Insurance brokers and other stakeholders in the industry have called for transparency and clear communication between insurance firms and customers for easy claim settlement.
The experts who spoke at a webinar hosted by BizWatch Nigeria on Wednesday, March 30, 2021 also advocated for a roadmap that would serve as a guide for operators and ensure the growth of the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer, Finterate Projects, Mr Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon, in his keynote address, said insurance companies needed to develop products that were relevant to their market in order to thrive.
Addressing the theme ‘Building Financial Resilience With Insurance Solutions Amid COVID-19’, he advised insurance companies to ensure there is a constant line of communication with customers, especially when there is a claim to be paid.
He stated that one of the lessons learnt at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic was the way data was managed and how it was utilised by stakeholders. “Customers expect you to communicate with them (on claims) but what we have now is that they are asking questions and no one is responding. It is tougher for us when people have to go through the whole process of insurance. I hope that as we encourage them to buy insurance, we encourage them to understand how it works,” Gam-Ikon said.
According to him, operators need to constantly assess the relevance of their products to the market they operate in.
Other panelists who spoke on insurance products for SMEs at the event were Senior Manager, Brand, Media and Communications at African Alliance Insurance, Bankole Banjo; Managing Director/ CEO of FBN Insurance Brokers, Olumide Ibidapo and Associate Director, General Business Commercial, Leadway Assurance, Oluwatunminiu Ayodabo.
Unravelling the myth that insurance was reserved for the elites in Nigeria alone, Banjo said that insurance was open to everyone and that it was a natural part of life.
At the panel session moderated by an Insurance Journalist, Helen Ajeamo, Banjo said, “Insurance is not an elite thing, insurance is something that is literally part of life.” He urged insurance companies to take hold of the narrative around insurance to tackle cultural biases that had discouraged Nigerians from buying insurance policies.
“We have to tackle the issue of cultural bias, make sure religious leaders buy into the idea of insurance and build trust so that people can understand the benefits of insurance,” he added.
Also, the Managing Director/ CEO of FBN Insurance Brokers, Olumide Ibidapo said the industry was ripe for a roadmap that would guide the operators on what they need to achieve.
He said insurance products suitable for Small and Medium Enterprises should be simple and provide coverage for financial loss, workers and physical assets.
“The type of insurance coverage for SME should be wide enough to cover their financial loss, workers and physical assets. In the event of a claim, it should be simplified and settled on time,” Ibidapo added.
Speaking on the lessons from the COVID-19 and #EndSARS saga for small business owners, the Associate Director, General Business Commercial, Leadway Assurance, Oluwatunminiu Ayodabo, stated that, “An unforeseen event like the #ENDSAR aftermath can adversely impact businesses if the company does not have an insurance policy to help protect against such an event or lack of adequate capital to restore any loss.
“However, business liability insurance can help to minimize risks so that the business continues to operate and grow. Largely, in an event where business hits severe misfortunes, it may not be able to solely afford the cost of getting back on track and running again.
“However, in the case of an insured business, the risk is shared between the company and the insurance company.”
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Managing Editor of BizWatch Nigeria, David Oputah, explained that the webinar was conceived to enlighten Nigerians on insurance matters.
He described the insurance industry as vital with a huge potential but underutilised in Nigeria.
He highlighted the importance of being insured against uncertainties, especially in Nigeria, where insurance is perceived as a taboo due to a lack of understanding of the subject.
Oputah urged Nigerians to take advantage of insurance as a strategic safety net during a time of financial crisis.