38 Volume 7, Special Issue, October 2017 Juridical Tribune
mind to economic operators. Thus, without financial services, the consumer will
not be able to manage other areas of his life in order to maintain a decent living.
Insurance is considered to be one of the pivotal players in the financial
industry. It stands out as first among equals in this sector because of the edge it has
over and above other members of that class. Like banking and financial
institutions, insurance provides means for investment and financing of projects but
unlike them, insurance is the only means of risk spreading and compensation
Human life is full of many uncertain risks and to avoid the undesirable
outcome of such risks, it is necessary to turn towards insurance. No society can
actually prosper without the mechanisms of risk bearing to which we are exposed
on a daily basis.
Insurance is meant not only to cushion the consumers from the
effect of the harsh realities of life, but also to enhance their quality of life. One
thing, which is very certain, is that calamities such as deaths, fire outbreaks,
burglaries, accidents, sickness etc. must occur but the only uncertainty is when.
Insurance is meant to tamper the effect of these calamities when they occur. Thus,
the loss of the bread winner of the family need not signal the end of the children’s
education or that the family will live in penury.
However, there is strong insurance apathy in Cameroon. It would seem that
most Cameroonians have a very poor opinion of insurance as a means of protecting
their interest in the event of loss. Cameroonians have tales of disappointments at
the hands of insurance companies or insurers.
They actually believe insurance
companies are simply out to make money rather than pay claims. It is thought that
insurance companies are prompt to collect premiums but slow to settle claims made
against them by the insured and beneficiaries who are less well informed of the
mechanism of insurance.
As such claims avoidance is the major reason for
consumer apathy towards taking advantage of insurance services for his protection.
Insurance companies need to embark on prompt settlement of claims. This will
create awareness, confidence and more people will go for insurance. Most people
refrain from insurance because of the poor attitude of some insurance companies
and their intermediaries.
The aim of this paper is to examine claims settlement vis-a vis consumer
protection in Cameroon, with the view of making the consumer more aware of his
rights and the insurance companies more alert to their duties.
Insurance touches nearly every domain of economic and social activities: maritime, air, persons,
personal property, enterprises or collectivities and risk such as fire, natural catastrophies’,
automobile risk, medical and child education.
J. M. Fotso, “Les Defis de l’Assurance au Cameroun”, Collection Harmattan, 2011, p 10.
Insurance companies have been known to take up the responsibility of children’s education and
family upkeep where parents took up insurance policies before death.
Insurance is an operation which in general pu ts into relation the insurer who is considered as a
powerful party and the insured who is the weak party in the contract. The insured most often suffers
from multiple abuses.
M.S Ntumnde, Insurance Law in Cameroon, Presses Universitaires d’Afrique, Yaoundé Cameroon,
2012, p. 15.
Some insurance companies actually settle claims but there are some bad eggs in th e industry which
has led to such consumer apathy.