LOW RESPONSE TO INSURANCE COVER IN THIRD WORLD ECONOMY: CAUSE AND SOLUTION

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CHAPTER ONE

1. 0  INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The business of insurance anywhere in the world strives on confidence and integrity. Therefore image remains a crucial component of its survival. And in Nigerian the story is the same that is the perception of the Nigerian public is vital to the future development of insurance. Philip K.(1992).

Insurance was introduced into the country about eight decades ago and unfortunately, the industry is yet to penetrate or enjoy total acceptability of the Nigerian public. Insurance: They would admit that less than ten percent of the Nigerian public has one form of insurance policy or the other according to Ayo, A. (1997).

Although the Nigerian Insurance Industry has come of age, in its own little way and has contributed to the development of the Nigeria economy: There is evidence to believe that the industry is yet to accomplish its expected roles, which had led to its stunted growth, negative perception and low response to its products by the public, Banjo, K. (1997).

Notwithstanding the low response to insurance cover in Nigeria, there is no doubt that the culture of thrive is strong premise upon which development and prosperity can be firmly anchored.

Insurance by its encouragement of self-restraint through obligation sayings, peaceful family welfare, health care provisions for old age and pensions, can contribute immensely to the overall development of a nation and its people. Man is viewed as an engine of productivity and creation of wealth. He is better poised for the achievement of excellence in all fields of human endeavour, upon the inception of an insurance policy, which automatically and justifiable enhances his financial standing Falegan, J. (1991).

Despite all the benefits insurance have harbored in its economic development through its risk bearing to the nation and the welfare of the insured, the industry is still suffering from poor public image and low response of its cover which it renders to the public.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

Marketing of insurance services in Nigeria have suffered poor/low patronage from the public. It is a very dry marketing, especially when compared with the marketing of physical goods like cars, radios, fans and so on.

The low response to insurance cover is as a result of many factors, some of these factors are:

  1. Colonial Era: When insurance services’ were introduced in this country by the colonial masters, they dominated the operations. These colonial masters never wanted the citizens to know what was going on in the industry, because of the huge money they were making from the industry. They later repatriated it to their country and our people were not allowed to know what was going on. It was just like a secret trade which a master would not like to disclose to his servant. Consequently, Nigerians lost interest in patronizing insurance products from its inception Pat U. (2000).

b) Training and development: This is an essential ingredient for enviable growth of any vocation. The British Insurance Industry was established earlier with facilities for formal educational qualification from their higher institutions while chartered insurance institute of London provided the “professional qualification”. In a similar way, British Insurance Companies and LLoyds offered facilities for on- the-job training to enhance the acquisition of technical skills. In Nigeria the situation is quite different, the colonial masters were merely interested in repatriation of profits from the industry; No concerted efforts were made towards training and development of indigenous manpower.

Nigerians were therefore on-lookers in their own empire, a grim position that persisted till after independence. From the above explanation, it could be noticed why the Nigeria insurance market was flooded with Mushroom Insurance Companies and mere agents, who were quick to collect premiums and could not respond to claims whenever it arises. Also those who do not understand the techniques of insurance terms contributed in polluting the mind of the public in buying the insurance services or products from the onset.

c) Culture and Religious belief: The culture and Religious belief of our people is another factor. In some places, they believe that whatever happens it is the way God wants it and to insure and make claim is going against the will of God. So talking insurance services to such people is waste of time, because it is against their belief.

d) Poor Quality services and claim settlement: This probably has been responsible for the image and poor patronage of the industry. The industry has lost its goodwill to the public, due to the fact that consumers are not the king but the insurers. The insurers give the public their already existing services or products, without asking the consumers what they wants or services that suits their present needs. Due to the poor settlement of claims in the industry, the public have deemed the insurers and their agents as a legalized robbers, trickers, fraud-stars and so on, who are quick to collect premium and avoids claims  Epetimehim, F.(1997).