‘Nigeria’s insurance industry has capacity to underwrite risks, pay claims’
THE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said that the nation’s insurance industry, through the number of regulatory measures taken, is stable and has capability to underwrite risks and pay claims. Besides, the industry has the potentials to lead in the African insurance market.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel, declaring open a two-day seminar for Insurance Correspondents in Edo State capital, Benin, said from all accounts “No premium, no cover” which was enforced in 2013 has been very successful and gratified that the whole West Coast of Africa is overwhelmed with the success of the policy rule and implementation.
According to him, the first country that approach us was Ghana, and they have now copied us and all the problem of unpaid premium in that country has been solved, followed by the Francophone countries.
Daniel said that insurance companies in Nigeria have significantly improve their income generation, the reasons of non-payment of claims largely emanated from non-payment of premium has been reduced drastically.
“It was very successful and as a market, the improvement of the income of insurance companies has significantly impact on the shares of insurance companies in the stock market..”
He said , “ I am more confident that we can achieve more with the consolidation of the gains and the support pledged by the Federal Government to take insurance to an enviable position as risk bearers and backbone of the economy.”
The commission identified lack of trust and lack of awareness as challenges militating against the growth of the insurance sector in the country, but promised to mobilize the practitioners and market associations to reverse the trend.
“ When people are aware and realized the benefits of insurance to indemnify their losses, they will voluntarily key into it.’’ He noted that insurance was the least in a number of sectors because it was not performing as it should.
According to him, we are more than the manufacturers, we are more than the bankers, because without insurance no business can function efficiently.
The NAICOM boss explained that the Complaints Bureau unit has done exceeding well to reduce friction between insurance companies and consumers. In the last quarter of last year, we set up a Call Centre to enable consumers to have direct communication with the commission, because we feel that it may take a long time for the public to write and receive reply immediately. All we need is information about the insurance company or broker within 48 hours we get back to him. This has enabled us to reach the general public on their complaints with a view to settling any disputes that may arise in the normal course of insurance transactions. We have received a number of commendations from the public on this initiative.
Besides, he said, the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), in recognition of possible disputes with insurance consumers established a Customer Complaints Bureau headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court to ensure that all parties to insurance transactions are fairly treated while their rights are preserved, we commend this efforts to enable Nigerians to trust on the industry to carry their risks.
“The impact of these measures on insurance consumers is that, we now receive fewer amounts of complaints from the public against non settlement of claims” he said .
The NAICOM boss said the commission has been doing many advertorial in a number of national newspapers asking claimants with genuine claims to come forward with their complaints.
He explained that a lot of insurance companies do not find these acts very comfortable, but it was a way of giving more confidence to the public to entrust their risks to the industry and create more awareness in the public on the importance and benefits of insurance.
According to him, in 2014, the commission succeeded in resolving a lot of claims that were subject of disagreement between insurance institutions and claimants.
He noted that a good number of them sent in written letters of appreciation to NAICOM afterwards. We will not be satisfied until we achieve a zero tolerance for non settlement of claims, he said.
Daniel said that as at the third quarter of 2014, insurance firms generated about N300 billion premium income which indicated a significant increase in gross income over 2013.
Commenting on NAICOM’s plan for 2015, Daniel said the commission would consolidate on all the gains of the prior years to bring the insurance industry at par with what is obtained in other developed economies where insurance is the engine room of the economy.
“ Recently FG is increasingly making use of the advice of NAICOM which is one of our statutory responsibilities to advise them on insurance matters,’’ Daniel said
Besides, the commission had already started supporting tertiary institutions offering insurance and risk management on insurance education and would continue to do so in 2015.