The Role Of Insurance In Minimizing Business Risk In Small And Medium Scale Enterprises

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The Role Of Insurance In Minimizing Business Risk In Small And Medium Scale Enterprises


This study assesses the role of insurance in minimizing business risk in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. Mean scores and standard deviation were used to present and analyze the primary data obtained via questionnaires. Correlation was used to substantiate whether there is similarity in the inherent identified problems of each financing option.

Simple percentages combined with mean scores were used to test hypothesis one while Chi-square was used to test hypothesis two. The result shows that SMEs are significantly financed by informal sources of finance than the formal sources of finance. The formal financing options are more organized and as such avoid SMEs because of their risky nature. Predominant SMEs are lacking in good risk management strategies and insurance cover which is why their funding problem still subsists.

The major recommendation is that Capacity building and sensitization programmes for all registered SMEs should be put in place by government to enlighten them on the benefits of good risk management and insurance of their businesses. Both the government and the banking sector should mutually agree on a credit guaranteed scheme strategy that will incorporate a risk-sharing arrangement as a way of encouraging the banks to channel funds to the SMEs sub sector for their growth and development which would translate into the national economic growth and sustainable economic development of Nigeria.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background To The Study
  • 1.2 Problem Statement
  • 1.3 Objectives Of The Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Significance/Justification Of The Study
  • 1.6 Method Of The Study
  • 1.7 Scope And Limitation Of The Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Types Of Insurance Suitable For Smes Businesses
  • 2.3 Insurance As Risk Transfer Mechanism
  • 2.4 An Overview Of Risk And Insurance Of Smes
  • 2.5 Theoretical Framework And Literature Review

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Sample And Sampling Technique
  • 3.3 Research Instrument
  • 3.4 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results And Discussion

  • 4.1 Results
  • 4.2 Discussion Of Findings

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusions And Recommendations

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Life is full of risks; expected or unexpected. In recent years there have been a lot of disasters and uncertainties affecting personal lives and the business environment across the globe. These events have had adverse effects on the socioeconomic activities on developed and developing nations; particularly Nigeria. There have been violent floods, fire outbreaks, traffic accidents, occupational hazards, accidental damage to properties and harm caused to lives, theft and armed robbery, as well as other unforeseen events that impact negatively on various economic ventures; especially the private sector investment activities. These mishaps remind us of the need to adopt risk management measures. Risk is everywhere but the business world is much exposed to it. To overcome the losses arising from these risks some take up insurance, others do not.

Aizenman and Marion (1999), highlight the adverse effects of risks on investment using macroeconomic data from more than forty (40) developing countries. They emphasized the fact that the uncertainty about business decisions in the future and the resulting gains cannot be optimistic.

Despite efforts by successive governments through economic reforms to heighten the private sector to complement government’s investments and enhance economic growth, the sector’s response is relatively low;

Entrepreneurs make decisions regarding their investment in a dynamic and risky environment.

The outcomes of their decisions are generally not conclusive due to the uncertainties associated with the future outcomes. Variability in future outcomes is the biggest source of risk, particularly among Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). The use of insurance as a risk mitigation tool provides confidence and prospects in successful business decisions, however to some degree.

The basic function of insurance is risk transference; risk is transferred from one party (the insured) to another party (the insurer). The transfer of risk by no means eliminates the possibility of misfortune, but the insurer provides financial security and tranquillity for the insured when the insured risk occurs. In return, an insured pays a premium in a very small amount when compared with the potential losses that may be suffered (Morton, 1999).

Insurance as a risk management tool in Nigeria is made extensive and mandatory by the Insurance Act, 2006 (Act 724). The Act makes it compulsory for private commercial property owners such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals and clinics, Auto shops, manufacturing firms and many other related businesses to obtain fire and liability insurance just as it is compulsory for vehicle owners to obtain the Third Party Motor Insurance cover under the compulsory third party motor insurance Act 1958 (Act 42). Sections 1 not construct or cause to be constructed a commercial building without insuring with a registered

insurer the liability in respect of construction risks caused by negligence or the negligence of servants, agents or consultants which may result in bodily injury or loss of life to or damage to property of any workman on the site or of any member of the public; every commercial building shall be insured with an insurer against the hazards of collapse, fire, earthquake, storm and flood, and an insurance policy issued for it; the insurance policy shall cover the legal liabilities of an owner or occupier of premises in respect of loss of or damage to property, bodily injury or death suffered by any user of the premises andical thir satisfaction and financial leverages to investors buying insurance to safeguard business interests.

