Living Without Insurance Amid Insecurity


Friday, June 11, 2021 / 10:16 AM / OpEd By Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon / Header Image Credit: The African Courier

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As tradition gives way to innovation in different aspects of our lives, we are increasingly struggling to retain beliefs that have been held, sometimes even as principles. One of such is that insurance business thrives when the economy is performing and the purchasing power is good.


However, we have become challenged by the increasing state of insecurity in multidimensional scale and concerns have heightened about the ways we should live to avoid and survive potential attacks.


From basic travel advisory to lifestyle changes and emergency management, we are engaging ourselves yet not much seem to have been said regarding recovery management.


No one expects to be the victim of an attack whether at home or on the road, but cases of deaths, injuries and disabilities are reported daily. Sometimes, these incidents affect the economic activities of the affected persons, keeping them away from work or business longer than necessary due to the lack of funds to pay for medical care; besides the inability of the entity to produce results in their absences, especially when there are small enterprises.

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What Can We Do Now?

This has become the common question and many people have not been comfortable when my answer is: Buy good insurance!


From further asking me "Where do you expect anyone to get money to buy insurance now, when people cannot even eat?" to wondering whether insurance companies will honour their obligations when claims are reported, my responses have been two-sided with an edge like a coin.


Firstly, it is because no one knows what may happen or who may be attacked tomorrow (weeks and months ahead), we can encourage ourselves to purchase the basic Personal Accident Insurance that offers 24-hour coverage within Nigeria, and in the event that the unexpected happens, the good insurance provider can compensate the person or persons. This policy can be as low as N1,500 per year for compensation of N500,000 or more, with access to medical care of N50,000 or more.


Are you not better off having such an insurance policy before you embark on a journey or merely going to your workplace many kilometres from your residence?


As we now have affordable insurance products from companies offering Microinsurance and Takaful, more Nigerians should be aware and encouraged to take up policies that will hasten their recovery in case the unexpected and unfortunate events occur.


Farmers, traders, transporters, students, security personnel, journalists, health workers and officials of government at all levels can get insurance covers now, to minimize the pains associated with ugly incidents. Only in war situations will insurance companies decline covers for interested parties.

Elsewhere, the concerns for our healthcare have increased since COVID-19 pandemic and so have insurance offerings, by a few leading insurers in Nigeria and Africa.


In response to regulatory advice that we take personal responsibility of ourselves amid COVID-19, we are faced with managing costs of medical care and insurance has become the preferred financial instrument. Unfortunately, not many Nigerians know this and especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) continue to spend massively from diminishing margins with little or no intention to adopt the option of insurance due to ignorance and poor knowledge of how insurance works.


Promoting Insurance Today

Insurance, unknown to many Nigerians, is meant to be promoted by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), National Pensions Commission (PENCOM), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). Interestingly, it has continued to be presented as a law that must be complied with by individuals and organisations.


Operators, namely insurers, brokers, agents, fund administrators, health maintenance organizations and employers of labour are also merely pushing to implement what the laws say with little emphasis on the value that insurance delivers even in times of uncertainty and insecurity as we have now.


Who will dare to promote insurance today as a panacea to the uncertainty and insecurity we face? Will Nigerians likely rush to the insurance company that announces the sales of Personal Accident Insurance to assist recovery from unexpected attacks? You can almost be certain of the response.


So, how will insurance change in Nigeria and Africa to truly earn its description and qualification as the BUSINESS of NUMBERS? Probably by having more operators responding to the need and pain points of the populace.


Migrating from generating insurance premium from large corporate entities including governments to individuals and SMEs requires regulatory actions on claims and data usage and the operators investing in innovative solutions and partnerships that will ease the experiences of policyholders.


With optimism, we have received the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan of NAICOM and look forward to the positive impact it will have in the promotion of insurance as the tool we need to manage the new normal.


As we continue to work on resolving the issues of insecurity, critical consideration should be given to the role of insurance - health, life, pensions, social - in our lives. This is our personal responsibility.


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 and mobile +234-806-648-1111 

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