Life is getting tougher and lifestyles are changing faster as we adapt to the dynamic conditions that we now face daily. The solutions that worked yesterday have become ineffective and outdated because the problems and challenges have become increasingly complex, overwhelming and persistent, so much that we rely less on humans and more on machines for consistency, competence and even, character. No one likes to be disappointed and our reliance on robotics has increased quite rapidly in recent times.
Have the risks also changed? Possibly. However, our responses to this question will depend on our relationship with risks over the years.
Where Have We Been?
There is a need to review our positions now as compared to what it had been in terms of risks. By experts' assessment, we have Three (3) categories of persons in terms of how we relate with risks:
1. Persons that live without acknowledging risks
2. Persons that relate with risks as a part of life
3. Persons that choose to manage risks rather than life
Each person is considered to belong to any of these categories and may move from one to the other depending on the circumstances that we meet in our life journey. Notwithstanding, there is a general consensus that COVID-19 pandemic shook out all of us and most of us are now in different categories in terms of our relationship with risks.
The shifts in one category to another have been, in some cases, quick and repetitive especially for those in categories 1 and 2. Everyone tries to find a safe place per time.
Unbelievably, there are persons that still live without acknowledging risks after the onslaught of the pandemic on our lives. Such individuals simply wonder why they should care if living could become so meaningless in the face of COVID-19. Others have now decided to live with the full knowledge that risks wake up with us and we need to look out for them as we go about our daily activities, and so, do not think there is much we can do about them. This is especially so for people who have seen loved ones depart after the attack of COVID-19.
For those that have chosen to manage risks rather than life, it is understood that they see life through the prism of risks and believe that there is no need to think of, and indeed make an attempt at, managing life knowing that risks now thrive and have become our collective concern.
In my view, notwithstanding your category today, it is better to seek to secure your tomorrow and those of your loved ones now; and though there are many means by which you can do this, insurance stands out as the most tested risk management mechanism despite its perceived weakness. It is the science that arts works on and now renewed efforts are being made to ensure it relies on science - machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, for more successes.
A better tomorrow is best described as one where you continue living in good health despite the risks and you have a steady flow of income irrespective of the state of the economy and your children are able to continue pursuing their education even if you lost your job due to the unfriendly policies of the government per time.
These are not risks or situations you can bear on your own, no matter where you are today, or think you will be tomorrow.
The primary reason for taking up insurance is to be able to recover from a bad situation caused by unforeseen risks.
If you are such a person that does not acknowledge risks, you are indeed a risk to the person next to you, because while, for example, you may put your car on the road without genuine motor insurance, if you hit another person's car or property, you expose the victim to not getting adequate compensation. However, the compensation would have been reasonably appropriate with just a Third Party Motor Insurance of N5,000 which gives you access of up to One Million Naira Third Party Property Damage limit under any circumstance. On the other hand, if you died as a result of the accident, you would leave your family, not only with the burden of your burial but also without a meaningful fallback position and dire future. Generally, persons like this, find others (friends and relatives) that have to deep their hands into their savings and income to assist them go through such ugly moments but never think of insurance as the right alternative for the future.
Those persons that relate with risks as part of life are not different if they do not have insurance, however, they are more likely to insure themselves, their loved ones and assets because they know that unexpected and unfortunate events can happen and they should not be exposed to emptiness. It is easier when you are in full employment either in government or private organizations where group insurance schemes are in force. Interestingly, when such persons retire or get out of employment, their approach to risks switches either to Category 1 or 3; that is, they either become carefree about risks or make management of risks their focus.
For some reasons including unwillingness to expose their ignorance, persons that choose to manage risks rather than life, do so quite aggressively, and they may be at the bottom of the pyramid or within the top echelon of the society. Just going out daily to manage situations they meet makes them the tough ones amongst us. Sometimes, they are referred to as hustlers and they do not care being addressed as such so long as they overcome risks daily; this is their life!
To win them, insurers need not waste their time developing products they think will suit them but rather engage them to enable them choose what risks they would transfer to insurers. Instances abound where small business owners contract both Police and private security outfits to secure their business premises, therefore see no need for Burglary Insurance but may have had cases of their staff pilfering goods and ignorant of Fidelity Guarantee Insurance that would have paid for staff convicted for stealing within the company's premises.
Small business owners have retained risks that could have been transferred to insurance companies to the extent that their costs of running their businesses and inability to post profits could be attributed to the absence of insurance.
The reports from the insurance industry in Nigeria about the value of claims (N20.6b) arising from the violent October protests have given us many lessons both for those persons that relate with risks as part of life and those who have chosen to manage risks than life. As a business owner or individual, when an accident happens and you lose your assets and business, not having a safety net to enable you rebound can be the reason for ill-health and resultant permanent disability and death; all risks that insurers provide coverages for.
Do yourself and business some good, get insurance today and ensure a better tomorrow.