi: There is a relationship between insurance companies and growth of SMEs
- Ho: Insurance companies have not improved SMEs in Nigeria
- Ho: Insurance companies have improved SMEs in Nigeria
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research will be undertaken as an academic requirement by for the University before the degree of Bachelor of Commerce can be awarded. The researcher places prestige in the successful completion of the study.
It’s only through research that ideas and approaches will be developed and tested. This research will generate information to be used as basis for further research in to the contribution of insurance in other business segments.
The study will increase public awareness on the operations of National Insurance Corporation hence making it convenient for the public when dealing with the corporation.
This research will provide data to policy makers that will assist towards formulating for appropriate policy for policy makers operation. This will permit specific plans and policies geared towards promoting SMEs.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study is primary concerned with the contribution of insurance companies to the growth of small and medium scale businesses. This study/project work covers National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON). The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following
a) Availability of Research Material:
The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
1.7 Definition of Terms
A business that provides coverage, in the form of compensation resulting from loss, damages, injury, treatment or hardship in exchange for premium payments. The company calculates the risk of occurrence then determines the cost to replace (pay for) the loss to determine the premium amount.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are non-subsidiary, independent firms which employ less than a given number of employees. This number varies across countries. The most frequent upper limit designating an SME is 250 employees as in the European Union.
1.8 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain a critical analysis of the contributions of insurance companies to the growth of small and medium scale business.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of poor utilisation of the available resources and programs of Insurance companies due to ignorance.
This study aimed at having a critical analysis of the contribution of insurance companies to the growth of small and medium scale businesses. Five objectives were raised which included: To examine major factors that affects the growth of Sees, to assess the contribution of insurance companies to the growth of Sees, to investigate the factors inhibiting the purchase of insurance cover by SME operators, to determine the strength of the relationship between insurance companies and growth of SMEs.
Based on the above findings pertaining to the objectives of the study the following conclusions are drawn.
The study reveals that the success of SMEs sector depends upon the establishment of a relationship between SMEs and insurance companies. In the event that SMEs faces a catastrophe like fire, strike or that employees are injured at work, they need to have insurance to cover such eventualities as such disaster may leave them vulnerable if they don’t have insurance
The emergency of globalization however seems to be changing the status quo as insurance companies are now going back to the drawing board and designing packages that are tailored for low income businesses especially Africa where SMEs are the majority. Globalization and structural adjustment by the government has greatly woken up the insurance sector. Once, government owned enterprises like NICON have been divested and are now at the fore front of innovation in the insurance world in Nigeria.
- Management of NICON needs to lower the premium rates to SMEs in order to improve on their performance.
- There is need for NICON to build a relationship with SMEs as their customers in order to develop and grow in trust among them.
- NICON needs to have a fresh look at the scope and spectrum of services provided to SMEs and has a better understanding on the scale of the enterprise sector and its role to the national development.
- NICON needs to take a centre stage in the facilitation of SMEs growth through various contributions to enhance its growth.
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