Insurers lobby NAICOM on waiving December recapitalisation deadline

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Insurance companies have implored the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to waive the first phase of its segmented recapitalisation for the insurance and reinsurance companies scheduled to end by December 31, 2020.

They spoke during a meeting of insurance companies’ chief executive officers with the commissioner for insurance at the industry’s professionals’ forum in Abeokuta, Ogun State recently.

The underwriters implored NAICOM to consider their challenges by amending some of the requirements in the recapitalisation exercise in the sector.

They said the support of the regulator would assist to build strong underwriting companies and boost investors’ confidence in the sector.

Some of the executives who attended the meeting disclosed that they made a request for the recapitalisation exercise process to be concluded in December 2021, while the interim milestone assessment scheduled for December be stepped down.

The executives said the operators had earlier appealed to the commission, to waive the December 2020 milestone.

“The waiver will give the insurance and reinsurance companies more time to settle back to business and pursue their full recapitalisation programme in order to meet the commission’s set objectives by 31 December, 2021,” one of the operators said.

They said the operators were more concerned about the aspect relating to attainment of certain thresholds by 31 December 2020, failing which the commission may restrict the scope of business insurance and reinsurance companies will transact.

A CEO said the operators observed the huge impact of COVID-19 on the financial services sector and the national economy at large, coupled with the situation that was worsened by losses from the nationwide #EndSARS protests.

“We are convinced that it will take businesses especially insurance companies some time to ascertain the full extent of loss and recover from the shock of the devastating developments,” he said.

The insurers said it was therefore important that the exercise took due cognizance of the plight of companies and their shareholders.

It would be recalled that NAICOM extended the deadline for insurance and reinsurance companies to meet its new capital requirements to September 30, 2021 from December 31, 2020.

NAICOM also mandated that 50 per cent of the minimum paid-up capital for insurance and 60 per cent for reinsurance must be met by 31 December 2020.

The commission had said a review of the recapitalisation deadline became imperative in order to mitigate likely negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the exercise.

NAICOM stated that insurance companies that failed to satisfy the required minimum paid-up capital by December 31, 2020 may be restricted on the scope of business they would transact.

Life and general insurance companies were asked to shore up their existing minimum paid-up capital from N2bn and N3bn to N4bn and N5bn respectively by the end of December 2020, and meet the final minimum paid-up capital requirements of N8bn and N10bn respectively by the end of September 2021.

Composite companies and reinsurance firms were asked to shore up from existing minimum paid-up capital of N5bn and N10bn to N9bn and N12bn by end of December 2020 to N18bn and N20bn respectively by the end of September 2021.

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