Group pushes for speedy passage of insurance consolidated bill

Onyeka (3rd from left) with other executives of Transparent Protection LTD/Gte (TPL) at the event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

The Transparent Protection LTD/Gte (TPL) has called on the 9th National Assembly to ensure a speedy passage of the Insurance Consolidated Bill, 2020, to drive the development of the insurance sector in Nigeria.

The Lead Director of TPL, Sam Onyeka, said this at at a press conference on Friday in Abuja, stressing that the NGO believes that the bill, if passed and assented to, will be a watershed and a game changer in the sector.

TLP is a membership-based, insurance-sector specific NGO with the mandate to help address the complex issues of insurance sector underdevelopment in Nigeria.

Onyeka said that “The sector has for a long time been waiting for this leverage. I therefore commend the National Assembly for agreeing to take on this bill, sponsored by Hon Darlington Nwokeocha.

“The bill is aimed at providing the insurance sector with a brand new and robust regulatory and institutional framework for insurance business in Nigeria that meets international standards while reflecting local circumstances.

“I urge the 9th Assembly to move fast to ensure that the legislative process is concluded in good time and pray that the president will assent to it as soon as it is presented to him.”

Onyeka, who commended the ongoing recapitalisation of the insurance industry embarked upon by Sunday Thomas-led management team of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), called for the review of the Insurance Act 2003 to drive the process.

He said that the recapitalisation was actually overdue, considering that the last recapitalization exercise took place in 2007.

“The expected outcome includes a stronger and more resilient insurance industry. The process has gone far and moving to its conclusion.

“Our concern, however, is the negative financial impact the exercise will make on the insurance industry if the process is driven within the framework of the extant insurance regime, the Insurance Act 2003.

“The Act is grossly inadequate for driving the current recapitalization exercise.

“In particular, the definition of ‘paid up capital’ is too rigid for comfort. Among inevitable results of increasing paid up share capital under the present regime is the heavy costs of filing fees and stamp duties.

“This could have been avoided if ‘minimum paid up capital’ is defined more broadly. The insurance industry may be able to address this challenge through window provide by the Insurance Bill 2020.”

Onyeka advised the new management of NAICOM to be bold in driving development in the sector, saying I want to see the Commission build a strong workforce that can drive insurance supervision with efficiency.

He urged the Commission to take the lead in creating insurance awareness at the grassroots and deepening transparency in the sector, while pledging TPL’s willingness to partner the Commission.

“With a population of over 200 million people, the total number of insurance policy holders stands at about one million only, which is less than one per cent.

“This is a far cry from the industry’s potential when compared to other countries of commensurate size,” Onyeka said.

He also stressed the need to make long-term funds available to the insurance sector, saying the country can not develop unless there is access to long-term funds for sectors like insurance.

Onyeka said that over the last eight years, TPL, as a system support organization, had been promoting insurance awareness through its many programmes and initiatives.

These initiatives include Law and Insurance Project (LIP) and the Transparent Action Policy Project (TAPP) – a programme for legislative and policy advocacy as well as for campaigns and media.

“LIP encapsulates insurance support services, legal aid/public interest litigation and community mobilization.

“The insurance support services programme is a platform for providing pre-insurance contract consumer support and also relevant technical assistance for pursuing claims settlement.

“Members can also take advantage of our legal aid/public interest litigation programme which provides legal support services for members of a target group who have been denied settlement of genuine claims.”

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