Economy Cannot Grow Without Insurance, Insurance Experts Say

The immediate past President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mrs. Laide Osijo, has underscored the pride of place of the insurance industry in economic development, saying no nation would grow without insurance.

She said this just as the former President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mr. Adeyemo Adejumo, argued that most of the criticism against the industry was borne out of ignorance; particularly on the part of those who ought to know.

Osijo made the assertion at the just-concluded 2013 National Insurance Conference organised by the NCRIB in Lagos. She challenged those Nigerians who are criticising and pulling down the insurance industry to point to any economy that progressed without its insurance industry playing an active role on the way to achieving economic development.

“Our council has been particularly pained by the insignificant attention given to the contributions of which insurance brokers could make in the national vision. Insurance brokers could proudly be one of the major drivers of the project, if given required attention, considering their pivotal roles in the insurance industry.

“There is also no way a nation could record enduring economic progress if the insurance sector is neglected. I therefore challenge anyone to show me any nation that is developed or progressive without a virile insurance industry,” she charged.

“Insurance plays a catalytic role to national economy and that role must be recognised and encouraged by government at all levels. If the insurance industry owns banks and other crucial institutions in other progressive countries, there is no basis not to repeat the same feat in our own country, Nigeria,” Osijo said.

NCRIB is the umbrella body for insurance broking firms and insurance broking professionals plying their trade across the country and the conference is a flagship of this critical arm of the country’s insurance industry.

In a related development, Adejumo said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) erred when it said claims settlement by Nigerian insurers stood at 15 per cent saying it does not reflect the true position of things in the industry and country.

Speaking at the maiden Insurance Consumers’ forum organised by Almond Productions Limited in Lagos recently, Adejumo said antagonists of the insurance industry have continued with their pull it down strategies notwithstanding the worthy strides of the industry in recent times.

“Our industry paid over N9 billion claims to Coca-Cola when I was still in office and claims are still being paid by Nigerian insurers since I retired up till today but still they say insurers don’t pay claims.

“It is incorrect for CBN to say claims settlement by Nigerian insurers is 15 per cent.  If at the CBN level this perspective is held, then we have serious problems that we need to solve very urgently,” Adejumo stressed.
Retiring after putting in about 30 years in the insurance industry in Nigeria, he observed that the complaints about insurance companies not paying claims has been sustained not minding developments in the industry over time.

“It has been the same story for over 30 years.  I am expecting a different story if not a better one and particularly, I hope to see that in my life time,” he said.

According to him, the stories has always been about poor image, that insurance companies do not pay claims, insurance professionals and practitioners are poorly dress as well as lack of trust and confidence issues.

Adejumo who was Managing Director of Continental Reinsurance Plc (Continental-Re) differed with antagonists of the insurance industry, saying “we have put it in a better perspective.”
Meanwhile, the insurance regulator, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has assured the new president of NCRIB, Mr. Ayodapo Shoderu of support, saying his predecessor performed very well in office.

Setting an agenda for the new president, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel said:
“It is my expectation that your presidency will lift the profile of insurance brokers, improve public confidence and by that, enhance the fortune of the industry.  Your agenda should also include keeping a close tab on your members with a view to ensuring that they play by the rules and collaborating with other arms of the insurance industry to consolidate the successes of the NAICOM driven market improvement initiatives,” he said.

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