As the process of drafting and signing of contract of insurance policy for year 2021 comes to an end on midnight December 31, 2020, pressure have mounted from stakeholders in the industry on the Federal and State governments to procure appropriate insurance contracts to protect government assets and liabilities spread all over the country.
Apparently worried by past experience of government levity and inability to insure government assets, the fall out of ENDSARS street protest should ginger all government agencies both Federal and states governments on the need to effect protective insurance cover to mitigate losses of this nature in future.
Industry stakeholders who spoke to AssurPen Online, for instance, that both the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the egg-heads of the market umbrella Associations have brought pressure to bear on government on the large scale destruction of government and private properties running into billions of Naira arising from the ENDSARS street protest.
Consequently, this should inform and inspire government at all levels on the need to insure its assets and pay the premiums accordingly for the future.
For instance speaking at a national workshop on micro-insurance and Takaful organized by Safe Sapphire Foundation in partnership with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in Abuja recently, the Head, Corporate Communications and Market Development Department, NAICOM, Mr. Rasaaq Salami, said the protests, though unfortunate goes to emphasize the essence of insurance in risks mitigation.
He said: “We believe that if these properties are insured, the insurance companies will pay the appropriate claims to them.
“If government will support insurance and adequately ensure that government assets and liabilities are adequately insured, the issue of government dipping hands into its coffers to compensate victims would not arise.”
He said: “Imagine if stalls and markets were insured, if public buildings are adequately insured- insurance companies will take over all these liabilities, rather than government having to look for money or having to deep hands into the scarce resources to compensate victims, monies that could be channeled into other use.
“So our advice, and we will continue to stress it, is that government should ensure that their assets and properties and liabilities are adequately insured.”
He, however, pointed out that the essence of the summit was to reach out to MSMEs and educate them on the benefits of insurance to them as individuals as well as their businesses.
He said: “Majority of Nigerians don’t know about insurance and those who know about insurance don’t actually know the benefits in the consumption and that is our goal, to ensure that people are educated, and know what to do in terms of benefits, they know their rights when it comes to claims settlements, they know how to apply for their claim and when they have issues with the companies, they know where to go and seek redress.”
Salami said the commission is always available and ready to address consumers concerns adding that it has created a dedicated department which handles issues of disputes between consumers and insurance companies.
He said: “My advice to companies especially the MSMEs is to ensure that you take adequate and appropriate insurance to cover your businesses and to cover you as an individual so that in the event of a loss, insurance will bring you back to that same level you were before the loss.
“Insurance is not actually for you to make profits but to bring you back to that level you were before any loss so that it would look as if you didn’t lose anything.
So we are going to continue with this and as much as possible we will support foundations and agencies that are willing to join us in this campaign to ensure that Nigerians are properly educated about insurance.
Sources close to the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) who requested anonymity said it is an irony and sad that government make these legislations for the proper conduct of insurance business in the country particularly the insurance of government business, and payment of premium of government insurances for sustainability and growth of the entire economy but regrettably, the same government has not honored the legislation it has put in place for proper conduct of insurance business in the country unlike what is happening in the developed economies.
According to him, even the regulatory agency it has established, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is the Adviser to the government on insurance matters but on many occasions the advice are often ignored by the egg-heads in the parastatals and agencies because many of the technocrats don’t believe in insurance and the importance of the industry to the economy.
He however said, this is our country we will continue to put pressure on the government to do things in proper perspectives in the ministries and agencies at both Federal and State levels.
Besides, a chieftain in the industry welcoming this reporter to her office said my friend where have you been, it has been a long time, l am happy to welcome you back. The problem you have raised has been a recurring issue in the insurance industry, but notwithstanding the insensitivity of government to the issue, we will continue to put pressure on government to realize the responsibility of government to the society, to see the need to protect these National structures for the fact that billions of Naira have been spent over the years for posterity.