Expert Advocates Collaborative Communication Campaign To Grow Insurance
Expert who spoke at the 2022 Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC) Media Retreat has called for the creation of a dedicated jointly owned media vehicle by all stakeholders in the nation’s insurance industry that would serve as news agency on insurance content for sharing with other media houses.
Delivering the theme paper, “Media As Catalyst For Insurance Inclusion,” at the event organized for members of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) at the weekend in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Head, Corporate Communication, Polaris Bank Limited and President, Association of Corporate & Marketing Communications Professionals in Banks (ACAMB), Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa said, “There is a need for a deliberate collaborative campaign for national awareness about the importance of insurance.
“A dedicated jointly owned media vehicle should be created by all stakeholders to serve as a news agency on insurance content shared with other media houses.
“Regulatory bodies in the Nigerian insurance industry are expected to partner the Nigerian media industry towards creating a diverse and inclusive newsroom; that has content development and coverage strategy that builds audience trust in insurance and provides for a better representation of different societies.”
Speaking on issues militating against insurance penetration in Nigeria, Mr Bolarinwa mentioned doubts about insurance companies, hostile economy, trust issues emanating from hidden clauses, inadequate access to Information Technology, weak regulatory framework, lack of skilled personnel and poor awareness of insurance services by the prospective assured, among other factors.
He said ”The response that follows the mention of insurance or insurance companies to an average Nigerian is predictable. Negative reactions and lukewarm attitude are the kinds of feeling that come with an invitation to insurance policies. This informed the low patronage and acceptance of insurance companies operating in Nigeria.
“This untoward reaction and attitude by Nigerians may not be unrelated to the poor attitude of the insurers towards the often repeated chorus of refusal to pay claims. Some insurance companies have truly developed a bad reputation for defaulting in the payment of claims. This unfortunately grew to become a negative public emblem that hangs beside their corporate identities. Invariably, the industry and the nation’s depleting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are big losers.”
While giving kudos to the industry for paying huge claims on losses suffered by millions insured, Bolarinwa said “Things have changed though as underwriters have paid and are still paying huge claims on losses suffered by millions of insured that we read daily in the media.”
On how the hostile economy is affecting insurance industry, Bolarinwa said “At this moment, insurance companies are not willing to invest the premiums in long-term instruments because of the fear of inflation built up over several years due to fiscal indiscipline and high inflation. Everybody knows in economics that short-term investment can only bring lower returns. With these trends, insurance companies will only be able to run on the spot; underwriters would not be able to pay claims. Only a viable economy that has a robust business environment can allow insurance companies to thrive.”
Stressing on the need to demystify insurance to take its pride of place in the nation’s economy, the communications expert said, “Insurance will only take its pride of place as a big contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as it applies in other jurisdictions when all stakeholders in the risk ecosystem are deliberate, consistent and methodical in simplifying what insurance is all about in words and deed. Firstly, there must be a unanimity of purpose to bake insurance and make it BI enough for all to benefits from the expected windfall.”
Bolarinwa proposed that “insurance should be presented as a Lifestyle add, adding a significant value, enhancing life and living. Creative and interesting story-telling narratives delivered with moving and crisp visuals delivered across digital and traditional platforms with strong orchestration and amplifications. There is bound to be a ‘Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA)’ as the end product, which is all that is needed for the immense opportunities in the sector to be unleashed.”
Guinea Insurance injects N900m capital into business
Guinea Insurance Plc, one of the oldest insurance companies in Nigeria said it injected about N900 million as capital into its business in 2022 and is in the process of listing 1.8 billion shares.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the insurance company, Mr. Ademola Abidogun disclosed this at the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors’ (NAIPE) 2023 first quarter CEO’s Forum in Lagos.
Abidogun said the insurer has a lot of funds within its system and over N2billon cash under its management to do business.
He noted that the underwriting firm made the highest Gross Premium Written (GPI) of N1.4 billion in 2022, compared to the last ten years.
“We were also able to make underwriting profit. If you look at the statistics, Guinea insurance has consistently grown so much in its underwriting profit.
“When you check the financials, you will see that the core business of insurance is underwriting, which means; collect business, underwrite it and make profit,” he said.
According to Abidogun, the insurance company was working to improve its investment portfolio, as fund was essential to sustain a business.
The Managing director hinted that Guinea insurance’s claims payment method is one of the best in the market because the firm believes, one of the main reason for doing insurance business is to pay claims.
“If we pride ourself as one of the best in the industry in terms of claims payments, we must be able to pay claims after collecting people’s premium” Abidogun said.
According to him, while the underwriting firm had experienced some challenges few years ago in the market, it has been able to resuscitate its business between 2021 and 2022.
