Nigeria has deep cultural issues affecting insurance growth — CIIN boss


Director-General, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN,  Mr. Richard Borokini, in this interview speaks on efforts the Institute is making to increase insurance awareness Excerpts

By Rosemary Onuoha & Cynthia Alo

WHAT effort is the CIIN making for the insurance industry to make inputs into annual budgets of the country?

We are having a programme early next year. It is a business outlook and we are getting an expert who will analyze the insurance opportunities that are in the 2018 budget. The issue is that insurance penetration is dependent on insurance enlightenment and in as much as we have over 180 million people, we have a duty to ensure that they know about insurance. Deepening insurance penetration will not increase until we are able to improve public perception about insurance.

Richard Borokini
Richard Borokini

The real issue is that we are still less than one percent penetration and it is a task for the insurance industry to ensure that all hands are on deck to increase insurance penetration.

What efforts are the CIIN making to grow insurance awareness?

The institute don’t sell product directly to the public. We want to support the insurance penetration through enlightenment. However, we are battling with cultural issues. Nigerians have deep cultural problems compared to the Western world. For example, if I come to you over the weekend and say, ‘my kid is sick, give me five thousand naira,’ you may likely give me the five thousand naira.

But if I come to you and say, ‘come and buy five thousand naira worth of personal accident car policy,’ the answer could be, ‘are you praying for me to have accident?’ So we have deep cultural problem in this part of the world and how can we solve it? It is with continuous public enlightenment and telling them all about the benefits of insurance.

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Many insurance consumers are tired of continually paying premium for years and no claims, what can the sector do in this regard?

If you are thirsty and you take a bottle of water, you get satisfaction immediately but for insurance, satisfaction doesn’t come until maybe there is an accident. Then you will now test the product that you have bought. However, it is becoming an agitation and people are saying, ‘I have been paying premium for ten years and I have never had an accident, when will I get the benefit from this product? I want to tell you that the insurance industry is expanding because we now have takaful insurance in the market.  If you buy takaful insurance, you are a partaker of the profit if there is no claim at the end of the year.

When an insurance company that  sells  takaful makes profit on the business every year, part of the profit will be distributed to the policy holders. So you don’t wait until an accident happens before you get the benefit of insurance. Other companies are coming up with products along that line to enable people benefit as well.

However, though an accident may not happen, we have good claims discount for various policies that are issued by insurance companies. But the truth of the matter is that even as at now, what insurance companies are getting in terms of the products they are offering is quite small compared to the claims they are paying  and that is a challenge.

Companies are paying a lot of claims and the premiums are coming very small and that is a challenge. Nevertheless, we believe that things will get better and that is why we are stressing if more people take insurance, there will be more premiums which will be good for everybody.

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