N300m insurance rebranding project hits by cash crunch

From left: Head Corporate Affairs, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) ‘Rasaaq ‘Salami; Vice Chairman Sub Committee Publicity of the Insurers Committee, Ebelechukwu Nwanchuku and Chairman Sub Committee on Publicity and Communication of the Insurers Committee Hassan Oye-Odukan at an event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

All seemed not to be well with the insurance industry N300 million rebranding project which was billed to commence this quarter of the year, as investigations revealed that most insurance companies are reluctant to make their contributions toward the project.

The project, which was to start initially in October, 2016, could not commence, due to paucity of fund and was shifted to the first quarter of this year.

To achieve the set target, the committee agreed to allow big insurance firms contribute larger share, while fringe players were encouraged to contribute according to their abilities.

The committee also agreed to approach the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for support.

This medium gathered that the industry regulator is yet to make any contribution. It was learnt that the commission is waiting to see what the operators are able to contribute before making any support.

Efforts to ascertain what has been contributed so far, was unsuccessful as Vice Chairman Sub Committee Publicity of the Insurers Committee, Ebelechukwu Nwanchuku, told this medium that she is not in position to comment on the matter.

Industry observers had frowned at the timing of the initiative, coming at a time the industry is grappling with financial challenges, especially, with economic recession, that has impacted negatively on underwriting business, while some insurers see it as a duplication of insurance awareness projects their companies are already embarking upon. Moreover, with companies making recapitalisation moves, some insurers believe parting away with such huge money could impair their liquidity.

Findings from companies contacted revealed that they are yet to commence the process of releasing the funds allotted to them, even as most corporate communications managers were left in the dark over the role of their firms in this project, a development they frowned at.

Industry sources said another key challenge to the project was the inability of the Insurers Committee, who conceived the project, to meet this year. However, there are insinuations that the committee will soon meet at its proposed retreat in Abeokuta, Ogun State, later in this month or next month to discuss the funding challenge and how to address it.

The Director-General, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Sunday Thomas, said though, funding is one of the factors delaying the commencement of the project, the inability of the insurers committee to meet in the current year is another challenge, adding that the committee will soon meet to iron out the grey areas to bring the project to fruition.

“The modality of the project is currently being worked out. Funding is one of the challenge and also the insurance committee has not meet this year. They are supposed to meet in a retreat earlier, but the meeting was postponed for logistic reason,” he said.

An underwriter who pleaded not to be named, said some operators are wary of embracing the initiative going by what they suffered in a similar project which they contributed N10 million each and the project failed after few months.

The insurance rebranding project is an innovation of the Insurers’ Committee, comprising of the managers of the 58 registered insurance companies as well as the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), aimed at deepening insurance acceptance and penetration through massive insurance education and awareness across all states of the federation.

Insurers have adopted the rebranding initiative as a vehicle to transform their business. They resolved to propel the multi-million rebranding campaign through radio and social media channels.

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