“We want to make insurance a life style.” That is the beacon that is leading the operations of Heirs Insurance. As this matters to Heirs so it does to several insurance companies that have stepped on same platform earlier that want to spear head insurance diagonal pass from the lower rungs of the financial services establishment ladder to the top place in the financial services sector.
The acting managing director at Heirs Insurance, Dr. Adaobi Nwakuche, said the company is so fixed in the drive to make insurance a life style through the retail market that the thought of making captive market their insurance conurbation because of same equity stream with UBA Plc is easily deflated. She said they have no plan to race into the insurance market leaving retail market behind.
“Our focus is not the captive market (that the UBA group offers); our focus is to deepen the insurance penetration in Nigeria.” Nwakuche said, stating the group is focused on carving image in the area of services and products on offer.
To make the mark it has set for itself, she said the insurance group has come up with simple worded and cheap products that will satisfy every class in the society including the farmer in the hinterland and this is being done because “we want to make insurance a life style.”
Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc also made a detour from the traditional route of insurance industry in March 2014 after it received approval from National Insurance Commission and put on offer 36 retail products in line with what it has fashioned as its additional line of business that was neglected by the insurance market. As at the day of launch, the company operated through 60 centres and said that it would be increased to 200 by 2016. Seven years before the D-day launch of 36 retail products in March 2014, Mutual Benefits had been offering for the purpose of win win, micro insurance, a green space in the Nigerian insurance industry.
The gain and popularity made in micro insurance triggered retail products unveiling. Mr. Akin Ogunbiyi, who was the group managing director at that time said, “When we introduced it (the 36 retail products) to NAICOM, they said it can never be done in two years. But they gave us waivers and cooperatedwith us and got approval in good time.”
Seven years after, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas visited one of the branches Mutual Benefits committed to retail products at no other place than the heartland where inclusive insurance is beginning to thrive, Mushin, where Mutual Benefits office is located at Challenge Bus Stop. Impressed Thomas said, “I’m very excited with what I’m seeing here. This is because retail business is what will sustain insurance business. It is amazing seeing what you have here.”
For Heirs Insurance the new entrant to the business of retail products that includes micro insurance, Nwakuche said the company has to do a lot of talking to win people over, “we have to do a lot of knowledge sharing about the benefits of products for policyholders. With their hands on the plough and forward looking, Nwakuche said steadily matching forward would entail doing a lot by deploying technology and insurance agents so that the focus to use retail insurance to reach the unreached would be achieved, stating that anything that has value should be insured.