Amidst rising losses to disasters, experts query Nigeria’s low insurance uptake

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By Henry Uche

With increasingly unstable, unsafe, insecure, natural disasters and other man-made incidents are events/occurrences becoming more commonplace across the globe, more people are beginning to query Nigerian’s insurance uptake despute efforts to raise the bar.

Oftentimes when some unfortunate incidents happen, lives, property and injuries or loss of life, it is taken to become the becomes the lots of people within the vicinity.

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It is rather unbecoming the rate at which unexpected incidents and accidents are happening in Nigeria.

For these reasons, insurance sector experts have queried the outright refusal of many Nigerians to insure not only their lives but other vulnerable assets for some unfounded reasons.

By its resolve to provide protection to third parties and the public and to make compensation available to victims in the event of any loss caused by negligence, insurance was made compulsory under several laws, regulations and guidelines between 1945 and 2008.

In 2009, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) launched the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) project, with the aim of achieving a holistic pursuit of development of the industry as well as ensuring full compliance with extant laws in respect of compulsory Insurances.

With Compulsory Insurances, government at the centre wanted to ensure that risks that would pull individuals and corporate organisations down and make them economically impotent were taken over by insurers whose expertise is to provide cover and pay compensations.

Accordingly, the beneficial Individuals and corporate organisations are protected from going back to poverty as a result of loss of life and assets but most essentially, to enable them contribute their quota to the cumulative economic growth and development of the country, which when pulled together makes the economy viable.

Unfortunately, the many Nigerians are yet to see any reason (whatsoever) to insure either Life or any valuable.

In January, 2022, the Federal Fire Service (FFS) reported that Nigeria lost over N3 trillion to 2,845 fire outbreaks in 2021 alone.

Following this development, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, urged Nigerians to embrace the right firefighting attitude as there were going to be more incidents of man-made fire outbreaks with the approach of dry season.

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In a recent interview, the Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), Mansur Matazu, warned Nigerians especially farmers not to joke with the agency’s weather forecast & information released as there was going to be normal and above normal downpour within a limited time that would trigger floods.

Now, the recent statistics collated from Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) on damage  revealed that from 1974 to July 2021, statistics they obtained showed that, over 461 buildings collapsed in Nigeria with over 1,090 deaths recorded and many injured. In this, Lagos being referred as the commercial center of the country, accounts for 60 per cent of reported cases of building collapse in Nigeria.

From the same document from NIA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says 40% of businesses close their doors forever after a major fire and explosion.

Data from Fire Disaster Prevention & Safety Awareness Association of Nigeria revealed that, incessant fire outbreaks has cost the national economy about N6trillion in the last five years, with major cities like Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja experiencing serious consequences of the scourge.

According to Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Loses over N5 trillion to fire between 2013 and 2018 (the losses also preclude those that were not reported to the Service.

On August 1, 2012, another three-Storey building collapsed at 3, Anikantamo street in the Adeniji-Adele area of Lagos.

A survey of incidence of building collapse reveals that existing and occupied buildings are more affected than those under construction or newly completed.

On July 22, 2013, a two-storey building under construction collapsed at 32/36, Ishaga Road, killing 4 persons, among them, a 13-year-old bread hawker, and three construction workers were rescued.

7 July 2011, a four-story building collapsed at Moggaji street in Ebute Ero, Lagos Island, Lagos State. The incident occur barely 10 days after a three-storey building caved in at Oloto Street in Ebute Metta area of the State, where seven lives were lost and several injured.

More so, on September 25, 2013, a 3-storey building at 15, Alli Street, Lagos island collapsed, falling on top of the six-bedroom bungalow situated at 13, Alli Street in the process, leading to its collapse. Luckily, the three-storey building had earlier been marked for demolition.

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