ECONOMIC SITUATION MAY PREVENT NIGERIANS TAKING UP COMPULSORY INSURANCE PRODUCTS
By ROSEMARY ONUOHA
Due to declining economic situations coupled with erratic power supply in the country, some Nigerians may not be too eager to embrace the compulsory insurance products which the federal government is currently trying to enforce through the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
These Nigerians see no need to take up insurance covers when the disposal income to do so is so meager or even non-existent.
Although these insurance products are made compulsory by law, the average Nigerian may not be keen to take up any because according to them, Government has not played its own part by providing conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
If the government wants Nigerians to fully obey its rules and laws, they are of the opinion that there should be good governance.
Dr. Kunle Olajide, Chief Medical Director of Medical Practitioners Services Limited, Ibadan, Oyo State noted that taking up an insurance cover is not a bad concept on its own but government that has made some insurance products mandatory should create an enabling environment for people to excel in whatever they do.
According to him, there are basic responsibilities of government to the citizens which are contained in the constitution of Nigeria, but the government has failed to deliver on these responsibilities, therefore compelling people to obey government directive on compulsory insurance products is not the best.
In his words 'The working environment in this country is not conducive. I have been working on generator since morning and it is not the best. If the power sector is effective, more people will be self employed and they will happily obey government laws and rules, but since it is the other way round, it is not the best.'
While stressing that both the government and the citizens have the same responsibility to obey the constitution of the country, Olajide stated 'If government wants us to play our part, government should play its own part too.'
Mr. Victor Agbo, a property owner lamented that all along the government has been a disappoint and only exploited the people through various taxes without commensurate development being recorded in the economy.
It will be recalled that NAICOM picked on 5 out of the 15 compulsory insurance products in the country as flagship products and it is currently enforcing them under the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI).
These products include occupiers' liability insurance and builder liability insurance both mandated by Sections 64 and 65 of the Insurance Act, 2003 and medical professionals liability insurance mandated by Act 35 of 1999 establishing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The others are employers' liability insurance, group life insurance for employees as mandated by the Pension Reform Act, 2004 and the third party motor insurance mandated by the Motor Third Party Act.
MDRI is a medium term plan under which NAICOM is carrying on the first phase of the reforms in the country's insurance industry. It is premised on four key areas namely; enforcement of compulsory insurance products, sanitisation and modernisation of the insurance agency system, wiping out of fake insurance institutions and introduction of risk-based supervision.
The scheme is intended to exploit the potentials inherent in green zones as insurance of public buildings and buildings under construction, group life insurance scheme as well as motor insurance among others. It is expected to continue till 2012 when expectedly, expansion of the industry's underwriting capacity of the industry, market efficiency and consumer protection would have been attained.