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Shareholders decry low confidence in insurance operations

By ROSEMARY ONUOHA

SHAREHOLDERS in many of the insurance companies have said that they are not happy with the operations of most companies in the country, advising them to make customers’ needs their main priority by improving on their service delivery.

According to the shareholders, such  move would correct the erroneous belief of Nigerians that insurance companies are only existing to reap-off the people.
Speaking on behalf of the shareholders at an event in Lagos recently, Executive Secretary of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, advised underwriting firms to improve on their products and service delivery, to build credibility.

Negative perception
The negative perception of insurance services by the people, he stressed, was because insurers have refused to be transparent in their operations. He charged them to avoid cutting corners to make ends meet, but rather, do things in accordance with provisions of insurance contract.

Adeleke noted that if underwriters are alive to their duties and responsibilities, they would gain public confidence, that will positively affect the prices of their shares on the floor of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
He further stressed that though the insurance sector has the highest number of listed companies in the capital market, the prices of their stocks are below par value. Adeleke who attributed this to low credibility, urged insurers to continue to offer better services to meet people’s expectation.

Adeleke said, “The insurance sector has more companies than any other sector listed on the NSE, yet the prices of these stocks are below N1. The critical problem of insurance is low credibility. It is high time underwriters woke up and be responsible.”

He however called for mergers among underwriters as well as insurance brokers to create room for big players with strength to spread insurance services across board, adding that operators should continue to promote excellence in order to have an investor friendly environment.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of RiskGuard Africa Nigeria Limited Mr. Yemi Soladoye has said that Nigerians have high level of confidence in insurance mechanism, but low trust in insurance practitioners.
This, he said was because most underwriters are more concerned about the profit they want to make and less concerned about the welfare of their customers.

He noted that operators in insurance companies are too conservative  which has done more harm to insurance industry than good. He appealed to underwriting firms to create problem-solving products that could meet the needs and wants of the people. He equally called on them to use other alternative channels to sell insurance, such that, insurance cover could be widely distributed across the nation.

Soladoye  advised underwriters to promptly pay claims as and when due, calling on underwriters to work harmoniously, as well as fully adhering to provisions in insurance Act to grow the industry.

 

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