Insurance Industry and Public Relation: the Need for Strategy Review

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Sunday S. Akpan
Department of Banking, Finance and Insurance
University of Uyo, Uyo,
Akwa Ibom State

This paper investigates the Nigerian Insurance industry from the perspective of public relations. This investigation becomes imperative now that all efforts are geared toward restructuring virtually every sector of the economy for sustainable growth and development. The insurance industry has suffered poor image problem and subsequently low patronage by the public. In an effort to repositioning the industry for effective and efficient performance the paper proposes from the public relative perspective a number of strategies such as prompt and accurate claims payment, automation of operation, aggressive and creative marketing of insurance products, good customer relationship management (CRM), simplified language of policies, the people issues, better business control and reporting, and the good code of ethics as strategies for repositioning the insurance industry in Nigeria.

The Nigerian economy is made up of many sectors. These include the petroleum sector, the financial sector, agricultural sector, education, power, communication, aviation sectors etc. Insurance industry is one of the sub-sectors in the financial sector of the economy that has played a critical role toward the growth and development of the Nigerian economy as a whole. The Nigerian insurance industry has suffered what experts called image problem. Until very recently, many did not perceive insurance business as a crucial financial service mainly because the purchase of insurance service does not involve the exchange of any physical product (Babington-Ashaye, 2009). Although it is intangible, insurance is a crucial business service that creates and adds value. It lubricates the oil of business by being the risk bearer. Its importance is better appreciated when disaster of whatever magnitude occurs. Indeed, the economic importance of insurance is to reduce the financial implications of disasters thereby creating a sense of security, which encourages people to engage in commercial activities, without fear, irrespective of the degree of uncertainty. In other words, insurance service, from time immemorial, has always propelled business as it provides a safety net for entrepreneurs desirous of taking insurable risks. However, as the economy appears gloomy, and the perception of insurance industry appears frosty one would certainly seek answers to such questions as: (i)Being a strategy for managing risk and uncertainties how does insurance industry operate to guarantee good public relation? (ii)How is public relation in the Nigerian Insurance industry? (iii)How would it be able to create a positive image and win good public relation? With perturbing speculations on the response, this study is therefore carried out to find the much needed answers to the above research questions. Consequently, the study seeks to achieve the following specific objectives: (i)To find how the insurance industry operate to guarantee good public relation. (ii)To examine public relation in the Nigerian Insurance industry. (iii)To highlight the various strategies needed to create good public image, perception and relationship.

Justification of the study
Okoje (2008) admitted that the insurance industry has the capacity to perform more than it is currently doing. If the industry is repositioned, it would achieve the desired optimum level of performance. The profession and players in the industry must come to this realization and collectively evolve strategies for advancing the course of insurance. Carrying out this study is of great significance. First it will reveal the operational guide for use in insurance industry. Second, the study would provide solutions to the bothering issues raised in the above problem statement. Third, this study will offer useful...
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