The Director General of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mrs. Yetunde Ilori, has identified public trust and credibility of insurers as critical requirements that must be fulfilled by operating insurance companies to deepen insurance penetration in the county.
To achieve this, the insurance expert advised underwriters to build the trust of Nigerians by fulfilling their obligations to the insured as and when due.
Ilori, who gave the advice at the just ended 3rd National Conference of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents(NAIPCO) in Lagos, pointed out that since the business of insurance hinged on utmost good faith, then insurers must earn the trust of the people before expecting them to cover their risks in whatever form.
Ilori noted that one of the major reasons why Nigerians were neglecting insurance remained the negative perception they have about insurance services.
While also listing misconception, misrepresentation and lack of regulatory enforcement of insurance unlike pension as other reasons why insurance patronage is low in the country, the NIA boss said these were some of the challenges that operators must address to grow the industry.
She said: “It is high time insurers understand what the buyers are looking for; how do they want it as well as where do they want it so that this will drive a change in their behavioural pattern when it comes to deploying their limited resources.”
Ilori also canvassed the need for insurance to make insurance products more readily accessible to the people in order to improve their patronage of insurance products and services.
To achieve this, she advocated the use of technology through mobile phones and banks such that people will take advantage of the opportunity of easy access to embrace insurance and by so doing, improve the industry’s contributions to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This is even as she charged operators to be more innovative and creative in products and services development and delivery to people, adding that a product should be able to address the needs of the customer; it should be kept simply and flexible.
The industry umbrella body’s boss also charged operators to offer bundled and complementary products that would make insurance attractive to the people.
According to her, in order to make insurance products and services attractive to the people, the products and services should be scaled down in such a way that they meet the immediate needs, adding further that insurance pricing should be scientific and commensurate discounts and incentives should be put in place so that people accept it.
The NIA boss explained:“Insurance Companies, Association and Regulators should be responsive when it comes to complaints and disputes resolution. Those that sell insurance should be people that are knowledgeable and have high sense of honesty who will not deceive the buyers.
“Since Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the in thing, insurance company should invest more in ICT so that people can leverage on that and be reached when they want it as they want it.” Ilori stressed.