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‘Underwriters’ N1.4b claims settlement is confidence booster’


Edwin Igbiti

The modern insurance claims process is increasingly complex. More variables and data are constantly coming into play, but carriers must determine appropriate settlements and flag potential fraud faster than ever. On top of technical challenges, insurers are dealing with their customers during stressful and vulnerable moments- times when the delicate balance of empathy and automation must be struck to give insureds the peace of mind they seek.

The shift to a mostly-automated claims process will likely take a decade, but given that the initial steps in the core claims system transformation process are so long. Determined to regain the confidence back in the nation’s insurance industry, Niger Insurance Plc, among others, has settled claims worth N1. 4 billion to policy-holders in space of nine months in Nigeria.

The Managing Director, Edwin Igbiti, who spoke to The Guardian at a press briefing in Lagos Vowed that other outstanding claims will be paid soonest. He thanked all of the firm’s customers for their patience, trust and understanding during this challenging period in its long and otherwise stellar history while reaffirming the company’s renewed sense of responsibility and commitment to excellence.Ignite at the event also shared that company’s growth and transformation plan, which was designed to reposition the firm for service excellence and competitiveness in a rapidly changing operating landscape, the company’s transformation blueprint, which according to him spans over the next five years (2020 to 2024) focusing on operational and technological advancements in delivering bespoke Insurance solutions to businesses, institutions and the growing populace of Nigeria.He noted that the implementation of the transformation plan already began in the fourth quarter of 2019 following his appointment.

According to Igbiti, the firm’s three pillars of the transformation plan are: Strengthening its balance sheet (financial strength); strengthening its People (Talent & Innovation) and strengthening its business model (Sustained growth & Profitability).To ensure a successful execution of this plan, he said the company recently reconstituted a new Board-of-Directors, a new management team and an array of strategic partnerships.

He posited that at the firm’s 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held on 21 November 2019, the company’s shareholders approved its recapitalization plan to meet the new regulatory capital requirements through, an equity capital raise via rights issue and/or private placement and a business combination by way of merger or acquisition, which must all be completed by 30 June, 2020.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ademola Salami, while providing a progress update said: “Working with our Financial Advisers, the Board and Management of the company are already engaging with foreign and local investors that have shown interest in the company.“High-level negotiations are on-going and we expect to secure substantive offers for investment in the coming weeks.”

In response to the situation regarding unpaid claims and outstanding customer benefits, the Managing Director expressed regret and attributed the delay to the company’s large asset portfolio which is skewed towards fixed assets.He, however, assured the audience that the company’s assets are more than sufficient to settle all its liabilities and that it has made significant progress towards liquidating some fixed assets to unlock cash and pay down all outstanding obligations soon.

“There is a growing sense of purpose at Niger Insurance Plc these days; it feels like a new dawn with management, staff and shareholders all working with passion and a common intent to write a great story in this new chapter of the company’s long and chequered history,” Igbiti added.


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