From left: Chief Executive Officer, Almond Productions Limited, Faith Ughwode, Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Technical, Sunday Thomas; Officer of Guinea Insurance, Tunde Oshadiya and former Managing Director, Niger Insurance Plc, Clinton Uranta at the event.
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Chuks Udo Okonta
There are indications that low insurance penetration in Nigeria is contributing to the existence or thriving of other forms of assurance, some of them crude,others simply fallacious, the Managing a Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Blue Konsult Limited, Chris Obi, has posited.
He stated this at the 2018 Almond Insurance Consumers’ Forum in Lagos, adding that the low insurance visibility has forced people to resort to alternatives. According to him, the extreme religiosity of millions of insurable Nigerians is partly from insurance issues, which makes them to conveniently wish away the existence of risks in their lives.
“They will say “I reject it.” and coupled with low levels of disposable income, for many, they do not want to listen to insurance salesmen.
“The different forms of ‘isusu’ and ‘ajo’ available have replaced or scared offinsurance in several places.
“Some people resort to a doubtful and bogus “African insurance” or somepopular Juju, for personal protection instead of life insurance, auto, accident and property insurance.
“All these are losses to insurance, out of ignorance, disbelief, mistrust or previous bad experience from insurers,” he said.
He maintained that if literacy rate rises in Nigeria in the foreseeable future, these irritant pain points may disappear, trust and confidence will return and insurance penetration will rise.
He implored the Insurance industry to embark on sponsorship of lobbyists for the promotion of educational reforms in support of higher literacy rates.
According to him, insurance business can only thrive in situations of trust that insurers will not renege on their promises to the insured. He maintained that over time, the insuring public have experienced abuses and infractions on the situations of their insurance claims, which has made confidence level to waned.
He frown at the state of insurance law, which he said has been stagnant for too long, making both insurers and the insured not to feel fully protected.
“Even the available laws are poorly enforced, so that there are no consequences for breaking insurance laws, especially by insurers. Rather than deepen insurance, people are scared and confined to only the needful,” he added.
He posited that lack of faith and confidence have seriously eroded the trust that must exist between insurers and customers and only a change in the insurance paradigm and offer of a rebranding of insurance can flip the situation.
A representative of the Nigerian Police, noted that the agency considers insurance, especially life insurance necessary as it helps to sustain the family when the bread winner passes on.
She urged the public to embrace insurance whilst calling on insurance operators to do more on claims settlement.
An official of the Lagos State Fire Service, urged the public plan their future with instruments such as insurance, adding that a lot of people are suffering because they do not have insurance.
According to him, “When accident happens, insurance remains the best thing to fall back on.”
Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Technical, Sunday Thomas, said the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is working assiduously to ensure the protection of policyholders, whilst urging aggrieved policyholders to channel their grievances to the commission’s Compliant Bureau.