Chuks Udo Okonta
Just 11 days to the deadline given to insurance operators by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to settle all outstanding claims, many of them are jostling to comply with the directives, Inspen can report.
Investigations revealed that many of the underwriting firms which used to drag their feet before settling claims, now have priorities claims settle, a development which delights many insured.
It was gathered that in a bid to settle outstanding claims some firms offloaded their investments in order to generate the desired funds.
The former Chairman Lagos Area Council of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) Tunde Oguntade, commended underwriters for responding to the directives given by the industry regulator.
The commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, has said NAICOM will not go back on the Sept 30th deadline for insurance companies to clear all outstanding claims of policy holders, stressing that the commission will enforce the deadline on effective claims management.
“Other reasons for implementing such deadline and sanctions are effective trade practices and fair treatment of policy holders and intending consumers,’’ he said.
He noted that for Nigeria’s insurance industry to be relevant, the prescribed standard of practice set by the commission should be implemented. The claims Management Guidelines document requires each insurer to develop, document and implement claims management and payment policies.
The commissioner expressed dissatisfaction with large numbers of unpaid claims by insurance firms, including those with robust capital bases.
Kari said if the situation was allowed to continue, the growth of the industry would be stalled, noting that the current industry level was still below 35 per cent.
“Also, policy buyers and intending ones will easily lose confidence in the sector as it deepens the poor image of insurance practice in Nigeria.’’
He said NAICOM is determined to check bad practices in the industry through effective claims management and ensure adherence to global standards.
He commended his predecessor in office, Fola Daniel, for designing policies that encouraged growth in the industry.
“Before 2007, the industry capitalisation was just N98 billion with 11 per cent growth rate,’’ he said the former management settled complaints worth N4.2 billion.
NAICOM, in a circular on July 6 gave insurance firms up to Sept. 30 to clear all outstanding claims of customers or be sanctioned.
The commission said from Oct. 1 it would invoke the law and punish, which include revoke of licenses on defaulting firms.