Sunday, January 06, 2019 07.12PM /
By Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon
The only business that probably has the "licence" to sell promises is insurance! Operators in the insurance industry in Nigeria and elsewhere sell by promising customers (policyholders) that in the event of losses or damage resulting from death or accident, they will be indemnified!
Is that not the way of the politicians to promise the electorates that if voted into office they will bring back what had been lost, punish the looters and then provide jobs, food, roads and electricity?
These promises, whether in insurance or governance, have been fulfilled in some instances but failed promises have swelled to fill the records of experiences that customers of insurance (and voters) in Nigeria have and the situation seems to be deteriorating as the country stumbles into the New Year.
Towards the general elections, which starts with the presidential election on February 16, where over 30million Nigerians are expected to vote, promises have filled the political space to engage the rest of the population who with their smartphones are chatting about the possible outcomes. Upon such outcome as attaining victory at the polls, the promises become activated from simple things like giving access to selected people, through the mobilization of those that might be assigned roles in the new administration and on to reviewed promises.
Interestingly, amongst the 30m plus voters are people who ought to have the insurance-type promises to indemnify them in case of deaths, accidents and resultant disabilities. Even loss of assets including mobile phones, vehicles, houses and monies could be insured.
Now imagine that 10m registered voters who are aware of such promises from insurance companies decide to buy personal accident insurance at N2,500 for one year from January to December 2019 with appropriate extensions to cover the potentially riotous period of elections, premium of N25b would be generated! Other insurable interests that exist could also be taken care of thus increasing the potential for premium generation.
Meanwhile, the umpire for the general elections, INEC, which has promised free and fair elections, already has its assets and personnel (including ad hoc staff) valued at billions of Naira insured.
So why would any voter go out to exercise his/her civic rights without proper and adequate insurance cover?
To the discerning minds, the only possible reason is that the voters do not reckon with the promises to be indemnified.
Like in insurance where customers are invited to buy insurance, voters are merely invited to come out and vote without any unbreakable agreement that the promises will be fulfilled. Insurance is even better because policyholders that are short-changed can complain to NAICOM and go to court if not satisfied, but with elections, the promise makers become the adjudicator, and bids its time over the matter.
What if the candidates were required to take insurance against failure to fulfill their promises while in office? That is, promises like growing the economy by certain percentage or defeating those that terrorise our critical economic zones. Today's insurers will tell us these are speculative risks and not insurable but can we find solutions to "promise and fail" politicians and insurers?
For every risk we see across our clime during the forthcoming general elections, there is an insurance solution but there must be a change in the way "uninsured" promises are delivered to the "uninsured" voters.
Is Nigeria not ripe for an active 'Claims Resolution' body that will ensure leaders, whether in government or business, are more accountable to the people whom they had made promises to?
In an increasing connected economy as we are having now, the basis of measuring and rating accomplishments will become the fulfilment of promises.
The insurance industry is in a pole position to strengthen the connected economy because it thrives on TRUST which remains the bedrock of the business. It needs the market provided by the 2019 general elections but must approach it with clear understanding that any failure to fulfill promises cannot be explained by hidden clauses or regulatory protection.
Sometimes, you can miss a certain opportunity to earn income and keep a date with a seemingly uncertain one because of a PROMISE you made and vice versa.
As a voter, whether you have an insurance policy or not, towards the 2019 elections, learn to question how the promises you hear will be fulfilled.
Any insurer that has not thought of harnessing the opportunity of the 2019 general elections to sell promises of "voters insurance" to over 30m Nigerians, especially with the emergence of Insurtech, is not ready for the kind of growth that is possible today.
When promises by governments and candidates become measurable as insurance-type promises and others like promises to pay agreed salaries, we can have appropriate insurance covers to ensure citizens are put back in the positions they were before the promises and the general elections.
As might be debated, our problems are not peculiar but we need to find a solution that works for us using tested mechanisms.
Welcome to another year of promises!
About The Author
Ekerete Olawoye Gam-Ikon, MNIM, CPP is a management consultant with specialization in Strategy and Insurance. He can be reached vide telephone on +234-806-648-1111 and +234-802-585-0344 or by e-mail vide firstname.lastname@example.org