• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Reprieve for traders as NAICOM pushes insurance across markets

Reprieve for traders as NAICOM pushes insurance across markets

Abimbola Ola, a 63-year-old cloth importer and trader at a major market in Lagos Island has been in business for over two decades, managing three shops and a warehouse with 12 persons in her employment.

Sometime in 2020, a fire incident occurred in the market at midnight bringing down a shopping complex and shops adjacent to Ola’s warehouse, without her own being affected, while her neighbours lost millions of naira.

The midnight fire served as a wake-up call to Ola and her colleagues in the market about the vulnerability of their business to unforeseen disasters, who could have imagined how all they had laboured to build over the years could have been wiped away in one incident. So, they agreed that something needed to be done to prevent such from happening in the future.

This became clearer to them when some of their colleagues who were affected by the incident stayed off the market for months and years, while many did not come back at all due to lack of funds to continue their business again.

Good news to some of the traders. Following the incident, insurance companies assessed the damages and compensated those with insurance policies, leading to increased awareness. The traders were also enlightened by the insurance companies on how better to protect their wares and shops from similar incidents in the future.

But like some many Nigerians, a lot of them still did not believe as they continued to hold their old beliefs that insurance companies don’t pay claims or that they take people’s money and go away.

But Ola took insurance seriously post-incident paying premiums regularly, securing coverage for her warehouse and shops for fire and burglary as well as comprehensive insurance for her two Toyota Siena buses.

Read also: Insurance market gets breather on pricing as fire risks turn nasty

The recent fire incident yet again at Ola’s market some months ago aligns Ola’s proactive insurance approach with the vision of Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, the commissioner for Insurance/CEO who is focused on deepening market penetration and increasing access across Nigeria; when reprieve came for some affected traders who took insurance for their business.

Omosehin’s recent consultation with the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA); Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN); Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB); Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN) and Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), is focused on increasing access to insurance for protection of their life and assets, efficient claims settlement and building public trust.

Ola will ever be grateful to insurance companies and the individuals who enlightened her on the benefits of insurance and how it could protect her business in the event of fire or burglary.

Having paid premiums consistently since 2020, Ola is happy that after a fire incident that engulfed her shops recently, she was able to get reprieve from her insurance company when she received millions of naira as claims to enable her to rebuild and restore her means of livelihood after the incident. Thanks to insurance for coming up to restore Ola and her business.

For her, insurance should be part of a business plan because that will only be your surest fall-back position in the event of a loss like this.

“I will always tell anybody to take insurance very seriously because you don’t know when problem will come”, Ola said.

“Insurance is real and I will encourage everybody to take insurance for their business because without insurance today, I don’t know how I would have started again”.

The Commissioner for Insurance during a meeting with the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) as part of his engagement series with stakeholders on how to advance the growth of insurance in Nigeria under his leadership, also underscored the need for market deepening.

Olusegun Omosehin with his team emphasized his commitment to fostering a robust and stable insurance industry that prioritizes the protection of policyholders and beneficiaries.

He stated, “My mandate is to ensure a very safe, sound, and stable insurance sector that can protect policyholders, and consumers, and build public trust in the insurance industry.

He further outlined his administration’s agenda, focusing on increasing insurance penetration and ensuring efficient and prompt claims settlements. Omosehin underscored the importance of compliance with industry regulations to achieve NAICOM’s vision and urged stakeholders to prioritize regulatory adherence.

In a similar engagement with the Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), the NAICOM boss said it was necessary to carry every arm along in the vision to make public confidence in insurance the hallmark of the market operations.

“In building confidence in the Nigerian public, it means claims settlement is critical. It involves the turnaround time it takes to pay; even the efficiency involved in that entire value chain”.

Omosehin said, “It therefore becomes critical that for us as a regulator we would get input from you in putting our vision together. We don’t want to assume that we know it all. We want to hear from you.”

“In crafting the strategy that will drive the current new executive it’s important that we have this one-on-one, to listen to your views, perspectives, and insights and possibly give us top three priorities which form our perspective as key to seeing a virile insurance sector.”

Omosehin said to become a sector that can really de-risk this economy, it behoves on all of us across the entire sector to play our part.

Since the beginning of 2024, no fewer than 30 markets across the country have witnessed various degrees of fire incidents that resulted in loss of goods and assets worth millions of naira.

Fire incidents have occurred at Karu Modern Market in the nation’s capital, Abuja, while a two-storey building at Dosunmu Market in the Lagos Island Local Government Area of Lagos State also caught fire.

Property worth millions of naira has also been destroyed at the Tejuosho Market, Yaba area of Lagos State, while in Borno State, fire had broken out at the Layin Yan Katako and outer sections of the market destroying goods in their millions.