The compliance of the Act (Act 724) is in doubt: as the 2007, ENGAS company filling station gas explosion at Asokwa in Ashanti Region did not fulfil its obligation per the law; the 2011 fire explosions at the Western Steel and Forging Ltd in Tema caused injury, death and damages to people and properties; also, the destruction of properties at Kantamanto Market and the VRA computer room (housing its server) by fire evidence the need for insurance covers to minimize the effects of hazards to SMEs, Government Agencies and Departments; hence, the call on government with other stakeholders to assist victims.

1.2 Problem Statement

Risk is one of the most overlooked areas in SMEs in spite of the fact that it is clear to most entrepreneurs that, operating any business involves risk such as losses associated with property, income, injury and liability. These risks are inevitable to most entrepreneurs in businesses. Prudent business owners take steps to minimize the risk of their businesses in other to maximize returns on investments. A good risk management system is a continuous process of analysis and communication to select the appropriate tool to manage risk.

SMEs in Nigeria serve as vital indicative sources of growth, technological innovation and flexibility. However, they are saddled with towards growth and development strategies. SMEs are exposed to many risks in their ordinary

course of business, such as interest rate risk, foreign exchange risk, market risk, natural disasters, political risk, and technological risk and so on, that minimize their profit by increasing their financial losses. However, insurance enshrined in sections 183 and 184 of the Insurance Act, 2006 (Act724) to serve as a buffer in the event of mishaps is not given the attention it deserves regardless of its significance to mitigate the effects of risks resulting from disasters or unexpected events. In Uyo, the level of patronage of insurance by SMEs as a risk transfer mechanism to mitigate risks such as collapse of building, fire outbreaks, accidents, burglary, business interruptions, and dishonesty of personnel tend to be wavy. What were the recovery measures in the wake of the potential losses and financial hardships?

In view of this, the researcher examined the extent to which non-life insurance was used as a risk management tool by SMEs.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The research broadly sought to assess the extent to which SMEs adopt insurance as a risk management and minimizing tool and the benefits there in. Specifically, the research intended to achieve the following objectives to:

  1. Identify what business risk(s) SMEs face;
  2. Examine the response of SMEs towards the use of non-life insurance to mitigate pure risk(s);
  3. Assess the benefits SMEs derive from using insurance as a risk management tool;
  4. Identify any problems SMEs encounter in using insurance; and
  5. Find out solutions to the challenges that SMEs encounter in using insurance.

1.4 Research Questions

The main research question addressed was: do SMEs use insurance to mitigate business risk(s)? The specific related questions to solve the research problem included the following:

  1. What were the risk exposures that an SME was faced with?
  2. Did entrepreneurs of SMEs have enough insurance for their businesses?
  3. What was the level of response to using insurance as a risk management tool?
  4. What benefits did SMEs derive from using insurance as a risk management tool?
  5. What were the problems that SMEs encounter in using insurance?
  6. What were the solutions to overcome the challenges that SMEs encountered in using insurance?

1.5 Significance / Justification of the Study

The study would help identify the reasons for the level of patronage of insurance as a risk transfer mechanism and create a changed behaviour of the owners of SMEs. The research would benefit, risk managers, business consultants and business continuity consultants by identifying areas that they might need to consider when preparing disaster recovery plans, particularly for SMEs. Findings that emerged from the study would serve as a spring board to generate interest for further research into the other aspects of insurance challenges.

The research work would also be of enormous assistance to various levels of educational institutions in the country, especially the universities as reference material for further studies and research work on insurance as a risk management strategy. The study would further contribute to the existing literature on mitigating and providing confidence to entrepreneurs in their investment decisions. Also, the insurance regulator in the country should find it useful to adopt pragmatic means to enforce the unenforced insurance Acts in the country. Lastly, it might influence the level of premium incomes of non-life insurance companies in the country.

