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Chuks Udo Okonta
Life underwriters paid about N74.24 million claims to the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) for deceased officers in 2014, even as the government has refused to pay the over N5.4 billion premium for outgoing 2016.
According to a report obtained from the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) the claims settlement covered the group life insurance scheme taken by the Force for its officials.
The report stated that, Royal Exchange Prudential Life Plc, paid N44.31 million and Mutual Benefits Life Assurance Limited paid N29.94 million.
Chairman NIA, Eddie Efekoha, who considered insurance as the best tools to effectively manage the economy especially during recession, urged the government to leverage insurance in finding way out of the present recession.
He called on the government to give more attention to group life insurance scheme, stressing that the scheme remains on of the ways the government can cater for workers’ risk liabilities.
Efekoha said insurance operators would continue to live up to their claims responsibilities. He noted that insurance should be considered first in decision making, especially now that it is difficult to replace lost items due to high cost.
He said from the returns of insurance companies, there was no indication on the consummation of renewal agreement between the government and any insurance company.
A top official in the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), said the government is yet to pay the premium for this year’s group life cover.
“We only know about final consummation of renewal agreement of Group life insurance coverage between the government and insurance firms when the participating companies forward their returns to us. But for now, we have not seen such item in the returns at our disposal. I think you can cross check that from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation. We have done our part of giving them the list of licensed insurance companies,” the source said.
The Permanent Secretary (Common Services Office), Yemi Adelakun, in November, said request for the release of over N5.4 billion had been made to the Minister of Finance.
He dismissed projection that the government had no money due to the present recession, saying: “It is usually N5.4 billion annually for civil servants Group life insurance. That’s the figure and that had been recurring for the last three or four years.
“We have written to the Ministry of Finance and they have not said that they don’t have the money. I believe that the government is very much interested in the welfare of the civil servants and it also know the cost of non-insuring civil servants will be in case there are deaths, that you still have to pay. And you pay more if you don’t cover.”