The Group Managing Director/CEO International Insurance Co (SL) Ltd, Dr. Nduka O. Anyaso has said that the scourge of ebola in Sierra Leone saw an increase in subscription to life insurance. He stated this in an interview with signaturetv.com.ng in Freetown.
“During ebola, many of our policy holders died and we were able to live up to expectation. We made sure we paid their claims. Our ability to fulfill our obligations and policies as contained in the policy contributed in making people embrace this product” he said.
Earlier, the Chartered Insurer had described insurance industry as a virgin market in Sierra Leone, adding that it reflects in the economy of a country.
“As the economy of a country grows, in as much as the country has potentials for growth, insurance will also grow along with the economy. So given the size of the economy, it also reflects the size of insurance industry. So I will describe insurance here as an emerging market. So it has a lot of potentials” Dr. Anyaso said.
He also said that his company has in the past 8 years been very active in the area of life insurance because of its ability to introduce innovative products that are not common in the market which has broadened its customer base and has formed the area of the company’s strength.
He described the products of the company as unique in the sense that it serves as a form of investment for its customers.
He said “Our customers’ premium attracts interest. It is also a kind of compulsory service. Another area of attraction for our customers is that we introduced a kind of soft loan. Once you have your policy and you run the policy for up to two years. It entitles you to a loan without a collateral. Your policy document becomes your collateral, unlike when you go to a bank and they will request for a collateral. So that has served as an advantage to our customers”.
He highlighted the income level of the people as one of the challenges in the market.
“Before you buy insurance you must be able to meet your basic needs. When your income is not enough to meet your basic needs, you wouldn’t have any disposable income to buy insurance. Again, you need to have assets to insure. If not, there is no need to insure. A situation where many people are living below poverty level, it affects insurance.
‘The third challenge is the level of awareness. Even those who can afford have not really come to appreciate the need for insurance” he stated.
The Nigerian born businessman expressed optimism that the future of the market is bright in Sierra Leone, adding that the recent smooth transition in the governance structure in the country will boost the confidence of investors.
He is of the opinion that the country will in coming days witness influx of investors which according to him will boost the economy of the industry.
According to him “As the economy increases, that will boost the income level of people and that will mean that they will have more insurable assets. That will also mean that the companies as they do well will need more of insurable services. So I see a number of opportunities in this market and there are still very much contact area of insurance which we hope to get into.
‘But one other challenge there is human capital. There is a low level of human capital here. Lack of professionals in that discipline is one area something must be done in order for us to achieve the potentials available in this market”.
He also advised Sierra Leonians to protect what they have by making use of insurance despite the difficult times, adding that it is the more reason they need insurance to forestall unforeseeable circumstances. “If things are going well for you either as an individual or a company, you also need insurance because it makes you have rest of mind, knowing that if anything happens insurance will come to your rescue. So instead of thinking of setting aside resources in case the unfortunate happens that you can use to replace your assets, you can now direct that assets to some other investments which will help increase your net worth. So my advice to people of Sierra Leone is that they should make efforts to embrace insurance. It is a win win situation for everybody”.
He also indicated interest to expand his base to Nigerian market in the nearest future.