Ben Feldman, one of the most famous insurance industry sales legends, says “life insurance is the only tool that takes pennies and then guarantees dollars’’.
Insurance is one of the instruments that experts have argued could save a person in times of eventualities or the unforeseen. Corona virus no doubt has had its negative impact on virtually every sector across the globe.
Analysts said that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protests on the insurance sector like most other sectors can be viewed both in the negative and positive perspective.
They argued that COVID-19 and destructions of properties which emanated as the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests across the country had reawakened insurance consciousness in the minds of most citizens.
Similarly, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in 2020 stepped up its action towards widening its scope to accommodate insurance yearnings of the people.
NAICOM had also shifted the full recapitalisation deadline for insurance and reinsurance companies from Dec. 3, 2020 to Sept. 30 to mitigate the likely negative consequences of the pandemic and impact of the #EndSARS protests.
The Commission also initiated a compulsory insurance drive in states through the state governments to enable citizens’ key into the various insurance programmes.
NAICOM had also given a go-ahead to all conventional insurance companies across the country to transact micro-insurance businesses to support financial inclusion and increase insurance penetration.
Stakeholders in the industry had also said that the moves would help to accommodate the insurance needs of would-be policy holders.
Mr Sunday Thomas, the Commissioner for NAICOM, said that the commission decided to issue the first re-insurance license since 35 years and four insurance licenses in 10 years to some companies to expand insurance penetration in the country.
Thomas said that the commission had got to a point where there was need to deepen the insurance market.
The commissioner, who said that although the sector had been faced with its challenges just like every other sectors, urged the people to key into insurance.
He charged the companies to focus on products that would meet the insurance needs of the people.
“Every day we live and go to bed with risks all over us and therefore the need for us to expand the scope of our operations, the only thing we can do is to increase the supply side. The demand side is yearning for products that they can buy in and secure their future.
On compulsory insurance, Thomas in a visit to Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, listed some of the relevant mandatory insurance to include group life insurance for all employees of both public and private sectors.
Others are insurance for all buildings under construction that are more than two floors (builders’ liability), all public buildings including schools, offices, hotels, hospitals, markets (occupiers’ liability), professional indemnity for all medical practitioners and third party motor vehicle insurance.
“Over the years, the commission has embarked on series of programmes aimed at a nationwide massive public enlightenment with respect to compliance with the laws on compulsory insurances. In consequence of losses, the victims are prone to sufferings which in many cases may lead to total impoverishment.
“The objectives of protecting third parties and relieving the government of the avoidable burden of compensation from the meagre wallet of the government led to the enactment of various laws on compulsory insurance products.
“It is on the strength of the above that the commission is seeking collaboration with the state government in the enforcement of the above mentioned compulsory insurances in the state.’’
Similarly, Mr Rasaaq Salami, the Spokesperson of NAICOM, had said that situations like the destruction of properties that emanated from the EndSARS protests underscored the importance of adequate and appropriate insurance.
He stressed the need for both government and individuals to adequately insure all their assets and liabilities.
“What has happened is very unfortunate and sad, we all know that the loss is much and a lot of financial resources are required to replace all that has been lost. Because of the sensitivity of this EndSARS issue, NAICOM is going to take keen interest in it and await any claims complaint that will come from it.
“The industry is now aware of the benefits to them as operators when they honour their obligation because when you do, it becomes easier for you to get the other party to come and insure. I deliberately stressed adequate and appropriate because there are policies that the insured go into that are limited, some do not cover anything.
“When you have your risks and you disclose it and it is appropriately priced and the appropriate premium is paid, with genuine insurance companies through NAICOM’s registered insurance brokers or direct with the insurance companies, when situation of loss occur, claims payment is guaranteed.
“A lot of buildings have been destroyed both public and private building, vehicles. In most cases, these destructions came about from acts of riots. Riots do not stand alone as insurance policy; they are sometimes tied to fire insurance which is an addition. So, that is why I talked about adequate and appropriate insurance.
“Because if there is a fire insurance and there is no endorsement that covers riots, destructions, losses occasioned by riots; so when they happen, you are not likely to get compensation,’’ he explained.
He advised prospective policy holders to employ the services of an insurance broker to educate them on the appropriate policy to undertake before insuring properties.
Also speaking, Mr Ganiyu Musa, the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the situation was a huge loss to the industry.
“We know that the loss of lives is a bigger calamity because it is not replaceable but at a time like this, all our thoughts and prayers are to the people that lost their loved ones. Every other thing can be replaced. Insurance is a contract so the policy you buy may be different from mine and these policies have details of what is covered and what is not. Where it is discovered that one has paid his premium, then you do not have anything to fear,’’ he said.
Although current realities have revealed the need for government, individuals, companies in the public and private sectors to key into insurance, however, industry stakeholders believe that government must show more interest in insurance to attract other players in the sector.
****If used, please credit the writer and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)