“A dedicated jointly owned media vehicle should be created by all stakeholders to serve as a news agency on insurance content shared with other media houses.”
This was one of the salient points established at the 2022 Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC) Media Retreat by Mr Rasheed Bolarinwa, Head, Corporate Communication, Polaris Bank and President, Association of Corporate & Marketing Communications Professionals in Banks (ACAMB) where he delivered the theme paper, “Media as a Catalyst For Insurance Inclusion,” at Ijebu-Ode. Emphatic Bolarinwa declared, “There is a need for a deliberate collaborative campaign for national awareness about the importance of insurance.”
On the side of government sustained insurance development salvo, another high calibre resource person at the retreat, Dr. Muda Yusuf, former DG, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he advocated a dedicated 2 – 5% budget allocation for insurance of government assets and, government should be committed to this along with already prescribed insurance mandates on government.
Broadening his suggestion for content development for today’s widespread media Bolarinwa said, “Regulatory bodies in the Nigerian insurance industry are expected to partner the Nigerian media industry towards creating a diverse and inclusive newsroom; that has content development and coverage strategy that builds audience trust in insurance and provides for a better representation of different societies.”
Speaking on combative issues the industry must embark to make content development and coverage strategy work and score more on penetration, he said operators should address trust issue which has sustained doubts unfortunately in a hostile economy; trust issue he intoned emanate from hidden clauses, inadequate access to Information Technology, weak regulatory framework, lack of skilled personnel and poor awareness of insurance services by the prospective assured, among other factors.
He said ”The response that follows the mention of insurance or insurance companies to an average Nigerian is predictable. Negative reactions and lukewarm attitude are the kinds of feeling that come with an invitation to insurance policies. This informed the low patronage and acceptance of insurance companies operating in Nigeria.
“This untoward reaction and attitude by Nigerians may not be unrelated to the poor attitude of the insurers towards the often repeated chorus of refusal to pay claims. Some insurance companies have truly developed a bad reputation for defaulting in the payment of claims. This unfortunately grew to become a negative public emblem that hangs beside their corporate identities. Invariably, the industry and the nation’s depleting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are big losers.”
Despite the downside he uptick the industry for paying huge claims, “Things have changed though as underwriters have paid and are still paying huge claims on losses suffered by millions of insured that we read daily in the media.”
Bolarinwa explained that the hostile economy is affecting insurance industry, “At this moment, insurance companies are not willing to invest the premiums in long-term instruments because of the fear of inflation built up over several years due to fiscal indiscipline and high inflation. Everybody knows in economics that short-term investment can only bring lower returns. With these trends, insurance companies will only be able to run on the spot. Only a viable economy that has a robust business environment can allow insurance companies to thrive.
“Insurance will only take its pride of place as a big contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as it applies in other jurisdictions when all stakeholders in the risk ecosystem are deliberate, consistent and methodical in simplifying what insurance is all about in words and deed. Firstly, there must be a unanimity of purpose to bake insurance and make it BI enough for all to benefits from the expected windfall.”
Bolarinwa advised operators to present insurance as a lifestyle that enhances life and living. This he added should lead to creative and interesting story-telling narratives delivered with moving and crisp visuals delivered across digital and traditional platforms with strong orchestration and amplifications. There is bound to be a ‘Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA)’ as the end product, which is all that is needed for the immense opportunities in the sector to be unleashed.”