The Executive Director, Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Ms. Adetola Adegbayi, has urged insured Nigerians to always demand for claims from their insurers whenever an insured risk occurs.
Adegbayi, who stated this during a media training organised by Leadway Assurance for insurance correspondents, in Lagos State, noted that most Nigerians who purchased insurance policies are ignorant on when and how to make claims, adding that, instead of going to their insurers to make claims, they decide to bear the financial burden themselves.
Realising that some people don’t demand for claims, she said, some overambitious operators cashed on this loopholes, to rate-cut policies to unreasonable price, with the assumption that the insured will not demand for compensation.
Because of the low rate they demand on their policies, she said, they, in most cases, outbid their competitors for businesses because their rates are lower and consumers always want to go for policies with lower rates.
In the event of claims, she said, these overzealous underwriters do default, since the premium charged is not the actual value of the products.
To this end, Adegbayi stressed that rate-cutting can be fought by Nigerians, if they begin to request for claims on their insurance policies, stating that when this happens, underwriters would sit up and charge the normal rates that can sustain them when claims arise.
Explaining that an insurance company would be heavily sanctioned if it defaulted in claims obligations, she charged Nigerians to report defaulting underwriting firms to law enforcement agents, promising necessary steps would be taken to pay claims to the aggrieved insured.
According to her, policy prizing is becoming lower and the lower your policy, the riskier your business becomes, adding that, ‘but for the mass market products, as the volume increases, the price reduces.’
Explaining the benefits of one of the microinsurance products of her firm, she said, Hospital Cash Insurance Planis a cover that is activated in the event of hospitalisation of the insured person due to illness for a consecutive period of more than 2 days, a daily benefits is payable up to a maximum of 20 days during the policy period.
In the event of of hospitalisation arising out of accidental injury for consecutive period of more than 2 days, she said, a daily benefits is payable up to a maximum of 15 days during the policy period.
In this instance, she said, those under the basic plan and are hospitalised due to illness, will be getting N4,000 claims per day throughout the duration of their stay in the hospital provided its not more than 20 days. Those under the Classic plan would be entitled to N7,500 per day while those under the Plus plan would be entitled to N10,500 per day.
She disclosed that the company also has Personal Accident Plan, which cover medical expenses arising from accident and Home Flexa-Silver Insurance Plan, saying, these were mass market policies aimed at deepening insurance penetration across the country, promising that company would not relent on its oars until most Nigerians are insured.
Earlier, the Head, Retail Business, Leadway Assurance, Mr. Tunji Amokade, had said the future of insurance industry lies in the retail market, noting that, the commercial market is saturated.
Amokade, while speaking on ‘Micro Insurance Business in Nigeria’ at the training, added that despite the huge population the country is blessed with, low insurance penetration is still a major issue.
“The problem of penetration is because we are cash-based economy unlike other countries that are credit-based,” he said. The success story of insurance in South Africa, Kenya, Morroco, and so on, he said, was as a result of their credit-based economy, stating that until Nigeria borrow a leaf from these countries, low penetration will continue.
While calling for institutional structure that allows credit to thrive, through this, he said, insurance can be incorporated into some credit-based services, thereby, increasing insurance adoption and contribution to the nation’s economy.
Charging insurance companies to offer good value for money for their clients, he urged underwriters to increase their visibility through effective use of technology as well as building more offices where there are none.
The industry has been targeting the upper class, but the market now resides in the middle and the lower classes, he pointed out.