The unveiling of Universal Insurance Group Personal Accident Insurance policy by the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) over the weekend has given insurance penetration a boost.
The Group Personal Accident Policy was designed to provide some level of benefits to the practitioners for death, permanent disability and medical expenses as a result of accident. The group has about 150, 000 members spread across the country in its register and as such looks like the largest professional interest group in Africa.
The event which attracted Who’s Who in the Nollywood industry saw the actors jubilating on the unveiling of the special package in Lagos. According to some of them who spoke with journalists, the development was a dream come true for actors who always are always exposed to varying degree of occupational hazards without any form of compensation.
The actors added that unveiling of the insurance cover for them symbolized unity of purpose and provided sense of belonging and direction from the current team of excos to the members of once-troubled organization.
“The right of a Nigerian is not to kill him or herself. The right Nigerians do not have is to commit suicide and for that, we do not want it to happen to our members,” Emeka Rollas Ejezie, the President of the group said.
Ejezie vowed to uphold the tenet of the AGN in ensuring that members are safe and in an event of the unforeseen, such a member has something to fall back on in terms of compensation by insurance service providers.
On whether he was satisfied with a one million naira death or permanent disability benefit per member, he said: “You know when you are starting something there are two risks that you are running, the company is running its risk and we are running a risk too. They are not dashing us money and we are not dashing anybody money. By the time we experiment it for one year and see what it looks like we are going to top it up.
He said he was delighted and overwhelmed that this has to happen in his time. Also asked in affirmative what he would do if his members fail to comply with the new rule, he assured that after one month of grace those who refused to have insurance for their protection on stage would be barred from appearance.
Explaining the policy contents, Ben Ujoatuonu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Insurance who packaged the policy stated that the policy has three features which include the hospitalization, permanent disability, and death benefits if the unfortunate occurs to any member of the group.
‘’I am delighted in the sense that we have been able to achieve this by working together with the new leadership of AGN to ensure that we get something that will add value to them and give them a reason to belong to their association, so it is encouraging. I am also happy that Universal Insurance was able to work this out for the group, he said.
On his strategies in ensuring quality service deliveries for 150,000 members of the group, the Universal Insurance boss said: “The cover is an IT-based and with IT you can reach out to any number of people you may want, so that is not a problem because apart from the portal they can also have every member download the apps on their phones. From their phone they can get their details and make their payment, that’s how it works.
He counseled the entertainment gurus to support this noble venture by keying into the scheme so as to get the benefits from it and also to curtail the embarrassing situation where actors are begging for financial support in event of accident or sickness.
Speaking on the scheme, Don Pedro Obaseki, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the AGN expressed his delight for the scheme saying that ‘‘for the first time in the history of AGN the Actors now have insurance protection, noting that it is a wonderful experience and something the group have been looking forward to.
‘‘It’s commendable and forward-looking and this is going to further leapfrog the industry and Actors Guild into another level in the sense that if you have the history of our members, you find out that Nollywood members always have health-related issues. So, this will go a long way to trying to checkmate that and also create other health awareness amongst our members”, Obaseki said.
He advised the Universal Insurance to uphold the partnership they have with the AGN, according to him, partnering with Actors Guild of Nigeria is going to enhance their brand visibility because AGN is the biggest umbrella body for all actors in Africa. He pointed out that identifying with the Guild also means brand enhancement.