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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Commissioner for Insurance and helmsman, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) Mohammed Kari, has vowed to apologise and refund all ‘unjustified’ fines imposed on insurance companies that have concrete evidence to prove their innocence.
He told NAIPCO Trumpet, a flagship Journal of National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents, that Insurance Act 2003 spells out every punishable offense and even the sanction in monetary terms, stressing that the commission’s role is to enforce the law to ensure sanity and ethical standard in the industry.
“I challenge every insurance entity in Nigeria who has been fined ‘unjustifiably’ by the commission to come forward and say it. If found to be true, the commission will apologise and refund whatever was paid by that company,” he said.
Kari, maintained that what insurance companies pay as fine to NAICOM is just a paltry sum, compared to what they pay to other regulators. He called on stakeholders to ask their management why they pay fines, stressing that fines are not fees, but a sanction for some wrong doings.
He noted that a company can actually avoid sanctions by playing by the rules.
Some Insurance companies and investors have accused NAICOM of imposing unjustified fines on insurance firms.
The Coordinator, Integrated Supreme Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISSAN), Ololabi Peter, called on NAICOM to regulate the industry with human face, whilst urging operators to play according to stipulated rules.
“We have a lot of problems in the industry. The industry regulator-NAICOM has compounded problems by imposing unnecessary charges on the firms. NAICOM imposes fines on companies even on offenses that are pardonable.
“I do not know if the government gives NAICOM financial targets to meet each year. NAICOM is indeed making things difficult for investors and insurance companies,” he said.
“I want to call on managements of companies to improve their performances and follow rules and regulations, since NAICOM is not ready to forgive,” he added.