Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Insurance industry pledges optimum services, urges govt, institutions to insure their assets

The nation’s insurance industry has urged citizens to embrace insurance as a way of life saying that it is at difficult times like Nigeria is passing through now that people and businesses should endevour to transfer their risks to insurance companies for absolute protection. He advised government institutions, agencies and the public to explore opportunities provided by insurance to protect their assets against lose, theft and damage including natural disasters.

 Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mr. Olusegun Omosehin who gave the advice in Lagos said that the insurance industry has trust in the nation’s economy hence the industry’s resolve to present itself as a dependable partner in wealth creation and assets protection.

Speaking at an interactive session with financial journalist in Lagos, Mr Omosehin said that the insurance industry is working hard at building trust and confidence through the products and services which it provides the insuring public.

 “The only thing as an Association we think that can help boost public trust and confidence in the industry is to encourage members to pay claims because timely claims payment is the beauty of insurance business.

“We discuss this extensively in all our Governing Council meetings. Severally we have descended on our members when we hear the report of unpaid claims.

This led to the publications we have done currently. We have done three publications where we asked members of the public with genuine unpaid claims to come forward for payment.

“What we also found out is that some of the issue around claims has to do with the genuineness of some of those claims. Many times we have grappled with issues of fake claims by some members of the public, who even went ahead to use this to blackmail the industry,” NIA Chairman stated.

He said the Association is doing everything within their power to make sure that members abide by the rules of the business, adding that some of the ways they have done this is by sanctioning erring members who have not been able to meet their business obligations.

On the insurance Bill, he said since the Bill was not accented to during the 9th Assembly, the industry has commenced work again to make sure that the Bill is passed by the present administration.

“We have started engagement with the 10th Assembly and we are hopeful….Since most of the administration jobs have been done, the process is going to be fast-tracked…. Also because of the dynamic nature of policies, some might need to be updated. A great deal of work has been done in that regard and we are hopeful we are going to get it through,” he assured.

On the Third Party Motor Insurance, he said the report so far received is encouraging, adding that a total of 3.1 million uploads have been made in 2023 compared to 3.7 recorded in 2022.

He said although the response from the public is encouraging, it should not be forgotten that the present situation is caused by the country’s economic situation.

Speaking on what the industry is doing to deepen insurance growth; he said the industry is embarking on a 10-year roadmap launched in Abuja in November 2023, and also collaborating with various state governments to domesticate insurance laws that will enhance insurance uptake in those states, amongst other initiatives.

On NIA, he said the body is embarking on some initiatives that will bring credibility as well as engender public trust and confidence in the industry.

Some of those initiatives, he said, are the ongoing publication of lists of unclaimed Claims in the national newspapers calling on the people to come forward for their claims; the NIA Enlightenment awareness Campaign on Radio and Television stations; collaboration with the Federal Government, National Insurance Commission and other Federal Agencies responsible for the enforcement of laws to ensure enforcement of compulsory insurances.

He said there is a need to liberalize distribution channels in order to break the jinx of insurance penetration.

“One of the challenges we have in the industry is that the distribution channels are so limited so we need to liberalize it. Yes, the Brokers will remain Brokers because they are professionals, but if you look at the way the market is structured, Brokers have taken Government Business and even Corporate Business but in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), where most of them relate with you, and I, so you are more influential in your Church, Mosque. We want to make it interesting for people to pick up agency as a means of income generation for themselves.

“We are also looking at a couple of other areas in terms of products, technology, and governance. We need to strengthen our governance structure to ensure we can operate more effectively. We will also look at how we can be proactive in terms of management of our investments because of the volatility that we have seen in that segment,” Omosehin added.

On the 2024 Insurance Outlook, he said “The virile insurance industry is built at the back of a virile economy. The bedrock of every economy is insurance, however, the enabling environment for this business must be right. There must be an environment that encourages investment. We are operating in a very volatile environment.

“Part of what we have done is to encourage our members to be a lot more proactive in their planning. Oftentimes, you see people who plan for 12 months. In an environment like this, you have to break your plans into quarter by quarter.

“We believe so much in the economy. Things are tough right now because of the choices we have made as a country. Some key elements are fundamental to our business such as security; stability in the political system is key; stability in the Foreign Exchange Market is also key; because the manufacturing sector must continue to survive, many of them rely on the provision of raw materials and what have you; agriculture sector is critical, many of them rely on types of equipment and implements which are imported.

“We believe in the stability and the structure of the system and the commitment of the leadership. As a sector, we are prepared to weather the storm, to see that we remain in the market as business institutions and individuals,” he assured.

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