I’ve by no means been a fan of insurance coverage firms as I consider they don’t seem to be truthful and don’t maintain to the settlement. Besides in events the place I don’t have a selection, like a automobile insurance coverage, I see the shallow providers of insurance coverage firms in Nigeria as a waste of time.
Generally in 2014, one of many entrepreneurs of Industrial and Basic Insurance coverage (IGI) tried to promote a product to me. Pleasure stored on urgent and urgent, making an attempt to persuade me to vary my mindset about insurance coverage firms. She went so far as mentioning the names of a few of my colleagues within the workplace who’ve signed up for one plan or the opposite. She notably inspired me to do the five-year life insurance coverage plan, that it’s going to assist me get a tax rebate, assist me avoid wasting cash for the long run, and all of the candy stuff. On the finish of the day, I signed up for a five-year life insurance coverage plan in 2015. Pleasure at all times be in contact, did her advertising job effectively, and ensured I paid on or earlier than the final day of the month. In truth, generally, I even paid two months upfront.
Quick ahead to June 2020, I efficiently accomplished my five-year life insurance coverage plan, and I used to be trying ahead to amassing my bulk sum which I had made plans for. I used to be counting down, picked up a pen and paper, and wrote down what I wished to attain with the cash. As a matter of truth, I had made strikes by making inquiries, amassing contacts with the promise that by July or August I might swing into motion. Little did I do know that the tip of my five-year meticulous financial savings was only the start of disappointment, breach of contract, heartbreak, and lack of belief.
As of June 2020, Pleasure had already left IGI for one more insurance coverage firm and launched me to the brand new marketer that might be in command of my account. I known as her and knowledgeable her concerning the maturity of my plan, and the way the brand new man was not responsive or simply accessible. She then informed me how you can go about getting my cash, like “go to their workplace at Agoro Odiyan Avenue, off Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, submit some doc, you can be requested to come back again when your complete sum is confirmed and you can be given a letter and kind to fill”.
I went by way of all these processes between July and September 2020, however up till the date of this publication, I’ve not been paid. I visited that V.I workplace many occasions, however they at all times give me excuses starting from coronavirus to courtroom circumstances and all that.
One of many days I went to their workplace, exactly in June 2021, I met the shock of my life. It was a wet day, and I obtained there earlier than 9am however met about 5 ladies sitting on the reception. What actually shocked me was what these ladies did and stated on that day. When any IGI employees go by way of the reception, these ladies will scream on prime of their voices ‘IGI ole (thief), ole, woooooooooo’. They have been booing the employees, and expressing their remorse of insuring their cash with them.
Identical to me, they’ve been given a number of excuses through the years, however probably the most disappointing half is that a few of these ladies have been owed a paltry N200,000. I used to be bewildered, IGI can’t pay again odd N200,000 of three years financial savings? We demanded to see prime administration as a result of we couldn’t proceed listening to the identical previous story from the same old guys that got here to us. They denied us, and the ladies vowed to not depart that workplace till prime administration got here to handle us.
I attempted to listen to from the ladies what has been their expertise. Considered one of them stated “For 2 years I’ve been coming right here, all I hear is story and story, I’m no extra fascinated by their excuses. I need my cash, and I need it now.”
One other claimant stated “Final yr, my brother was sick and was to go for appendicitis surgical procedure, I got here right here for them to offer me my cash however they insisted I can’t break midway, I needed to borrow cash and spent over N2 million for the surgical procedure. Now that I can entry my cash, they’re refusing to pay me since December 2020, giving me excuses”
One other girl, nearly shedding tears, stated “I went by way of loads to save lots of this cash with IGI. I used to be hawking pure water on the streets and saving N5,000 month-to-month. It was not straightforward in any respect, however I needed to as a result of I used to be saving for my kids and any future challenges”.
Whereas we have been deserted there ready endlessly, a senior navy officer walked in together with his orderly and demanded to see their boss, in lower than quarter-hour, two individuals got here downstairs, known as the officer inside, and spoke with him, then he angrily left. After that, they known as the ladies, pleaded with them, gave them a date for cost and so they reluctantly left one after the opposite. I already knew what I used to be stepping into to listen to, however I wished to listen to it anyway because it was from a superior, a revered fellow who may inform me the reality, give me a cost date, and maintain to it. I met Steve Ilo who stated he’s their head of public relations, I launched myself as a journalist, he informed me he was as soon as an editor, and we had a considerably promising dialog as regards what I got here for. We exchanged numbers and I left. Of all of the occasions I’ve known as him, he has solely managed to select my calls twice.
I reported the difficulty to the Lagos State Client Safety Company (LASCOPA). Earlier than me, they’ve already had information of circumstances, all from shoppers of IGI, identical story, identical expertise. LASCOPA summoned IGI and the date for the assembly was scheduled. IGI despatched their lawyer who admitted that the corporate is owing, however goes by way of some challenges, however promised the corporate pays. We went by way of this course of for greater than a yr, however nothing has modified. My hard-earned financial savings remains to be trapped within the coffers of IGI even after many conferences with IGI and LASCOPA. From what I realized, because the demise of the founder and CEO Remi Olowude in 2014, the corporate has nose-dived and actually crashed because of mismanagement. Sadly, regulatory companies each of the federal authorities have watched helplessly how harmless and unsuspecting Nigerians undergo as their hard-earned cash continues to stay trapped in IGI’s custody.
IGI has misplaced its glory. That after massive and revered insurance coverage firm has gone with the winds. Poor administration and corruption have wreaked havoc on the integrity of the as soon as vibrant model. They’re now a shadow of themselves.
IGI has continued to offer countless excuses like making an attempt to unload a few of their property and all, however the bitter actuality is that shoppers will not be getting their cash after a few years of maturity. They maintain making guarantees upon guarantees, giving new dates, all to no avail. But, their entrepreneurs nonetheless exit to lure unsuspecting new shoppers. Who will save these harmless widows, moms, fathers, young and old shoppers who’ve put their life financial savings into IGI with the hope of utilizing the cash for a significant undertaking however at the moment are left to undergo? Some might have even misplaced their lives within the technique of making an attempt to redeem their cash, and their subsequent of kin might not be capable to get well their fortune anymore.
Asset Administration Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and different regulatory our bodies in Nigeria at the moment are conscious of the atrocities being freely dedicated by IGI. Instant motion have to be taken to make sure everyone seems to be paid their cash.
I shouldn’t be bothered with regardless of the firm goes by way of. I didn’t give them excuses whereas remitting cash for 5 years. I need my cash, I saved my cash within the care of IGI, I don’t need to undergo torture earlier than getting again the cash.
IGI pay me my cash now.
Ojoko is a Nigerian journalist and could be reached through [email protected]