Have no fear about insurance
SIR: Reality check has revealed that many people are not comfortable with insurance, whether as customers (policyholders), employees, investors, policymakers or suppliers.
There is a palpable fear that you cannot trust insurance as the actors are unlikely to keep their promises. The advice, therefore, include: Conduct a quick due diligence before you agree or sign that contract; when you’ve commenced the contract, focus on it without comparing it with others. No two insurers are the same, while some are looking for liquidity others are looking at profitability; if you’ve insured with one company and renewed your policies for five straight years without reporting any claim, does not make the insurer a great company. Great insurance companies are known by the number of times they’ve met their obligations to their stakeholders; when you’re faced with the unexpected situation of delayed payments by insurers, be patient. Delay doesn’t mean denial.
However, if your claims are denied and you feel aggrieved, there exist complaints points at Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to provide redress and sometimes, you may win; and if you have not had any thing to do with insurance, due to lack of knowledge or fear of the past, have a rethink and allow yourself to be engaged by the new crop of insurance business leaders and professionals who conduct their businesses based on global best practices.
Sometimes, you would think it should be easier to sell insurance to the educated person, who understands risks, disasters and disruptions but each time I have had a conversation around insurance and risk management with such persons, I am left wondering how we would have achieved progress as human beings, if not for the unschooled amongst us.
The unschooled believe in trying, even if they have doubts but the learned will use their grandfathers’ cases to debate about why today’s offering is not beneficial because of what happened decades ago.
I am not challenging their right to such opinion and would not get anxious given their opinions, however, observing how hundreds of millions of people in Nigeria and Africa go through each day with increasing risks without insurance due to the opinions held by the generation that knows all, gives me goose bumps.
A year from now, we will be holding elections across Nigeria and voters will go out without insurance despite the historical reports of accidents and deaths during the few hours we are required to cast our votes. Who will advise us?
Insurance has helped many people move from one life-stage to another. A noiseless helper!
Be insured. Be distinguished.
• Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon, an insurance expert and consultant, lives in Lagos.