CHALLENGES OF INSURANCE BROKERAGE IN NIGERIA (1)
With Yinka Bolarinwa
One of the earliest and the most resilient problems the insurance industry, and the broking firms in particular has been contending with and will continue to contend with is the problem of ignorance as the benefits of insurance products. Many do not know what insurance is all about; even the educated ones.
Some believe insurance is a smart way of extorting money from the people. The problems created by some dubious practitioners who will collect premium without remitting same to the appropriate quarters do not help matters either. I
t is believed that insurance practitioners, especially the brokers will still need to do more in this area, especially in educating the public on the numerous benefits of insurance products and how such benefits can be harnessed.
This will need intensive campaign at the grassroots level. Inadequate efforts in this direction have detlied the huge premium that we are expecting from the insuring public.
Until very recently, May, 1999 to be precise, we have been under the disruptive influence of military dictatorships. The system was largely bastardized and the impact on the economic growth and development is so profound.
Of course you know that anything that affects the- economy will also affect the volume of business and so the brokers market. Even now that we are in a democracy, the full impact on the political and economic growth are not being felt yet.
Government will need to do more to enhance the process of turning around the economy to increase employment and its subsequent multiplier effect on the economy as a whole.
Apart from this, it is also important that the trouble spots in the country where ethno-religious crises have become the order of the day need to be given proper attention with the view to reducing the conflicts level that is almost tearing the nation apart.
Expectedly, they have wider impact on the social environment as a whole. Socially, the level of trust which is the core of social and business relationship is currently at its lowest ebb.
This is affecting business transactions within the economy. Just as the way it is affecting the inflow of private foreign investors (PFI) that would have assisted in broadening the economic base of the nation. Much still needs to be done to guarantee enduring trust and confidence that are panacea to knowing social relationship that economy needs now.
Furthermore, as a result of the persistent political and economic crises, we have been unable to educate the public about what they stand to gain from insurance.
Hence the old attitude towards the insurance that was based on ignorance keeps rearing its ugly head against the growth of the industry, especially the broking subsector.
The age old religious belief that God is the best insurance is yet another factor. It is trrue that God is the best insurance. However, we have to note the fact that insurance is God's creation through man to address a wide variety of human needs, particularly at crucial times 'and of course the issue of sharia. The antidote is appropriate product development and aggressive campaign.