Deputy Commissioner (Finance & Administration), National Insurance Commission, Mr. George Onekhena in this interview talks on the importance of having life insurance.
By Rosemary Onuoha and Cynthia Alo
Nigerians don’t consider insurance in their financial planning, why is that so?
One thing I need to emphasize on is the importance of life insurance. It is risky for any person not to take life insurance, even when they know that in the event of death, there are dependents that would suffer.
The first stage of your financial plan should be insurance. If you don’t have life insurance and you don’t have resources to take care of the needs of your dependents when you go, then it means that your plan is not complete. Life insurance is an issue that people need to take seriously. People make excuses that insurance companies do not pay claims, but that is self deceit to say that insurance companies don’t pay claims. For you as an individual, you know that if anything happens to you today, and when you go there will be problem because school fees will not paid and it is going to be relevant for your dependents. I must say that it is financial recklessness for you not to have it.
For instance, if you are going to buy a car or house now, don’t you ask questions? Just as we take time to ask questions about all these things, so we should also take time to ask about insurance. Nobody knows when death will come calling, so what you need to do is to take life insurance.
The insurance industry is set to embark on a rebranding campaign, how will that impact on the image of the sector?
The National insurance Commission, NAICOM, and insurance operators have come up with an industry plan. We have agreed on our goals, objectives and initiatives and we are into implementation now.
One of the major items that we agreed to do first is the issue of awareness. The industry has created a fund and it is being used for awareness creation. That is the first stage on our plan.
Awareness creation and education as major projects are very costly but we believe that by the time we get to the end of the first phase of the plan which is for 2018 to 2020, we will be able to assess the impact of what we are doing and we have confidence that we are going to succeed with the plan.
Our confidence is derived from the fact that we know the role that insurance play in the lives of household, business and government and we believe that if this is taking advantage of, then not only will we deepen insurance penetration, we will also make contribution to poverty alleviation.