1.6 Method of the study

The researcher made use of the survey method to generate primary data to achieve the objectives of the study, (Zikmund, 2000). A multiple stage sampling design was used to draw sample frame to avoid any bias. First, the metropolis was clustered into three electoral constituencies, constituting 19(nineteen) towns (Figure 3.1). A cluster sampling of 4(four) small scale businesses, 5(five) medium scale businesses were taken from each sample elements from the: central, south and north constituencies respectively. Nine (9) business units were clustered from each town. SMEs were divided into different clusters according to the number of employees. A total of 171 registered and non-registered SMEs were sampled and questioned. Different clusters of SMEs had the same number of employees as one sub-cluster. All thirteen insurance companies in the metropolis were respondents to section “C” of the question were contacted.

Primary data was collected from respondents per the questionnaire. In gathering data, the researcher self-administered 13% of the questionnaire, while 87% of the remaining questionnaires were administered by trained personnel to administer and gather information from the entrepreneurs. The rationale for using this approach was to allow the respondents ample time with monitoring to answer at their own pace without taking them away from their work. The trained personnel read and interpreted questionnaires to non-literate respondents. In answering the questionnaire, the respondents were asked to indicate their responses to the questions on a five point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), (Likert, 1932). Also closed and opened ended response questions were analysed.

The researcher made use of qualitative and quantitative survey design for this study. The design involved the collection of data concerning the study. Frequency tables and percentages (%), figures and cross tabulation were used in analyzing the data with the aid of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study covered the use of insurance as a risk management tool by SMEs, evidence and prospects in the metropolis. Four categories of insurance protection were classified for any businesses: property, liability, people and income (Dorfman, 2008). These categories remained the focal points of reference in the research. Indemnification and risk pooling of the various categories of insurable risks enhance commercial transactions and the provision of credits by reducing losses. The research took a period of five months.

Uyo Metropolis was one of the 20 administrative districts in the region of the area of study. It is the central business district and the capital of the northern region. The Metropolis shares boundaries with Savelugu-Nantong to the North West, Yendi to the East and Gonja to the South.

The Uyo metropolis is the political, economical and financial capital of the region. The major government departments, NGOs and ministries have Uyo as the operational centre.

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusions And Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

It is obvious that a dynamic SME sub-sector is needed for Nigeria to attain industrialization and sustainable economic development and for its Vision 20-20-20 to be achieved. This subsector is, therefore, vital and imperative for the actualization of Nigeria’s vision. The observed weak performance of notable formal financing options, like SMEEIS, occasioned by lingering constraints should, however, be seen as a big challenge for policy makers in the country. This study hereby reveals the following major findings:

  1. The financing mix of SMEs in Nigeria is predominantly from informal sources of finance. This is shown by the use of this option more than the formal sources by the SMEs. Co- operative credit ranks highest in this category while the second-tier security market (SSM) is left un-patronized.
  2. A comparative analysis of the inherent problems of the formal and informal sources of finance to SMEs shows that the formal sources are inherently more problematic to SMEs in Nigeria than the informal sources.
  3. Most of the banks in the country do not pay sufficient attention to the development of SMEs via financing because of their risky nature.

5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations are hereby made in response to the above findings:

  1. Banks, by their nature and in line with their objective, do try to minimize risk; while SMEs, on the other hand, are inherently risky. Consequently, the government and the banks should mutually agree on a credit guarantee scheme that will incorporate a risk-sharing arrangement as a way of encouraging banks to channel funds to SMEs.
  2. Capacity building and sensitization programmes for all registered SMEs should be put in place by government to train them on the necessity for identifying their risks and how to categorize them and take adequate insurance cover
  3.  Diversification of financial support for start-ups (more risky), growing and successfully operating SMEs will significantly contribute to the creation and development of SMEs. Start-ups, growing and successful SMEs should get 50%, 30% and 20%, respectively of whatever financial support is available for SMEs.
  4. There should be steady programme on radio and television in an attempt to report to the whole world the efforts of Nigerian SMEs in improving their general conduct so that their maturity can be assessed hence reduce the perceived risks.

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