In darkness, whatever you do stays within it; its just a wink in the dark. Media is the light that illuminates darkness, breathe life into a dead, gives hope to the hopeless and ensures you are aware of happening within your environment.
Recognising this critical role in governance, that is why the media is regarded as the fourth estate of the realm, only behind executive, legislative and judiciary.
Hence, the vehicle that convey information to the people is the media.
Insurance penetration in Nigeria is an eyesore and this is hinged on low insurance awareness and education. Invariably, it means, the media will need to increase advocacy and education of the public to improve the level of insurance acceptance.
Realising this critical role of the media, insurance industry, under the auspices of the Insurance Industry Consultative Council(IICC), held a conference themed: ‘Media As Catalyst For Insurance Inclusion’ in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State recently to further reinforced the importance of media to the growth and development of insurance sector.
The IICC was inaugurated in 2013 to act as the unifying voice of the insurance industry, representing it on national issues affecting the insurance industry, taking up and assuming other roles that would serve the best interest of the industry in Nigeria and providing lasting solutions to challenging issues within the insurance sector.
To this end, the chairman of IICC, Mr Edwin Igbiti charged the media to support the industry’s growth agenda in order to deepen insurance penetration in the country.
Igbiti, who is also the president and chairman in Council of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) described the media as critical to the industry’s growth agenda, even as he called on journalists to promote and project the industry’s activities in their reports for the growth of the industry and national economy.
Stating that the crucial position the media plays in the economy and society at large cannot be over emphasized, he added that, the media poses as a veritable authority for agenda setting, public education, sensitisation and awareness creation.
“It is in the light of the above, that the theme for this retreat “Media as Catalyst for Insurance Inclusion,” comes to limelight. The media is a powerful catalyst for social change and equally an effective tool for insurance inclusion that the industry desires. Hence, the need to continually carry the media along with the various initiatives and developments in the industry for good coverage and projection.
“As the industry witness expansion, we equally need you the media to keep promoting these achievements for the good of the common goal of the industry. We are partners and we urge you all to use your reputable platforms to consistently announce the gospel of insurance and its benefits to the public so that we can attain the desired penetration rate in Nigeria,” he pointed out.
On the performance of the industry, he said, although there has been an improvement in terms of numbers, but judging from the nation’s population and demographic, insurance penetration in Nigeria is still very low which, he said, is caused by the high level of poverty in the country.
Assessing Insurance Sector Performance
The Center For Promotion Of Private Enterprise(CPPE) applauded the insurance industry for recording some growth in the Q3 of 2022.
The National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) had indicated that the insurance sector grew by 28.26 per cent in the third quarter of 2022.
In his review of the country’s gross domestic product(GDP) report, the chief executive officer(CEO) of CPPE, Dr. Muda Yusuf, noted that, it is noteworthy that the insurance alongside others out performed other sectors in growth outcomes, compared to second quarter figures.
“Other impressive sectoral rebounds are insurance sector from 7 per cent growth in Q2 to 19 per cent in Q3, Quarry from 22.2 per cent in Q2 to 39.6 per cent in Q3; motion pictures and music from a contraction of 6 per cent in Q2 to a positive growth of 22.4 per cent in Q3.
“As a whole, the sector grew at 21.37 per cent in nominal terms (year-on-year), with the growth rate of financial institutions at 20.65 per cent and a 28.26 per cent growth rate recorded for insurance,” Yusuf said.
Media As Catalyst For Insurance Inclusion
Delivering the theme paper, ‘Media As Catalyst For Insurance Inclusion,’ the head, Corporate Communication, Polaris Bank Limited, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa said, “There is a need for a deliberate collaborative campaign for national awareness about the importance of insurance.
“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.”
Bolarinwa, who is also the president, Association of Corporate & Marketing Communications Professionals in Banks (ACAMB), noted that, 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 issues militating insurance penetration in Nigeria, Bolarinwa mentioned doubts about insurance companies, hostile economy, trust issues emanating 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 others.
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.”
While applauding the industry for paying huge claims on losses suffered by millions insured, Bolarinwa noted that “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.”
Expressing the need to demystify insurance to take it pride of place in the nation’s economy, he stressed that, “insurance will only take its pride of place as big a 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 big enough for all to benefits from the expected windfall.”
Noting that insurance should be presented as a lifestyle add, adding a significant value, enhancing life and living, Bolarinwa added that, “ creative and interesting story-telling narratives delivered with moving and crisp visuals delivered across digital and traditional platforms with strong orchestration and amplifications are essential to deepening insurance acceptance.
“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 insurance sector to be unleashed.”