2 One of the biggest problems confronting the insurance industry in Nigeria is the lack of trust in operators by many Nigerians who perceive insurance as a scam.
3 To change that negative perception, experts believe that the federal government, through the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), should begin enforcement of compulsory insurance to mitigate risks for both individuals and businesses.
4 They insist there is need for the government and the insurance regulator to enforce compulsory insurance, firstly by embarking on awareness campaigns to awaken the interest of Nigerians in insurance.
5 Compulsory insurance covers builders liability insurance or insurance of buildings under construction, aviation, third party insurance and marine insurance.
6 These policies protect the third party in the event of death, bodily injury or damage to property.
7 The rising cases of banditry, civil unrest, building collapse, fire outbreak and other mishaps across the country have reinforced the need for more Nigerians to embrace insurance, and for the government to enforce compliance.
8 For instance, the #EndSars protest of 2020 caused insurers a colossal loss of over N20 billion of which over N11 billion was paid out as claims to victims as at February.
9 The question now is, are the victims of the Iponri Bridge fire incident, several building collapses, the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, Owo Chuch massacre, banditry attacks and the recent Kuye jail break in Abuja, and other mishaps covered by insurance?
10 Experts believe that government at all levels must show total commitment to insurance by insuring public assets and ensure enforcement of implementation of the compulsory insurance by the citizens to preserve national assets.
12 Ilori cautioned Nigerians that their individual negligence could affect many people and their businesses.
13 “We should all learn our lessons from the unfortunate incidences around us and not wait for the enforcement of the compulsory insurance before we know that it is for our good and go ahead to do it.
14 “Payment of the #EndSars claims is a confirmation for people that have misconception that the insurance companies don’t pay claims to know that we actually do,” she said.
15 According to her, insurance companies will continue to pay those affected by one form of disaster or the other, resulting to losses, once they lodged their claims and fulfilled all other obligations.
17 “If there is a mechanism that you should use to protect your assets, why not?
18 Yes we pray and I believe in the efficacy of prayers but if there is something that you should do humanly, then you should do it.
19 “We shouldn’t hide under any religion cover, which had not in any way prevented us from protecting ourselves,” she said.
20 Also, Ms Adetola Adegbayi, Executive Director, Leadway Assurance Ltd., said it was essential to manage the risk of an individual within a community, either in terms of fire, flood, health, sanitation, accidents, among others.
21 Adegbayi said the relevance of insurance could not be overemphasised when various risks were considered in terms of protecting national wealth and sustainability.
22 She noted that managing risk was not about emergency, but about consciously assessing the risk faced by the citizens at the micro level and dealing with it.
23 “We cannot talk about wealth protection, without looking at the risk that affects the wealth,” she said.
24 According to her, gainfully employed individuals create assets and also liabilities; hence, the government must put this into consideration and properly manage it.
25 “Most of the recent hazards happening across the country are clear examples of risks that were not properly managed.
26 “We have created a market structure that is free for people, especially those at the lower end of the economic scale who are particular about their financial sustainability.
27 “To this end, government should find a way to tax the use of public facilities, invest and insure the funds, such that when any unfortunate incident happens either to their goods or the national assets, the insurance fund is recalled to repair it.
28 “We don’t need the government to be going into its treasury to manage the damage that may occur from the risks of even the cheapest liability,”she said.
29 According to her, when managing risks and national assets is engrained into the consciousness of an average Nigerian, their attitude towards insurance and insurance operators will change positively.
30 Adegbayi said Nigerians must see insurance companies as organisations that helped them to protect their wealth and provided succour when losses occurred, rather than organisations established to exploit them.
32 He noted that the level of poverty in Nigeria, viz-a-viz the way Nigerians suffered unnecessarily was an indication of the dire need for the enforcement of compulsory insurance.
33 “Unfortunately in Nigeria, people wallow in poverty just because of the lack of knowledge of insurance,” he said.
34 Perhaps harkening to the calls, NAICOM on June 23 organised a sensitisation workshop for the joint task force on enforcement of compulsory insurance in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as a pilot scheme.
35 The task force comprised officers of the Nigeria Police, the Federal Road Safety Corp, the Federal Fire Service, FCT Fire Service, VIO, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
36 NAICOM said the workshop was aimed at sensitising members of the task force on the requirements of the law on compulsory insurances as well as the enforcement modalities.
38 NAICOM will surely have a tough time convincing Nigerians to embrace insurance, and for the government to implement compulsory insurance going by the reactions of some Nigerians.
40 Ayanwu explained that considering the rate at which inflation was affecting her business turnover, she could not afford to buy insurance policies from her profit, which was not enough to meet her immediate financial needs.
41 “The policies are good but the current economic situation is not helping matters.
42 “I cannot afford to buy any insurance policy for now but will continue to pray that no calamity befalls my business,” she said.
43 Anyawu advised the government to add insurance to the tax they are charging business owners at subsidised rate to make it more affordable and accessible.
44 Mr Olamilekan Oladele, an IT expert in Lagos, said while the insurance policies were laudable and designed for the good of the masses, the insurance operators and regulator needed to fine tune some grey areas.
45 Oladele stated that NAICOM must begin enforcement of compliance with the operators because operators needed to be more committed and responsible to claims payment to encourage more Nigerians to buy insurance policies.
46 He expressed disappointment that the industry was still at the stage of educating the populace on the importance of insurance when insurance was not negotiable for citizens of other countries because of the benefits therein.
48 “How many of the houses we all built or live in are insured?
49 “I have been buying the motor insurance policies for over 20 years since I started driving but have never made claims on my third party motor insurance policy.
50 “The truth is, I have been buying the policy just to avoid harassment from road traffic officers not because I intend to make claims in the event of an accident.
51 “This is the norm for an average driver on the Nigeria road.
52 It is either we are too busy to go through the claim process or the other party in case of an accident is too impatient to wait for the insurance company,” he said.
53 Like many others, Oladele urged the government to put in place mechanisms to ensure that both the citizens and insurance operators comply with compulsory insurance by playing their roles as expected to achieve risk mitigation.