Sanwo-Olu: Poor Health Insurance Bane of Low Life Expectancy

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu

By Ebere Nwoji

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has attributed Nigeria’s low life expectancy to poor health insurance scheme. 

Sanwo-Olu, also expressed his administration’s readiness to partner with the insurance industry to enhance the well-being of people through protection of their lives and material assets against unforeseen loses.

The governor stated these at the unveiling of Plum Insurance Brokers’ House in Lagos.

According to him, “as a people, we know that our life expectancy is 52 years. Libya, after series of war, still has life expectancy of 78 years, so what is wrong? To me, it is lack of insurance; we do not have health insurance. And that goes for everything,” he asserted.

He noted that when people lose their house, or in case of any other disaster, they have to start all over again, adding that, “we are one disaster away from homelessness and poverty.” 

“It seems to me that the industry should put heads together and see the way we can get all those people into insurance circle. We must institutionalise the culture of insurance,” he advised.

He insisted that the only way to improve citizens’ life expectancy, tackle the alarming rate of poverty and ameliorate the effect of disasters in the society was to embrace insurance as a risk management mechanism.

He stated that the state needed the support of the insurance industry and particularly, insurance brokers in the conception of sustainable health insurance scheme, not only for the elite, but all citizens of the state.

Represented by the Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the Governor added: “Our insurance operators need to find a way to get people better informed, not just the rich and the educated people.”

Noting the unfortunate fire incident in Lagos, the governor, said, “you will be surprised that 80 to 90 per cent do not have insurance. We cannot build a system; neither can we build a state that is sustainable without insurance and effective risk mitigation devices.”

Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mrs. Bola Onigbogi, reminded the Lagos State Government of the existing and potential insurance clients and the place of registered insurance brokers in the sector.

She used the opportunity to commiserate with those who lost their properties in the fire that gutted some houses at Martins Street in Lagos, recently and the market fire that occurred in Kaduna recently.

She said, “it is quite sad to see what individuals laboured for going in flames. This catastrophic event provides an avenue to call on all and sundry to imbibe insurance for protection of their valued properties. 

“As the common saying in our Council goes ‘Whatever is worth having is worth insuring!”

“The government also has a responsibility to always encourage and enforce compulsory insurance, especially as it relates to valuable assets so as to mitigate losses when they occur. 

She explained that there was no amount of palliatives given by government and well-meaning individuals after a loss that could provide succor to loss like insurance would have done.

She enumerated the values and importance of engaging an insurance broker, adding that insurance brokers assist their clients to pursue their claims when a loss occurs.

She further stressed that wise people engage the services of brokers in their insurances to avoid stories that touch.