The contribution of insurance to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is less than one per cent, a business lawyer, Mr Dominic Ochaba, said on Thursday in Lagos.
Ichaba, who spoke at the First Annual Seminar of the Nigerian Bar Association Session on Business Law (NBA-SBL) on Insurance and Pension Committee, called for adequate insurance penetration in the country.
The theme of the session is “Insurance Penetration, the role of Law and Regulation’’.
“The Nigerian insurance industry is far from achieving its potential as there are many areas of legal work which are not yet open to Nigerian lawyers.
“For instance, while the rate of insurance penetration and contribution to the GDP is 12 per cent in South Africa, it is less than one per cent in Nigeria.
“This simply means that there is still plenty of room for the growth of insurance in Nigeria,’’ Ichaba, who is also the Chairman of the Insurance and Pension Committee of NBA-SBL said.
The lawyer noted that Nigerian lawyers had not done much in the insurance industry, adding that it could be improved on so as to help impact consumers of insurance.
According to Ichaba, insurance affords people and businesses the confidence to set up structures for producing goods and services that grow the economy, with the knowledge that adverse incidents could be made good through insurance covers.
He urged insurance regulators and stakeholders to ensure that they championed the drive and contribute to insurance penetration by bringing their knowledge and expertise on insurance to the table.
“Uncertainties are the undesirable part of our world as they expose us, our loved ones and businesses to risks.
“Insurance penetration is low in Nigeria because most people fail to take insurance to cover these risks.
“The Insurance regulators and operators should champion the drive for insurance penetration in Nigeria; lawyers should also be interested in contributing to the insurance industry for the overwhelming benefit of the populace,’’ he said.
Ichaba noted that insurance was paramount in every discipline as it enabled businesses to rebound quickly after suffering a loss.
Also, the Executive Director of Leadway Assurance Company Ltd., Mrs Adetola Adegbayi, urged lawyers to be committed to the insurance sector and help to redress wrongs where the need arises.
She said that a resort could be made to ambulance chasing (practice of lawyers’ chasing briefs or law suits) in a bid to enhance the insurance industry.
She said: “Personally, I find nothing wrong with ambulance chasing or pursuing briefs; in fact, I will encourage it in insurance businesses today.
“We need lawyers in the county who in the event of an accident, will follow up insurance companies to ensure that they duly indemnify the victims as soon as possible.
“The more these insurance companies are made to live up to expectations, the more vibrant the insurance industry will become.
She said that it also the duty of lawyers to ensure that they wind up companies that had no use existing as insurance cover and urged the public to take insurance to cover their risks.