Insecurity of life heightens demand for life assurance cover
… Industry paid N33.993 billion life portfolio claims
INSECURITY of life and property in the country may have heightened demand for life assurance policy as hedge against eventuality of sudden death.
Life assurance managers, who spoke to The Guardian attributed the development to the rising wave of armed robbery attack, sudden death, militancy, kidnapping, terrorist attack, which poses threat to life and property. Hence forcing businessmen and women, legislators, self-employed and private net-worth individuals to seek means of protection, by buying life assurance policy as security for their dependents in the event of sudden death.
Besides, industry life offices also identified the enlightenment campaign undertaken by the industry, improved service delivery particularly in the payment of claims, may also have appealed to the generality of Nigerians as well as the armed forces personnel who are beginning to see the positive aspects of life assurance as security in providing for their love ones they left behind in the event of sudden death of the bread winner.
For instance, facts and figures released by the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) on claims payment by insurance companies indicate that life assurance offices in 2011 paid claims amounting to N35.36 billion; in 2012 the industry paid N26.31 billion compensation on life assurance, and it increased to N33.993 billion in 2013. In the period under review, the life offices have grown to about 26.
Industry leading life assurance managers – AIICO Insurance Plc with over 50 years of operation in the country, attributed the upward trend to the high mortality rate occasioned by the rising incidence of armed robbery attack, sudden death, militancy, kidnapping, among other risk elements.
A source in the company said “The demand for life products has been on the rise particularly among the businessmen and women, National Assembly members, high net-worth individuals, armed forces personnel, adding that they constitute about 50 to 70 per cent of our valued customers. The trend could be as a result of insecurity, high mortality rate occasioned by rising wave of armed robbery attack, sudden death, or death by accident.
He said “Interestingly, members of the security armed forces are now realizing the benefits in life assurance policy, because of the information on the claims that the company has paid to some of the deceased families in the barracks, whose bread winners have sealed a life assurance policy with us.”
According to him, “We do not necessarily advertise this company, but our reputation and professionalism is advertised by our clients. We do not believe in unnecessary documentation, once a genuine claim occurs, we settle it promptly. Besides, we have a culture in this company which is to “place smiles on frowning faces”. This fact has remained a watchword in the claims department”.
Said the top manager, “The public in the past developed phobia for life assurance and other insurance products in the country because of the bad experience they must have had in the past. But with strict regulation of the industry and the monitoring of the activities of practitioners in the industry by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), no insurer worth its salt would operate in the market for the purpose to cheat, the industry has grown remarkably beyond that level.
He said that the insuring public are beginning to see these positive changes in the industry moved by the industry market association. Therefore, with improvement in the national economy, don’t when claims are paid, money is created, there is better living condition for beneficiaries without the breadwinner. Insurance, he said, has a significant role to play in the economy and continuity in the living standard of the people.
The Group Managing Director, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, Akin Ogunbiyi, in his remarks said Mutual Benefits Life Assurance Limited underwrites life business in our company. He noted that the life arm business has over 40 life products that are investment-linked, affordable and gives the people opportunity to save money.
According to him, some of these products are – Personal accident, Group personal accident, individual savings and pension plan, personal pension and investment plan, mutual education guarantee plan, keyman assurance, mortgage protection, group life assurance, term assurance and endowment assurance, among others.
He said: “At Mutual we pride ourselves in delivering excellent services to our stakeholders through over 3,000 agents selling these products nationwide.”
The Managing Director/CEO, FBN Life, Val Ojumah, in his remarks said, “I am a staunch believer in micro-insurance because of the population distribution in Nigeria. We have the potentials to drive the business, the challenge are technological, infrastructure and communication.
The chairperson, Life Offices Committee of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mrs. Bola Odukale, in her committee reports to the council said that the future outlook is continued enlightenment of the insuring public by more impactful advertisement, even at the grassroots level and in schools to teach the country’s future leaders on the benefits of insurance. Training and re-training of members to attain high professionalism in all our underwriting endeavours in line with global best practice.