Expert gives recipe for insurance industry growth

Posted by Amechi Obiakpu, Lagos | 26 January 2016 | 3,409 times

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Insurance penetration in Nigeria will receive a great boost if trust exists between the insured and the insurers, says Delphine Maidou, a risk management expert and Chief Executive officer of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Africa, a South African financial services organisation.

Maidou, who was recently on a working visit to Lagos, said the only thing that insurance companies sell is trust and once that is broken, the relationship between the insured and the insurer falls apart which, in turn, affects the industry.

She told News Express that trust is the only way to rekindle that relationship.

“There is a fundamental lack of trust in the insurance sector which has, among other reasons, affected the level of penetration of insurance practice in different countries,” she said.

She noted that Nigeria has less than 2% growth rate of insurance penetration compared to South Africa with about 14 percent.

Maidou said: “It is important for us to contribute to the insurance penetration in our own small way. The market is growing, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and as long as the economy continues to grow, the insurance industry will continue to grow.

“And for the insurance sector to grow, trust needs to be evident. People need to know that the insurance companies will deliver on their promises and the only way to go is to actually deliver.”

Continuing she said: “Speaking about it, talking to people about it are all nice, but once we say we will cover you for certain risk, and the lost happens they need to be there. The relationship should not always be about paying premium and loss, but we need to know our clients. The most difficult time of any company is when loss happens and if you now fight with the insurance company while you also manage the other aspects of your loss, that becomes a problem, because as insurer we need to become partners with our clients and pay claims when it happens.”

The risk expert averred that it is important for small business owners to know that setback in business tends to affect the business in many ways; the staff has to be paid, rent has to be paid among other overhead expenses, even when the company is not generating revenue. This, according to her, is where insurance comes to play.

The Sierra Leonean-born Maidou said her organisation does not have an office in Nigeria, but has partners in the country. She observed that though insurance penetration in the country is still low, insurance industry regulators in Nigeria are eager to see it grow.

“What I like about Nigeria market is that the players are eager to see changes and that is the set of people we are interested in working with,” she stated.

•Photo shows Delphine Maidou.

Source: News Express

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