Abidogun noted that Guinea insurance also had to confront perception issues, because a lot of people think the insurer is a one man business, meanwhile it is a Plc with a very robust structure.
The managing director said that the insurance firm had started business well in year 2023 in terms of production and as at February, it had done over 300 percent of what it did same time last year.
“We will be able to deliver in terms of our plans for the year. The most important thing is for an organisation to have capacity, which has to do with financials and people driving the business and we will continue to evolve,” he said.
Guinea Insurance Moves To Delight Shareholders
The management of Guinea Insurance PLC is repositioning the insurance company to ensure value creation and optimum returns to its shareholders. the Managing Director, Mr. Ademola Abidogun, said.
Speaking at the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors’ (NAIPE) first quarter 2023 CEOs Forum in Lagos recently, Abidogun said: “We have a very robust board and workforce that is made up of accountants, lawyers and other professionals with a very strong business experience working together to ensure we are where we are today.”
Abidogun said the company has invested so much in staff training and acquisition of technology, adding that currently “we have so many portals including the Third Party Portal which helps us in doing our Motor Business. Motor Business still remains the biggest of our products and we have partnership with a few brokers on that.”
According to him, “we are also getting new businesses from Brokers such as Marine Insurance for example. This segment is also growing despite the fact that there has been a lot of challenges in the areas of dollars and importation. Our oil and gas business portfolio too has also picked up because people are very passionate about insurance.”
On agric insurance, he said the Company is partnering with some international bodies to grow that segment.
He said the process of getting approval for Travel Insurance from NAICOM is ongoing.
Abidogun said the Company’s portal for its Motor and Marine insurance business is strengthening their partnership with some brokers, which he said have started patronizing them.
His words “The brokers partnership, our new business initiatives, our portal that we have for Motor and Marine insurances and some business with government agencies combined to ensure that we are getting value for our shareholders.”
In term of opening new branches, he said “We really don’t want to open a lot of branches but what we are doing is to have as many sales outlets as possible because to open new branch offices now is very expensive. We want to have sales outlets and well run central underwriting system and a central accounting system.
“Although we have few branches in strategic areas, we also want to open more sales outlets in strategic areas to complement the existing branch and enhance our operations in selling most of our products and repositioning our brands there.”
Pension: PenOp Wants Bill Seeking To Exempt National Assembly Staff Discarded
By Sola Alabadan
The Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) has raised the alarm that the bill seeking to exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) will have negative impacts on the pensioners and should therefore be discarded.
Recently, both Chambers of the National Assembly passed a “Bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014, to Exclude/Exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme and Establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board; and for Related Matters.”
PenOp stated that “the passage of this bill sets a dangerous precedence that will not augur well for hardworking Nigerians, working across the private and public sector, who depend on the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for retirement security and stability.
“The introduction of the CPS in Nigeria marked a departure from the unsustainable pension schemes the country had been operating in the past. This scheme has brought transparency, international best practice and guaranteed peace of mind to millions of pensioners. For these reasons and many more, the need for the above bill is indeed unfathomable and unjustifiable.”
The pension operators expressed grave concern regarding the way the bill was passed, saying” The passage of this bill seems to have been unnecessarily expedited and shrouded in secrecy with very little engagement and input from critical stakeholders—as it was passed during the National Assembly’s recess.”” “Indeed, it is disturbing that this bill did not go through any public hearing, a key component of the legislative process that allows stakeholders to have their voices and opinions heard for possible inclusion in the process. If this was done, pertinent issues such as the amendment of retirement age, funding of pension liability, and the potential debt burden on government—all of which are affected by this bill—would have been debated and brought to the fore.
“The National Assembly prides itself as the heart of our democracy. Indeed, the halls of the National Assembly are the people’s halls. As such, it is extremely important that the legislative authority the National Assembly wields is in no way subverted to serve vested interests in passing anti-people legislation. The exemption of any agency or group from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) holds grave consequences for the Nation’s struggling fiscal position and will potentially upend the retirement security of pensioners who have given their blood and sweat in service to our great Nation.
“Therefore, without reservations, PenOp, as a critical stakeholder in Nigeria’s pension industry, wishes to state that it considers the passage of this bill a procedural anomaly and legislative immorality. Hence, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to note this grave anomaly and join us in calling on the National Assembly to reconsider its decision as well as enjoin the Executive and the Judiciary to outrightly condemn this action.
“More specifically, we call on the National Economic Council, the Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and all relevant government stakeholders to look into this anti-people bill and ensure that it is not signed into law.
“Finally, should this bill proceed to Mr. President, we call on him to kindly refuse to assent to this bill in the interest of the people, the sustainability of the Nation’s pension system and the flawed procedure in which this bill went through.”