Why Nigerian Insurance Industry is still crawling – ACAMB President, Rasheed Bolarinwa

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The Nigerian insurance industry is still crawling with dual problems of little knowledge of its values and acceptance by the populace, mostly ignorant of the values of Insurance. These are the key determinant of mass patronage, growth of premium generation and meaningful contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy.

Mr Rasheed Bolarinwa, Head Corporate Communications, Polaris Bank Plc and President, Association of Communications and Marketing Professionals in Banks (ACAMB) disclosed on Saturday at a Media Retreat organised by Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC) in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

According to him, despite its importance for economic development, the gross premium collected by insurance companies in Nigeria is about 1.9 billion United States Dollars compared to the 3.8 billion United States Dollars collected in South Africa.

In the United Kingdom, the insurance industry contributes about 20% of the total GDP of the country. In South Africa, the insurance industry contributes 17% of the total GDP and in Kenya, the insurance industry contributes 3.4% of its nation’s GDP.

Bolarinwa highlighted Issues militating against Insurance Penetration In Nigeria as follows:

Doubts about Insurance Companies

The response that follows the mention of insurance or insurance companies to an average Nigerian is predictable. Negative reaction and lukewarm attitude are the kinds of feeling that comes 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 through over time had developed a bad reputation for defaulting in the payment of claims. This unfortunately grew to become a negative public emblem that hanged beside their corporate identities. Invariably, industry and the nation’s depleting GDP are big losers.

Hostile economy

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.

Trust issues emanating from hidden Clauses

Issues of hidden clauses in policy documents which often heightens public suspicion about the insurance business in Nigerians is a cause for concern. And players need to simplify and make insurance more desirable by the general public.

Other concerns…

Other key issues affecting the speed of insurance penetration in the country include 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.

Recently, while counselling players in the industry, the Chairman of Heirs Holding, Mr. Tony Elumelu at the 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) challenged the operators on the need to be consistently professional. He also echoed some of the critical issues affecting the industry’s productivity.

“In redefining the practice and practitioners in the broking profession, NCRIB should lead the war against many unethical practices that have been identified as the bane of the industry for years. These include premium rate cutting, delayed premium remittance, unremitted premium, overloading of premium, returned premium, fake documents, fraudulent claims, collusion to defraud, mis-selling, unhealthy competition, misrepresentations, manipulation of policy conditions, self-enrichment methods disguised as marketing expenses and many more”, Mr. Elumelu.

I propose that insurance should be presented as a Lifestyle add on that adds significant value to enhancing life and living.  With 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 TOMA as end product which is all that is needed for the immense opportunities in the sector to be unleashed. (To prepare this paper, i did a mini survey among 10 young staff in my department, mostly comprising the millennial & GEN Z demographics and the findings were insightful and revealing.)

Role of Media in deepening insurance inclusion:

The mass media are vehicles and instruments for the socio-economic transformation and re-engineering of any society. Especially for a developing nation like ours, the media is required and indeed, is fundamental for the penetration of important national agendas.

The most prominent and widely known media of mass communication in contemporary Nigeria are; newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and digital communication platforms.

Media is a strategic vehicle for dialogue and acceleration of inclusive growth in any society. The media can continuously set agenda for the public to know more about the importance of insurance and to accept different risk protection values inherent in modern insurance policies.

As an agenda-setting mechanism, the media can be effectively used to change public orientation and achieve a pre-determined objective of making insurance valuable, acceptable by the general public.

There is no doubt, this moment is the most critical time for a more germane approach to how to communicate the essence of insurance to Nigeria’s huge population if we are truly concerned about achieving measurable and optimal penetration and reasonable acceptance.

NEWSPAPER

I challenge Nigeria’s newspaper outfits to tap into the unexploited gap created by poor insurance penetration in the country to be the champion to rescue the insurance industry from its woes.

How?

