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Only 5% Nigerians have insurance policies, say experts


Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku (third left); professional reinsurer, Prof. Joe Irukwu (fourth left); political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi (third right); CEO, Score Associates, Sir Ogala Osoka (second right); MD, Cowry Assets Management, Johnson Chukwu (second right); and founder, Proshare Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Awoyemi at a colloquium organised by Centre for Value in Leadership in Lagos …yesterday.Photo: Bright Azuh

Not more than five per cent of Nigeria’s population is said to have subscribed to a legitimate insurance policy, say industry experts.The experts revealed this in a colloquium tagged ‘The Insurance Industry: National Savings and Financial Market Reaching for Higher Levels of Performance’ organised by economist and founder, Centre for Value in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi.

Chartered insurer and professional reinsurer, Prof. Joe Irukwu, noted the urgent need to improve the industry’s space for the average Nigerian to appreciate indemnity. “Nigerian insurance industry is not where it should be.

“This unfortunately is due to the relatively low level of insurance awareness in Nigeria and the poor state of the economy over the years, hence we are not yet able to realise the full benefits of this aspect of fund mobilisation.”Irukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), emphasised the importance of running insurance policies.

“The insurance concept is the most ingenious creation of the human mind. As far as inevitable problems of risks are concerned, everyone needs to be insured.”Utomi charged insurance firms to stand out in their delivery.

“If we achieve the promises of insurance, it will transform investment in the economy, because the pull of savings that come from insurance can lead to structural development, venture capital and other significant roles in the economy.

“There is need for the government to encourage insurance industries by creating policies that mandate people to have life insurance, orientation exercises that can inculcate insurance as a settled habit of community, and institutional play that will lead to insurance contributing as it should in our community.”

The economist said government must be careful in making remarks about the state of the economy.“Politicians, who play the so-called ‘games of the moment’ and say things that are not supposed to be, sometimes forget that there will be consequences for customer and investor confidence, how the environment of business is classified and therefore the cost of capital into the country, which is the most important tool for economic development,” he said.

CEO and founder, Proshare Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Awoyemi, identified management problem as a major part of insurance failure in the country.He called on the media and other stakeholders to assist in educating the general public on the importance of insurance, because savings from insurance investments could contribute immensely in the country’s development.

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Joe IrukwuPat Utomi
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