Lagos links low insurance penetration to life expectancy challenges
The Lagos State Government has called on underwriters to create more channels for health insurance scheme and awareness to protect workers in their various workplaces. The State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who made the charge at the Plum Insurance Brokers in Lagos, added that the only way to improve citizens’ life expectancy, tackle the alarming rate of poverty, and ameliorate the effects of disasters in the society is to embrace insurance as a risk management mechanism.
“As a people, we know that life expectancy is 52 years. Libya, after series of war, still has life expectancy of 78 years, so what is wrong? To me, it is lack of insurance; we do not have health insurance. And that goes for everything,” he said. He said Lagos needed the support of practitioners, particularly brokers, in the conception of sustainable health insurance scheme, not only for the elite, but all citizens of the state.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said: “Insurance operators need to find a way to get people better informed, not just the rich and the educated people.”Noting the unfortunate fire incident in Lagos, the governor said: “you will be surprised that 80 to 90 per cent do not have insurance. We cannot build a system; neither can we build a state that is sustainable without insurance and effective risk mitigation devices.
“When people lose their house, or in case of any other disaster, they have to start all over again. We are one disaster away from homelessness and poverty. It seems to me that the industry should put heads together and see the way we can get all those people into insurance circle. We must institutionalise the culture of insurance.”
Also speaking at the event, the President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Dr. Bola Onigbogi, reminded the state of existing and potential risks and the place of brokers in all insurance arrangements.She used the opportunity to commiserate with those who lost their valued properties in the fire that gutted some houses at Martins Street in Lagos, and the market fire that occurred in Kaduna recently. She said, “It is quite sad to see what individuals laboured for going down in flames. This catastrophic event provides an avenue to call on all and sundry to imbibe insurance for protection of their valued properties.
“As the common saying in our Council goes, ‘Whatever is worth having, is worth insuring!’, government also has a responsibility to always encourage and enforce compulsory insurance, especially as it relates to valuable assets so as to mitigate losses when they occur.“There is no amount of palliatives given by government and well-meaning individuals after a loss that could succour a loss like insurance would do.”While enumerating the values and importance of engaging their services, Onigbogi noted that insurance broker will assist clients to pursue their claims when a loss occurs, adding that wise people engaged their services to avoid stories that touch the heart.