Friday, June 11, 2021 / 10:16 AM / OpEd By Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon / Header Image Credit: The African Courier
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.
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
Elsewhere, the concerns for our healthcare have increased since COVID-19
pandemic and so have insurance offerings, by a few leading insurers in Nigeria
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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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