CFI, Mohammed Kari

 

*Poised To Sanction CEO’s Absent At Insurance Committee Meetings

By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja

The Nigeria’s National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), apex regulator of insurance sector, has mandated insurance chief executives under the aegis of Insurers Committee, to fashion out development plan framework critical for repositioning the industry to play its key roles in socioeconomic growth of the country.

Further, NAICOM frowned at the attitudes of some of the insurance chief executives who shy away from attending the Insurers Committee meetings on flimsy excuses but prefer sending junior officers who can hardly take decisions on behalf of their respective companies nor contribute meaningfully in the proceedings of meetings.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, who spoke at the opening session of the maiden annual Insurers’ Committee retreat, in Abeokuta, Ogun state, insisted that NAICOM would no longer tolerate absentee chief executives in critical meetings just as it will not hesitate to impose sanctions against culprits henceforth.

 

The objectives of the retreat include to review the activities of the insurance industry to determine the ways forward in addressing the challenges facing the sector and it particularly focused on “Repositioning the insurance industry in Nigeria for self-actualization and growth”.

The two-day event characterized by presentations and deliberations was targets at achieving the singular objective of developing a roadmap to optimally harness the potentials of the sector in economic transformation.

Kari, who cited that since the past years, NAICOM had embarked on series of reforms, maintained that the apex regular of the sector would not relent but urged the insurance chief executives to give their support towards realising the expected growth in the sector.

He enumerated some of the reforms including financial reporting reforms, No Premium No Cover, Corporate Governance Code, Risk Based Supervision, Information and Communication Technology advancement, Financial Inclusion, Claims Settlement, Market Conduct, Expansion of Distribution Channels, etc all aimed at building confidence, trust and enhancing market value.

He said: “It is pertinent to note that these changes are imperatives and have arguably had a considerable impact on efficiency, market structure and performance in the insurance industry.

“Suffice it to say that these reforms will not stop but continue. We shall continue to introduce new reforms and initiatives in line with international best practices in our march towards achieving our full potentials. As we all already know, insurance in Nigeria has under-performed the banking sector and even the recently established pensions sector.

On the need to fashion out development plan framework for repositioning the sector, Kari said: “For us as the industry regulator and supervisor, we have chosen to elevate the regulatory ladder. We cannot therefore over emphasize the paramount importance for us to fashion a development plan for the repositioning of the sector.

“We believe that once we can successfully navigate this corner, we could be on our way to entrenching a financially solid, vibrant, viable and active insurance sector that would bring about not only an increase in penetration but the industry’s contribution to GDP, accumulation of long-term funds for infrastructural financing, job creation, and an improved standard of living.

“It is long overdue that we make a change in the right direction. Successful economies are characterized by a strong investment culture of which the insurance industry plays a vital role. So we literally need to re-energize the insurance industry and commence playing our key role in boosting and growing our sector, and the Nigerian economy.”

Kari recalled that the Insurers’ Committee, fashioned after the Bankers Committee concept, was to; create a platform for the highest echelon of the insurance industry – Top Management of NAICOM being the Regulator and the Chief Executives Officers of insurance companies to dialogue on issues, challenges and proffer solutions for the way forward for the development of the insurance sector in Nigeria.

He said the Committee affords the practitioners the opportunity to reach certain decisions on the spot without having to defer to a superior authority just as it creates the avenue that enables them to walk on the same path and speak with one voice towards developing advocacy and interventions for the reshaping of the insurance system to meet the expectations of stakeholders.

However, the Commissioner for Insurance regretted at nonchalant attitudes of some chief executives of insurance companies towards attending meetings.

He said: “One would therefore expect that attendance at meetings and retreats of the Committee will be an imperative and not an option for all members.

“It is sad to note that this is not the case. Even when notices for meetings and this particular retreat were given well in advance, some CEOs still find reasons not to be in attendance preferring instead to send representatives who would neither have the voice nor the mandate to either accept or disagree with a decision but only to report back to the CEO a narrative of what might transpired. This is unacceptable.

“Henceforth, the Commission shall not admit a representative of a CEO into any meeting or event called by it for CEOs only. You are either with us or absent against us.

“For the avoidance of doubts, let me remind you that the Commission is sufficiently busy in the office and could effectively regulate the industry from its offices without having to invite you to these interactions. We are here because we feel the need to involve the regulated in policy and initiative of the industry, but if it is becoming a burden or a nuisance to you, tell us and we would understand.”