BY ROSEMARY ONUOHA
Immediate past President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, Mr. Wole Adetimehin has said that Nigerians should stop using poverty as an excuse for shunning insurance.
Adetimehin, who stated this in an interview with Vanguard, said that poverty could be a factor but cannot be a tenable excuse, adding that the poorest class would be the ones that need insurance most.
He said, “Poverty shouldn’t be an excuse for not having insurance, rather we should be preaching to people to get better organised as well as to be operating a plan in whatever they do.
“Yes poverty could be a factor but cannot be a tenable excuse. The poorest class would be the ones that need insurance most, because should anything happen to them, should they suffer a loss, chances of their recovery is lean, that is, if they will ever recover. But if they have insurance, their hopes are high.”
According to Adetimehin, some of these things have to do with the literacy level, adding, “What is the level of education and knowledge that people have? The insurance industry operators will need to do a lot more in educating the Nigerian public.
Even the so called elites hardly can appreciate how insurance works or the benefits, and this may be peculiar to our environment because some of these elites, when they travel abroad or have anything to do overseas they comply with the demands over there.
So maybe a lot have to do with our belief, trust and faith in the sector.
“I was reading a book and it had to do with the richest man in Babylon. The lesson taught in that book has to do with the fact that from whatever income you earn, there must be a planned pattern of managing and spending, and such plans must include a level of saving from which you can always do more investment or do so many things, compared to somebody that will be waiting for manner from heaven or until he can access loan or facility from the bank or a finance house before he could start a business or any venture. So for non-contingencies, for emergencies there must be a reserve.”
Adetimehin said that people should cultivate the habit of savings, adding, “So if your salary is paid to you and you could cultivate the habit of savings, then you could consider insurance because that’s a way of saving.
So, if you do that you are saving for the future, for the training of your children (education insurance). If people could cultivate that habit, in a way, you are inculcating insurance culture.
So my advice and appeal to the general public is that we should shun our apathy towards insurance. It is one of those services in modern times that can always provide a relief or a solution to some of our problems and I can say emphatically, even within the African continent Nigeria cannot be seen as where we have the poorest set of people.
How come that insurance penetration or awareness in some African states is a lot better than Nigeria? Poverty cannot be a factor, so we should de-emphasise poverty,” Adetimehin said.