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Chuks Udo Okonta
Stakeholders in the insurance industry have reiterated that the N11 billion insurance benefit provided for frontline health workers fighting COVID-19 as part of their support is a complimentary to existing insurance policies of the workers.
This is to clearify the concerns by some observers who think the cover is not big enough for the frontline workers.
The newly appointed Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Olorundare Thomas who made this known to journalists in a statement said the health workers have an existing policy, Group Life Insurance Policy as mandated by the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA) on employers.
He further disclosed that the Federal Government who is the employer of the health workers on the frontline have paid for their Group Life Policy before now, hence the cover is in place.
He said states are also meant to have in place the Group Life Policy for the workers.
He said: “The N11 billion benefit was paid for by the insurance industry as part of their support to motivate the health workers and fight against COVID-19. The 5000 people covered are from all the state of the federation. The industry has assumed the liabilities on their own and we are looking at a worst case scenario. Nobody prays for a total fatality but where we have this kind of policy in place, we have the assurance that when it gets bad, the industry will always be there for us.
“A lot of resources have been put into dealing with COVID-19 and of course the first port of call for us in the insurance industry is to look at our business and see areas in which we can support the government. We came together and we looked at the front line workers and doctors, nurses, laboratory workers, other workers that are involved in COVID-19 and we provided some benefits which is a top up to the one already provided under the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014. It is assumed that majority of those that would be working will first of all have the baseline group life cover. The federal government has secured the group life cover and some State Government have done the same.
“The cover has a one-year lifespan. We don’t expect that the COVID-19 to last up to one year looking at the effort the government has put into this, we want to put it behind us as quickly as possible. Yes, it is a new virus. They call it novel but at the same time, we believe that with the Nigerian mentality in matters like this, we don’t have to go through the bend like other countries. I am sure once we get to the peak, we will begin to descend very fast to a zero level. I believe that it is not even going to last up to one year, so that is why we gave it a period of cover is 12 months,” he noted.
Director-General, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) Mrs Yetunde Ilori also in a statement explained that the industry paid a premium of N112.5 million to secure the life insurance policy document, “COVID-19 Intervention Team Life Insurance Cover” for the workers.
“We are ready to cover 5000 health workers in all, out of which 1000 are doctors, 1500 nurses and pharmacies while 2500 are other workers and volunteers including drivers, cook, cleaners, gatemen, among others.
“The policy covers Covid-19 centers under the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) across the country and other accredited centers by the NCDC. Anybody we are paying has to come under NCDC because our support is for the Federal Government”, she added.