Welcome to the global business guide. In this context, we will be taking about the insurance industry, the general definition of insurance, adequate and precise explanation of the definition, brief talk about the history, the insurer, the insured, classes of insurance, the role of the underwriter in the industry and how you as an individual can benefit maximally when you get yourself, your car, your house, even that your business insure. We do hope you will enjoy reading this article and the essence of your quest for the topic above will be met.
Insurance is a financial institution classified as a non bank financial institution. They are important financial inter-mi diaries. It is believed to have originated from the ancient practices of inhabitants of the valleys of rivers Tigris and Euphrates in the present day Iraqi in about 4.000BC. History has it that in 1800BC, the Babylonians code of Hammurabi contained provisions which had elements of insurance in the laws that govern their commerce. But today what we have in the industry, both locally and internationally had moved from just an agreement between two persons into a very big industry across the globe.
Going by definition, we learn that insurance means a situation whereby someone protects his or herself against risk and reduce effects of uncertainties as well as distribute loss. Other explanation to this owe it to the situation whereby a certain amount of money when collected from someone by an insurance company agrees to pay a compensation or render services to that person if and whenever that person suffers the kind of loss specified in the insurance agreement; and from the explanation, this is where an insurance company comes into play since they are the people that will go into agreement with the person taking any insurance policy against any of his belongings. This industry has widely been believed as a means whereby people reduce the risk of unforeseen circumstances. As financial intermediaries, they act as middlemen between the surplus units and deficit units of the economy thereby sustaining the general growth of the economy.
One may ask, how do insurance companies generate the money used in compensating their policy holder when affected by any mishap? The answer to this question, will lead us into talking about the various means via which the insurance companies make their money and how their policy holders are compensated. The truth is that, the money they collect from their policy holder (i.e one that has an agreement with the insurance company) is invested in the form of premiums (an extra sum of money paid in addition to the normal cost of something. by BBC. Eng. dict) and that money is invested in Bonds, in stocks, mortgages (i.e house) and government securities (in our subsequent article, we will explain more of this: Bonds, stocks, mortgages and govt. securities). They generate income for themselves and those who are in their service. They invest their policy holder’s money in better business that has short term maximum returns on investment and from there meet their numerous needs when needed in claims and losses. These funds themselves are invested, that not only do they earn interest to be added to the funds, but they also benefit the government, public authorities, and industries whose securities the investment are spread, because of the investment policy of the insurer (we will explain later), their reserve funds are not left idle butt are used productively.
Another way via which the insurance companies compensate those who are in their service is that the contribution of many is used to compensate the few among them who were affected by the misfortune insured against. So the loss of few people is share by many.
We hope that to this extend, you must have understood the above explanation about insurance company. Now the next thing we will be considering is the functions of the insurance companies.
Amongst other functions, the main function of the insurance company is risk bearing, the financial losses of individuals are judiciously distributed among many people, for example, in the case of fire, the policy holder in fire insurance pays a premium into a common pool, out of which those who suffer loss are compensated.
1. The insurance industry encourages thrift (i.e money conservation) especially via it’s life policies which provide funds for family, welfare and old age provisions. It provides employment opportunity for those that have the interest of working with the industry.
The insurance companies works hand in hand with commerce. It owes it’s existence to commerce (i.e business in general both industrial etc) and commerce in return owes it’s strong stability to insurance, this is because it helped in various ways to enhance the general trend in business.
Before we proceed further to other functions, let’s explain this two terms: the insurer; the insured as it will aid us in our understanding.
The insured: This is the party affecting the insurance in other words, the individual or individuals which is taking the insurance policy. This can be done either directly or indirectly or via an agent or broker.
The insurer: This is the party providing the protection to cover by the policy. The insurer covers every other terms which includes the underwriter who is a senior official of an insurance company whose business lies in undertaking new business for the company.
The insurance company has a contract which promises to pay compensation at a future date for a consideration known as premium (i.e. the money paid by the insured to the insurer for the insurance cover provided in the policy). Like the way we have it in other contracts, i.e having it that contracts is based on the principles of offer and acceptance, consideration and capacity to contract. These contract, especially in insurance involves two parties i.e. the insurer and the insured.
Insurer, by reason of their principal function accumulate large funds which they hold as custodians and out of which claims and losses are met. Like in some countries, their insurers operate in many parts of the world and earn vast sums in overseas market in terms of underwriting profit and investment income. This tells us that insurance forms a considerable part of that country’s invisible exports.
As we continue in our functions, let’s see the role of the insured and the insurer.
ROLES OF THE INSURED:
In insurance, when the proposer becomes insured the party effecting an insurance is known as the proposer throughout the negotiations, and until the contract is in full force. The insurer plays a vital role in making this aforementioned contract to come into force, knowing that in insurance contract, just like we said before is base on the principle of offer and acceptance, consideration and capacity to contract, the contracts are always evidenced in writing which is made up of various forms to be filled and signed. If the insured does not accept the insurance offer and giving meticulous consideration to that, there can hardly be capacity to contract i.e the insurance contract can never be. So, from this, we now learn that this two parties (i.e the insurer and the insured) must be involved before an insurance contract can becomes a policy.
