Experts see financial inclusion as boost to policy adoption
Insurance industry captains have said that improved financial inclusion of the country would serve as a catalyst for insurance penetration.
The insurance sector operators, who spoke at the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria(CIIN) 2019 Education Seminar held in Enugu, Enugu State, see financial inclusion as a driver of economic growth, as well as development, of which insurance plays a vital role in ensuring that people do not become poor after suffering mishap.
Insurance, they said, would return the insured back to the financial position he was prior to occurrence of an insured risk.
The Vice Chancellor, ESUT, Prof. Anike Okechukwu Luke, while highlighting the challenges of achieving financial inclusion through insurance, said the number of those financially excluded in Nigeria is over 50 per cent of the 99 million adult population, hence, the number of those who should access insurance of any kind is drastically reduced.
The inability of the populace to save as a result of double digit inflation in the economy, according to him, is a serious challenge as most families in Nigeria don’t have enough to take care of their basic needs let alone save or engage in insurance.
Poor insurance awareness, he said, accounted for why most Nigerians have limited knowledge level on the need to take up an insurance cover, which affected their perception of insurance. Proffering solutions, he noted that, aggressive media campaigns should be launched to educate Nigerians on the importance of insurance, adding that, such campaigns will enrich the knowledge level of both rural and urban populace on the need for insurance.
“Effort must be put in place to create jobs for the teeming youth. More jobs, no doubt, will increase financial access. This is because reduction in formal employment will lead to reduced in disposable income and savings. This will ultimately affect insurance,” he pointed out.
While calling on Nigerians to embrace insurance as a key risk mitigation mechanism, he added that, insurance is equally key to sustainable financial inclusion as there is no future without insurance.
Earlier, the president, CIIN, Eddie Efekoha, had emphasised the importance of inclusion, the roles of emerging markets and need for creativity in the offering of services by insurance stakeholders in order to grow the insurance industry.
According to him, “It is common knowledge that Insurance penetration is nowhere near where it should be in the country. As practitioners, we can also acknowledge that companies are doing all that they can within the tenets of the law to reach out to customers in order to create a sustained demand for insurance products. The question is, are our best efforts enough? What more can we do to improve our lot?”
Insurance companies, he said, are being tasked to reorganise their operations and focus on promoting value. This, he noted, would in turn, increase the number of persons who embrace insurance, turning them into ambassadors no matter in what sector they actively function.
To him, financial inclusion is a major facilitator of the growth of the Insurance industry, adding that, “even the smallest molecule of our operations should be clear and concise to our target audience and our messages should reach them where ever they are. Only then can we truly retain top of mind awareness and agree that we have taken a significant step in what we collectively desire to achieve, an Insurance industry that is a significant contributor in terms of numbers to the economic growth.”
He charged underwriters to increase the tempo of their campaigns for insurance awareness and professionalism in order to get more people to stand up and take notice and for more Nigerians to embrace insurance as a profession and as a service offering.
A Customer Relation expert, Chidi Okoro, harped on the need for insurance companies to be flexible and innovative in their product offering. “For instance, any request that’s slightly not in line with their usual coverage is usually rejected. Some customers make complaints such as; ‘I wanted to pay higher premium for them(insurers) to not just insure my fleet comprehensively but also cover some lost revenue when any vehicle is going through claims process. They refused!’
Any proactive insurer, he stressed, should have been wise enough to take such cover, which means, products must be flexible to adjustment as the need arises.
“Creativity Will Unlock The Opportunity, Access and Engagement Are Key Drivers, Cross/Upselling ‘Good Customers’ May Present Big Opportunities, Innovation Should Be a Lever, Sector Initiatives Should Aim To Change Narrative, But There’s Work to Do,” he pointed out.
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