By Onome Amuge & Zainab Iwayemi
A total of 73,000 people in the workforce of Lagos State are fully under insurance coverage as Government House, Alausa, Ikeja says it has paid N2 billion to cover both life and non-life insurance premiums for the workers.
The premiums paid by the state are up-to-date as they cover the current year 2021, disclosed Rabiu Olowo, the state’s commissioner for finance, at the Lagos State Civil Service Insurance Week, which kicked off on Monday, August 23.
Olowo highlighted the importance of insurance and the role the government plays to protect the entire workforce of 73,000 workers in the state, encouraging the masses on the need to insure their lives, properties and valuables.
Noting that the Lagos State government has continued to insure its staff with regular payment of premiums, while insurers on their part, continue to deliver payment of the death benefits to deceased beneficiaries, the commissioner said insurance is not optional as it is one of the means through which the state government manages risk in the state.
According to Olowo, the insurance plan by the Babajie Sanwo-Olu led administration is in line with commitments to ensuring adequate care for its workforce while serving and after retirement.
He therefore added that insurance is compulsory in Lagos state for life and non-life insurance assets to protect against future events drawing from the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest experienced in Lagos, hence, the reason for further sensitisation and education on insurance and also the maiden edition of the Lagos State Civil Service Insurance Week.
“Insurance is not an issue of optionality or so. We have life and non-life insurance and that is very compulsory. Presently, we have over 73,000 employees on our database from the ministries and all these employees are covered under life insurance,” Olowo said.
The commissioner also explained that the insurance department in the ministry of finance provides professional risk advisory to the state and also coordinates the various insurance policies and packages of the state.
“The task of ensuring that vehicles, buildings, electronics, computers, firefighting equipment, other assets, as well as the welfare package of the entire workforce, is the responsibility of the insurance department,” he stressed.
Olowo bemoaned that many workers in the state are not fully aware of the existence of a professional insurance department domiciled in the ministry of finance and, as such, have not been maximizing the crucial role being performed by the department.
To this end, he assured that the state government would take advantage of this year’s insurance week ceremony to explore the various advantages and benefits of insurance to the entire workforce. He also noted that the state government has identified the need for more sensitisation and education on insurance, and how civil servants and the entire populace can key into the abundant opportunities in insurance.
Olowo added that the four-day insurance week, which would span between 23rd August to 26th August will serve as an avenue to educate participants on the ways civil servants and the entire populace can utilise the abundant opportunities in insurance.
He said, “We have seen government property assets destroyed and in some cases injuries to our staff and associates. We have enjoyed the real essence and value proposition of insurance, and the best we can do is to further our commitment to ensuring that our insurance activities are strengthened. That is why we are doing this sensitisation and advocacy and we can see that it pays to pay insurance premiums and we will continue to do so into the future.”
Adding that there is a need to institute the culture of insurance consciousness among government officials and the citizenry as a whole, the commissioner maintained that having appropriate insurance cover could not be overemphasised, being the acceptable practice across the globe whilst he noted that the current administration is setting pace in the area of insurance to encourage residence embrace the initiative.
“In other words, the cases of calling on the government at all times for compensation over some natural disasters or unfortunate incidences can become a thing of the past if we have necessary insurance cover for ourselves, businesses and property.
“By this, the resources at the disposal of the government can be channelled towards other developmental projects, instead of paying compensations that ordinarily could have been undertaken by insurance companies,” he said.