By Henry Uche, Lagos
In a bid to boost the relevance of insurance for wider accessibility and place it in the vanguard of the financial industry, stakeholders in the insurance industry are seeking a synergy among operators, regulators, agents and brokers, policyholders, lost adjusters, underwriters, and others to profitably sustain the sector in the for the benefit of all in the value chain.
At the insurance Industry Parley 1.0, put together by The Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) recently in Lagos, the stakeholders lamented that the sector is struggling to gain significant acceptability by most Nigerians, unlike the banking sector which has come to stay.
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Looking at the prospect of the insurance sector from the perspectives of regulators/policymakers, insurers, customers/policyholders, agents & brokers among others, the experts believe that critical players need to painstakingly introspect and find out those current practices which have been inimical to the sector and stop them forthwith, and at the same time start practising those things which their counterparts in developed climes do that makes them soar in the insurance profession.
They noted that lack of trust and confidence in the insurers by Nigerians, even among potential policyholders is one of the issues bedevilling the sector over a period, therefore the need for a cross -pollution and cross-fertilisation of ideas to tackle emerging issues and trends wrecking the sector should be a top priority for all critical players in the sector.
With the theme, “Sustainable Insurance: Issues & Trends” they maintained that the earlier pioneers of the Insurance Industry missed the opportunity to make the sector strong, acceptable and indispensable before the people, hence the need to re-strategise to reclaim the earliest position.
Speaking at the event, Chief Executive of FairDeal Public Adjusters Ltd, Ralph Opara, believed that the insurance sector seems to be the weeping child in the financial Industry when compared vi-sa-viz with the banking sector.
Opara recalled with nostalgia that the insurance sector in the ’70s had more money than the banking sector and was able to lend to others. “In the 70s, agents were coming to Royal Exchange Assurance to obtain funds to sustain the banking sector. If insurance were serious, they would have bought all the banks then. But today the banking sector is soaring, while insurance is struggling because insurance didn’t strike when the iron was hot and it was because we had no entrepreneurial managers. Overseas, most of the banks are owned by insurance companies,” he decried.
On the way forward to reclaim its leading position, he said, “We can’t meet it because finance and monetary Policies made through the banks, and of course, they would patronize their own. Today you can’t operate without a bank account but you can do without an insurance policy, howbeit insurance remains the heartbeat of any business, no business survives without it, and if there is no business, there would be no economy,” he affirmed.
Similarly, the Deputy Managing Director, Hogg Robinson Nigeria Ltd, Saheed Egbeyemi, advised that for the insurance sector to soar, its stakeholders across the board must retrospect, analyse the status quo and be able to plan for its future.
“If we want to remain in business, then every stakeholder must come together, particularly the operators and strategise. There is a future for the insurance industry, but we need to walk the talk,” he charged.
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