(i) Dedicated reportage to consistently make the industry attractive to the uninsured most of whom are in the nook and crannies of the country. Issues like diversity, inclusion, opportunities for sustainable happiness, ability in disability and business insights should be focused on.

Newspapers should create ample space for insurance editorial content at a pocket-friendly rate for willing insurance companies

Newspapers should celebrate leading insurance companies that are well-positioned, professional truthful and being consistent in premium payment. This can come in the form of an independent insurance award. Invariably, this can be designed as an additional enterprise with patronage from stakeholders.

Radio is very germane for a mass mobilization of a huge population. Radio is an “infotainment” media platform, vital information, and entertainment flow through its airwaves.

Particularly, radio stations are used when policymakers have critical reform information to pass to the people. Issues like disaster response, community resilience, disaster, flood management, mental health crises communication, traffic diversion and more have been managed using the radio as a medium of mass communication.

There is no better time to explore the radio medium of passing messages to create and disseminate consistent messages about insurance and its values.

I suggest that our government, non-governmental organizations, and insurance regulatory bodies can commission Radio Drama specialists to design development communication themes, using drama as medium that targets issues affecting insurance penetration in Nigeria.

ANIMATION FILMS & SHORT SKITS

The deployment of animated short films and skits is quite strategic in setting agenda for the people. Special characters can be created and themed messages to convert many redundant, uninsured, and uninformed populations to take action by enrolling on an insurance policy.

DIGITAL/SOCIAL MEDIA TO THE RESCUE

To an undiscerning mind, Insurance and social media may sound like unusual partn

According to 2022 studies, there are 2.91 billion active users on Facebook. The largest age group on the platform is between 25 and 34.

Also, according to 2022 studies, there are 810 million active users on LinkedIn. The largest age group on the platform is between 25 and 34. While this has historically been a platform for older generations, it is starting to move toward millennials, likely following the demographic as they grow to take on a larger portion of the job market. This is a great platform for B2B and could find highly targeted audiences when working with paid ads.

Social media marketing is a great way for insurance companies to unleash their digital marketing plan. A study has revealed that customers increasingly spend more time on social media. If that is the case, social media platforms are key for insurance policy marketers and the general public

Guide To Market Insurance on social media

  • Focus on Creating Quality Content
  • Share Customer Testimonials
  • Highlight Your Brand Values
  • Choose the right social media platforms

Social media platforms are great tools for insurance agents to reconnect with past customers and engage with prospective ones. These platforms promote sales, give insights about different policy types, and offer advice to establish yourself as a reliable sector authority. This is also a great place to share news about closures or community events and sponsorships.

The insurance industry is already hectic, so you don’t want to be spinning your wheels on social media. When it comes down to it, using social media for community building may not cost money.

The following are the six most predominantly used social media platforms for insurance messaging – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok

TERNET OF THINGS 

Connected Internet devices can be a veritable tool for the dissemination of cultural and attitudinal reorientation. Insurance companies can market insurance to the masses through this digital innovation. More than in any era, we are now in the age of democratization of information through various digital devices at our disposal.

The IoT brings internet connectivity, data processing and analytics to the world of physical objects. For consumers, this means interacting with the global information network without the intermediary of a keyboard and screen (Alexa is a good example).

According to the United States of America, the insurance body – The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) IoT-connected insurance uses the data from internet-connected devices to improve the understanding of risks. Advances in IoT can improve productivity, the overall profitability of the business, and the risk profile of the portfolio. Through IoT, insurers can better connect with consumers adding important touch points in particularly sensitive phases, like acquisitions and claims. Moreover, IoT advances can be realized for the full range of products and lines of business, from commercial to life, property and casualty and health.

Call for a Collaborative Communication Campaign

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 hoses.

Regulatory bodies in the Nigerian insurance industry are expected to partner with the Nigerian media industry towards creating a diverse and inclusive newsroom; that has content development and coverage strategy that build audience trust in insurance and provides for a better representation of different societies,

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