ROLES OF THE INSURER
Here we are considering the roles of the insurer as a subsidiary functions of insurance; this is because in general sense (they have a very wide range of function), the insurer is the one providing the necessary insurance services, benefits to the insured, should any mishap, depending on the insurance policy undertaken. The insurer helps also in loss-prevention in the following ways:
We know that the extend to which loss prevention is seen, is mostly on property. An individual or a population can suffer great loss materially, if it were not for the intervention of loss prevention scheme by insurance companies to their policy holders.
The insurer also assists in boasting business venture: Many large -scale enterprise today can make their business in good faith, having transferred all their risk to the insurance company, in other words. The insurance companies help to maintain and to stabilize the atmosphere of the present day large-scale business and organizations.
Many questions had risen by on onlookers, as on how the policy holder can be compesated, should there be any mishap on the policy covered. It is better for us to note that the insurance company, when a loss is incurred to the policy holder can make for his or her loss, but that can only compensate him and make him return to his normal financial position before the occurrence of the incidence and not to profit him from the misfortune. This is generally because, no amount of financial compensation can pay adequately for the life and health of persons, so life and personal accidents are regarded as benefit policies. So let there be no misconception on this fact when mishap occurs, where the public is looking for the victim to be given everything lost, and having a meager compensation given to him or her. So let’s not distrust insurance companies in this area, knowing that it’s only the restoration to the exact position before the loss that is provided.
Now, as we have gone so far in understanding the functions of the insurance companies, the roles of the insured and the insurer, we will be proceeding forward to look at the various ways via which one can benefit from being insured in all spheres of life. For those who against all odds, accept insurance policy adequately, benefits, awaits them in areas like
1. pecuniary insurance
2. personal insurance
3. property insurance
4. liability insurance
We will take our time to give you enough explanation in all the sub-sections of these areas that will be of help to you.
1. PECUNIARY INSURANCE: This has to do with money or relating to something of such nature. This insurance policy benefits mostly company owners, directors, managers e.t.c This insurance policy provides cover to the employer against the loss of money unintentionally, or in a situation where an employee defrauds his or her employer on certain amount of money placed under his or her custody or in things relating to other occurrence/loss. Other policies under pecuniary insurance are; fidelity guarantee (known also as surety ship), legal expenses, credit insurance and business interruption insurance. All of these have their various function which in one way or the other relates to pecuniary. Like earlier stated, pecuniary insurance provides cover for C.E.O., M.D’S etc in case of loss of money either by intent or accident placed under the care of their employee or any officer of higher responsibility. These type of insurance cover, which their employee has will help to compensate them (i.e the employer’s) and also ease the employee the fear and tension which the mishap might generate for him or her. It is therefore advisable you consider this policy very well as an MD, C.E.O. etc, especially with the assistance of your insurance broker so as to adequately know, and be directed properly on how to go about it.
2. PERSONAL INSURANCE
This involves all classes of life assurance and also accident policies. There are other types of person insurance, and the purpose of each is to meet the different need of individuals in their aim to provide for the future either for themselves or for their dependents. Other sub-divisions of personal insurance are:
i. Life assurance
ii. Personal accident and sickness insurance,
iii. Permanent health insurance,
iv. Social security
These sub-divisions has various similarities which come out at the end to meet the same aim, like in life assurance, personal accident and sickness insurance, this policy ensures that the policy holder when befallen by any misfortune, which resulted into permanent disability or death will still be able to fend for his or herself and also for his or her dependants in the case of death.
3. PROPERTY INSURANCE
Property insurance policy involves insurance cover for property should any risk of damage or loss by fire, accident, burglary or other risks that may occur. Under this, there are other sub-divisions which include:
i. Motor Insurance
ii. Marine Insurance
iii. Fire Insurance
iv. Burglary Insurance
v. Special peril Insurance
vi. All risk Insurance
In all these sub-divisions of property insurance, respective insurance cover is given to them all should there be any damage or loss relating to the type of policy the holder has.
4. LIABILITY INSURANCE
This provides cover for the insured against his legal liability to others. This can arise via negligence of the insured in failing to act in a reasonable manner. Such manners like crossing the road without properly looking on both side of the road which might result in accident. This may also arise via the insured’s unlawful disturbance of another person in the enjoyment of his or property (i.e constituting a nuisance to them) or via the insured’s trespass which is an unlawful act committed with force or violent on another person’s property. Liability insurance is also sub-divided into employer’s liability to his employee and public liability by the insured. The two sub-divisions of liability insurance owe their explanation to their respective liabilities, and since liability generally arises from lawsuits, liability policy covers only claims which the insured becomes legally obligated to.
We should also bear in mind that no insurance policy can prevent theft, fire, or other misfortune or the creation of legal liability, but can provide financial assistance in such situations. It does not also protect for example, the material property which is the subject matter of the insurance, but the financial interest of the insurer. This mean that the insurer can only get a financial compensation when any mishap happens to any thing insured against and not having the property restored back in case of fire or collapse (for building).