The Jos monarch, Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, has pointed out that public misgiving about insurance business and the insurance industry were caused by ignorance and lack of proper understanding about insurance being a risk management tool by many Nigerians.
He made the observation when the management of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), led by the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel, paid him a courtesy call in Jos recently.
He also noted that the misgivings may have been due to the activities of a few operators that had engaged in sharp practices in the past, but said such practices were not peculiar to the insurance industry.
“Just like any other sector of the economy, the activities of a negligible few may have given rise to such negative perception. But that was not enough to over look the good the industry has to offer the people. The people will derive more value from the services of insurance as the industry grows”, the Monarch said.
He therefore appealed to insurance operators to be more forthright in their dealings with the public so as to erase the negative perception of the people about the sector.
He also advised NAICOM to embark on aggressive public enlightenment campaigns to educate the people about the benefits of insurance and invited the commission to organise one of such enlightenment campaigns in Jos.
The monarch said he would not only support the campaign but would also appeal to the State Government to align with the insurance literacy awareness drive of the commission.
Meanwhile, Daniel assured the traditional council that the era of insurance companies collecting premiums and not paying claims was over.
Any policyholder who believes he has been wrongly treated by an insurance company should feel free to approach the commission for redress. NAICOM not only has the power to regulate but also has what it takes to discipline any erring insurance company, including revocation of its operating license, he stressed.
The commissioner also emphasised on the importance of risk management tool such as insurance saying, insurance is one of the “cheapest means of managing risk but it is largely misunderstood”.
Daniel said the commission was in the process of embarking on an awareness drive that would enable the people know insurance as one of the means of managing their risks.
“We believe that one of the platforms we can use to reach the people is that of traditional rulers and that is one of the reasons we have come to visit His Royal Majesty. We believe if we can get the buy-in of His Royal Majesty, we will be able to get the message across to the grassroots easily”, he said.