Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition, Hon. Uzor Azubuilke, has asked insurance brokers and risks underwriting firms in the country to ensure fairness in their business dealings.
He asked the operators to imbibe a culture of fair treatment to their customers in order to achieve the goals of the ongoing financial inclusion agenda of the federal government.
He gave the admonition during the launching of the Transparent Protection Limited (TPL), an insurance organisation, which said it is committed to raising the level of insurance penetration in the country in Abuja recently.
According to him, in spite of the effort of the federal government effort to reform the economy, the insurance industry has remained relatively stagnant with only 800,000 adult population patrons having any form of insurance policy.
Without apportioning blame, Azubuike said what was needed is that all stakeholders should unite in the search for ways forward for the industry. “This trend is unfortunate and indeed disturbing. The big question therefore should be why has the sector failed to put up an impressive performance after so many years, and what must be done to quicken the pace of development in the sector,” he said.
According to him, the nation’s insurance industry is plagued with challenges of improper legal framework inadequate capitalisation, limited human and technical capacities as well as low public confidence.
He suggested that the industry as a whole should address the above challenges even as they try to deepen insurance penetration, rebuild public confidence and boost insurance awareness programmes.
The lawmaker noted that in spite of the elimination of fringe market players, and the ability of operators in the market to meet and surpass the claims expectations of their customers, Nigerians are yet to embrace insurance due to the persistent crisis of confidence in the industry.
The time has come to heal the psyche of the insuring public in the country and engineer them towards a more cordial relationship with insurers. TPL could not have come at a more auspicious time than now, Azubuike posited. He also encouraged operators in the industry to partner the non-governmental organisation in wooing Nigerians to embrace insurance the more.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, noted that notwithstanding the potential in using the insurance industry to boost national development, Nigeria have failed to explore this opportunity.
He observed that instead of creating values like other economies have leveraged on insurance and pension savings to boost their competitiveness in the global market, Nigerians prefer buying cars and other resource-depleting items that have continued to weaken the asset base of the economy.
“Insurance has a role in the development of the nation and giving assurance on protection in terms of some form of difficulties. An average Nigerian prefers something very tangible but insurance is not tangible but it is something that offers protection from life and death,” Odinkalu stressed.
Transparent Protection Limited was established to facilitate and sustain a complementary platform for mass patronage of insurance services, settlement of all genuine claims and deepening insurance penetration.
It also seeks to increase insurance awareness through collaboration with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders as well as promotion and influence of government policies affecting the insurance industry through civil society advocacy.