By Patience Saghana
Awareness and theÂ perception of insuring public towards insurance are fast changing for the better says Mr Femi Okuniyi, Managing Director of Goldlink Insurance Plc.
Okuniyi made these observations whilst recieving President of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mr. Sunny Adeda and his team who were on a courtesy visit to the insurance company last weekend.
For Goldlink Insurance boss, low penetration of insurance companies in the country was due to the perception of the people on what insurance is, stating that the Nigerians are beginning to appreciation insurance whilst the perception of insuring public is fast changing as a result of prompt claims settlement by underwriters.
He also said that the low income per capital is also a factor as â€˜â€™people will first of all think of their stomach before what they want to insure and this are the reasons there is low penetration. And then, again, you will find out that people migrate to the urban areas from the rural areas as there are no industries and that is why people have to move out to work in the urban areas and only educated people know about insurance as education is also a factorâ€.
He stated further that peopleâ€™s perception of buying insurance cover is poor because many people donâ€™t know about it. He said: â€˜â€™When you go to the grassroots, try to interview the rural women about insurance, they will hardly understand. All we have done is to educate the people and we want insurance to be studied in secondary schools as it is the bedrock of all enterpriseOn the low participation in the oil and gas sector, he said it is not totally true, adding that there is an improvement in participation in that vital sector is concerned.
He said: â€œOne thing we must admit is that it involves high capital and because of the recapitalisation of the insurance industry, that has given us an opportunity to have a bigger bite on the oil and gas insurance industry.â€™â€™
He noted that currently government is saying participation should be at least 30 per cent, but that though this is good, it is better to start from some where. It has to do with your capacity which will determine and we are talking of dollars not Naira, foreign currencies in large amount of money
While commending the institute for its contribution to the development of insurance professionalism in the country, he said, â€œThere is the need to focus on human capital development so that the industry can have better hands to foster the development in the sector.â€
Adeda pointed out that the institute, at the moment, had about 1650 associate members but it had instituted a Vision-5000 agenda which aimed to take the number to 5,000 chartered members by the end of the year.
According to him, the insurance industry needs about that number of professionals to firmly position the industry among the leading sectors of the Nigerian economy.
He admonished the management of Goldlink to put measures in place to further encourage the workers to become professionally qualified noting that this would not only boost the confidence and career prospects of the individual worker, but also improve overall efficiency and service delivery in the organisation.