Tuesday, October 13, 2020 / 11:47AM / By Ekerete
Ola Gam-Ikon / Header Image Credit: Ecographics
It does matter why and how you procured your insurance policies to enjoy some unforgettable experiences that you readily share with friends and associates.
Sometimes ago, it had come to my notice that, most persons in Nigeria bought their insurance policies with less facts than they ought to have had when they took that decision. Remember, facts are what they are and as they are presented by an authority duly empowered by law or by reputation.
Next, checking to verify the facts is considered a necessary step before making the final decision, however, many of us do not do this, for reasons we will examine here.
At a recent insurance webinar, I was reminded that the purpose of insurance is to make the world more resilient. Fact!
Yet only a few of us think about it as something that helps us.
The fact is that we all need insurance due to the risks we are faced with on a daily basis, but the factors that have determined our actions have been continuously myopic and misleading.
Meeting the requirements of the law and succumbing to the pressure of sales representatives emerged as the topmost reasons many individuals and businesses have taken up insurance policies in previous surveys. The few that have had more discerning reasons to procure insurance contracts retain the services of insurance brokers and consultants, while maintaining a unit headed by an insurance professional within their organisations.
Available evidence shows that 90 percent of multinational companies in Nigeria are in this category of the few. Fact!
They are also the companies that have their claims promptly settled by insurers, and the brokers compete viciously every year to win their insurance portfolios. Eighty percent of the claims of over N270b paid by the insurance industry in 2018 went to these (corporate) policyholders.
It is a necessary factor that you have a professional advisor managing your insurance relationships given his/her superior knowledge of the market, strong technical language and broader industry influence.
You may have been surprised at the high rate of outstanding claims due to individuals in the Nigerian market today, which has become a huge concern, however one could easily notice that these policyholders did not have the services of any insurance brokers or consultants. It is the differentiating factor.
Many insurance companies are even accused of enticing customers directly with lower rates of premium and when the same customers have claims, they are forced to appoint insurance brokers to assist them pursue the claims. Such factors make the insurance experience of customers unsatisfactory and discouraging but often, we can show proof that the customers allowed themselves to be misled by the lower price.
The question therefore has been: Why would it seem the customers are made to go through pain in what clearly started as a cordial relationship? Quite commonly, you hear bold promises that "we will be there when things go wrong" but experiences have reportedly been harsh.
It even gets worse when the same customers have to hear and meet, for the first time, Loss Adjusters, another category of insurance professionals designated to provide independent advice upon investigation of locations and cases to determine the immediate causes and effects of reported claims.
Review of several experiences reveal that many customers have inadvertently seen the Loss Adjusters as part of the insurers, thus feeling uncomfortable and hesitant to accept the outcome of their reports; another factor that deepens the distrust between insurers and their customers (policyholders).
Can there be a deliberate action to make the customer less confused and more excited about relating with the insurance industry players? Yes.
Here is a factor that the trade associations of respective arms of insurance industry should consider urgently: One picture that the customers can see despite the differences in operations.
It is unhealthy for anyone who is concerned about her brand to sell through one window with assurances, but when there are issues to resolve, the number of windows then increase.
Insurers in Nigeria need to be more concerned about how customers receive and interpret their actions and responses, given their desire to deepen insurance penetration.
Let the facts be presented in a timely and reliable manner preferably by the regulator, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) just as the trade association for insurance companies, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) has been doing in the last couple of years.
It is important to factor in the fact that many more Nigerians are online and depend on their mobile devices for information and education, hence the need for the portals to go live now, not later.
A new insurance experience beckons!
About The Author
Ekerete Olawoye Gam-Ikon, MNIM, CPP, is a management consultant with a specialization in Strategy and Insurance. You can contact him via e:mail firstname.lastname@example.org and mobile +234-806-648-1111
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