The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has urged insurance brokers practicing in the country to take advantage of insurance industry huge untapped market to grow their business.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari made the call at the 2016 insurance broker conference and exhibition held today in Abuja.

Kari who urged the brokers to spread their business tentacles noted that penetration would be achieved only if operators would extend their business and services to the rural areas.

According to him, “Nigerian market remains huge and largely untapped. We don’t all have to operate in the cities or follow corporate accounts, there is more in selling personal-line or retail business using modern technology. We have gladly notice a shift to personal-line products of recent. And this move is being led by the advent of foreign players in the industry. One would expect that Insurance Brokers will take this opportunity to expand their operations in these areas”.

The commissioner enjoining the brokers to abridge the gap that exist between the the insurer and the insured, he stated,
“And as it has been noted at many fora, there exist information gap between the insurer and the insured. What we have noticed is that while on one hand, the insurance service providers hardly explain enough what they sell (the contract document), on the other hand, the policyholders neither read nor ask questions about the contract document of what they buy.

So the Insurance Broker is well positioned to bridge this gap.
Therefore, the task of the insurance Broker should go beyond the collection of premium, claims’ cheque (where applicable) and forwarding of renewal notices.Conscious effort should be made by the insurance broker to bridge the information and knowledge gap between the provider and the consumer. The future market will certainly belong to that broker who has worked hard enough to secure the trust and loyalty of the consumer today”.

Speaking on the role of brokers in insurance penetration, he pointed that ” the insurance sector will benefit the economy only when high penetration is achieved. I dare say that high penetration cannot be achieved when most providers concentrate their operations in the commercial cities of Nigeria. Many Local Governments (and even some states) are without the presence of any insurance Institution.This provide all the space the so-called quarks need to shine. This obviously does not help the penetration of insurance in the country and does not promote future growth of the industry. The Brokers could even take it a step further.

With good understanding and proper arrangement, Brokers could actually enter into partnership with Insurance companies to represent their interest in up-country locations. The practice of all Brokers chasing the so-called “juicy” Government accounts should be discouraged. It is not helping thegrowth of the industry, while at them same time it has attracted unpalatable publicity”, he admonished.

He further reminded them of the need to adhere strictly on professionalism. “It goes without saying that demonstration of professionalism is a necessity in Insurancebusiness. When it is convenient we argue that our trade is a professional undertaken, but we operate as limited liability companies with shareholders/investors who are not trained in insurance but control our policies and operations. High professional ethics, moral standards and discipline is expected of professionals and that is what we must give to gain that professional respect. We have to take the bull by the horn and exorcise the bad spirit within us”, he said.