Life not assured

I was on the awkward end this week of having to buy life insurance.

I shopped around, found a policy that I thought was adequate and decided on it. In the typical Nigerian fashion, I skimmed through the bulky policy, barely reading the fine print, signed the papers and skipped back home before I could get stuck in traffic.
Once home, I settled in and decided to re-read the policy, in case I had just signed my life over to a group of blood harvesting vampires.

On the very last page of the policy document was a list of five exclusions, conditions of death not covered by the life assurance policy.
The policy shall not cover death that may arise from the followings:-
1) Engaging in aviation other than as a fare paying passenger on a regular recognised air route.
2) Directly or indirectly from war (whether war be declared or not) or war-like operation including mutiny, civil war, riot or insurrection
3) from the execution of a judicial sentence of death
4) from suicide
5) death caused deliberately and intentionally by a beneficiary who has acquired interest in the policy.

I am not too concerned about numbers 1, 3 and 4. Also, for 5, if someone kills me to get at the money, I’d be dead anyway, so I’m fairly comfortable with letting them get away with the money. As long as they are adequately prosecuted (see No. 3 above).

The one that really bugs me is number 2. Nigeria has never been known for its stability, so there are a myriad of ways to get killed that would count as “war-like operation” especially when you add that clause (whether war be declared or not)

Take for example, the Boko Haram bomb blast in Abuja last week; is my family covered in case I was blown up there? No, sir. That was an insurrection.
What about the post-election violence in the North? What if I was sitting at home and my home was broken into and I was killed by vagrants? Once again, not covered. It would be classified as a riot.

Basically as Nigeria devolves into lawlessness and disorder, these insurance companies will laugh all the way to the bank as more and more of people die of things that aren’t covered.
Then because life has become so uncertain, even more people will buy insurance without reading the fine print that tells them that most forms of death aren’t covered and the insurance companies will get fatter.

The lesson here? Wherever possible, buy a Nigerian friendly life assurance policy. One that covers you from the ineptitude of the government and the non-existent security.

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