If there is any time members of the insuring public should buy insurance cover without reservation, it is now that the industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has vowed to ensure that all genuine claims are paid even from operators’ statutory deposit account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
NAICOM while answering questions from Journalists at the just concluded media seminar it organised in Kaduna, highlighted its areas of regulatory priorities for the next three years (2017-2020). This year’s seminar theme was “Insuring the Uninsured”.
The Commission assured that within the timeframe, it would focus attention on addressing unpaid claims by mischievous operators through withdrawing money from their statutory deposits in the CBN to settle repudiated genuine claims.
Further, it would within the period address the prevailing unhealthy pricing competition among insurance operators, kick off pilot project on the Risk Base Supervision model and Flag off implementation of second phase of its Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI).
The Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, informed the Journalists that claims payment is critical to deepening insurance penetration among Nigerians, adding that it will engender trust and confidence of the insuring public to the industry.
He said as such, any genuine claim being repudiated by any operator would be paid by the commission itself from the statutory deposits of such company with the CBN.
He said this is the easiest way to settle genuine claims from individuals which has been rejected by dubious firms.
He said for companies that continue to repudiate claims, the commission, would continue to withdraw from their statutory accounts until it has exhausted what such companies have and according to the law, if such companies fail to replenish their statutory deposits within 60 days, they will automatically eased themselves out of business.
Kari, said the commission, is neither fast nor slow to remove erring operators’ licenses but is only conducting cost benefit analysis on such action, adding that through the above means, such operators would surrender their licenses.
Kari, however, said the commission, is still considering what to do with operators who reject claims that are more than what they have in their statutory accounts.
He said the commission is yet to arrive at a solution to that.
He urged members of the insuring public to ensure they are on the right path on any controversial claims, noting that some people do not read their policy wordings very well before entering into contract only to blame the industry when claim arises from such ambiguous contracts.
For unhealthy competition, he said it is a problem created by the operators themselves which is currently hitting hard on them, to the extent that they are now begging the commission to help them solve it. Kari said the commission will see this as another area of priority.
The commissioner, further said to implement the second phase of the MDRI, the commission would utilise the machinery of the states by visiting state governments to solicit for the support of the governors in the enforcement of compulsory insurances in their states.
The commission, during the seminar, visited Kaduna state governor Mallam El-Rufai and sought for his partnership in this regard.
He listed the compulsory insurances as Group life insurance, stated by section 9 sub section 3 of the Pension Reform Act 2004, Health Care Professional Liability insurance under section 45 of the National health Insurance Scheme Act,1999; the Builders Liability Insurance under section 64 of the Insurance Act 2003; the Occupiers Liability Insurance under section 65 of the insurance Act 2003 and Motor 3rd Party Liability Insurance under section 68 of the Insurance Act 2003.
The commission, had during the first phase of implementation of the MDRI in 2009, kicked off awareness campaign on these compulsory insurances through their official launch in the six geopolitical zones of the country with the target of creating 50,000 jobs in the country and increasing premium income of the industry from its level of N260 billion to N1.1 trillion.
Currently, the annual premium income of the industry stands at N380 billion while insurance penetration targeted at 3 percent still stands at 0.6 percent prompting the commission to get itself set to embark on the implementation of the second phase.