The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, has urged insurance operators to redeem the industry’s poor image in the eyes of the public, by embarking on public education and enlightenment campaign.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Yetunde Onanuga, disclosed this when he declared open the 2016 Insurance Professionals’ Forum in Abeokuta, in Ogun State, which was organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN).
Amosu urged insurance firms to make maximum use of the investment opportunities available to them to strengthen their liquidity position to enable them meet the claims of policyholders, companies whenever the need arises, stressing that effort would help restore public confidence in the ability of the industry to deliver and redeem its obligations to clients.
According to him, majority of Nigerians are yet to embrace the culture of patronising insurance companies, hence, the need for the institute to engage in public education and enlightenments programmes that would enlist the interest of the people in the business.
He stated that there is need for insurance companies to redesign their products and services in such a way that would meet the need the ever-changing behavioural pattern of our people.
He added that concerted efforts should be made to ensure that the economic environment and social behaviour of our people are integrated into the policy formulation and marketing strategy objective of the insurance companies.“Another area which the insurance industry is yet to fully explore is the life policy and pension insurance scheme. This can really make long-term funds available for profitable investment in the insurance sector. It seemed to me that lack of insurance life portfolio has made our insurance companies to be caught in the web of low investments and needless competitions with other actors in the money market.
“The only area that is popular with our insurance companies is the group life policies. With the advent of democracy, insurance companies should brace up to attract the political class to embrace the life insurance policies,” he said.
However, the theme of this year’s forum: The Insurance Industry, National Economic Shift & New Business Realities, could not have been more apt, as there are more than ever before in the history of the nation, the need for diversification of the economy.
Speaking further, he stated that the reality has dawn on all of us on the urgent need to diversify our economy to the non-oil sector and as major players in the economy of the country, insurance professionals must come up with robust ideas and policies that can help cushion the palpable fall in revenue in the economic process. “Undoubtedly, as the call for the diversification of the economy is on the increase, and investors are being wooed to invest in agriculture, mining, export promotion, amongst others.
This gathering through robust deliberations must come up with possible template that would not only assure investors of the safety of their investment, but that would assure them of insurance driven environment which will bring high yields on their investments.
“Without a doubt, the prevailing social economic situation requires that the institute should attempt a critical reappraisal of some of the contemporary issues in the professional practice of insurance business in order to promote the industry forward,” he stated.
Onanuga pledged that the governor administration would continue to remain open to all genuine collaborations from professionals, individuals and corporate organisations towards the successful implementation of its mission to rebuild the State.
Also, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, urged insurance professionals to speak and act professionally, noting that failure to observe this tenet in the past caused the industry so much injury.
According to him, the time has indeed come for us to speak professionally and act like the true insurance professionals we claim to be in the course of performing or conducting our business.
“Our failure to observe this tenet in the past has caused the industry so much reputational injury. I am glad to say the current efforts of the Insurance Underwriters’ to change the perception of the public about insurance are timely and laudable. All other sectors should join in with their widow’s might to ensure the success of the project,” Kari said.
Meanwhile, the President of the CIIN, Lady Isioma Chukwu, urged insurance professionals to key into the vision of the government’s economic diversification activities and position the industry appropriately.
“It is common knowledge that the simultaneous development of the various sectors of the economy will energise economic activities, promote investment and impact on the demand for other ancillary support services such as Insurance. The Insurance professionals must therefore key into the vision of the government’s economic diversification activities and position the industry appropriately,” she said.