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Chuks Udo Okonta
living up to their responsibilities, insurers have continued to support the economy by paying N747.06 billion claims within a period of five years to organisations and individuals that suffered losses.
Available data obtained from the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) revealed that in 2015 non life insurers paid N54.65 billion, while life operators paid N50.57 billion. In 2016, non life operators paid N57.76 billion: life operators, N61.87 billion and in 2017, non life 70.52 billion and life N72.31 billion.
In 2018, non life insurers paid N98.70 billion; life operators, N94.78 billion and in 2019, non life N78.72 billion and life operators N107.17 billion.
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) said it would continue to promote economic growth by ensuring insurers meet their claims obligations, adding that it would be profiling insurance companies with huge unsettled claims for necessary regulatory action.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who said this at a forum in Lagos, noted that the era of huge backlog of claims should no longer be associated with insurance companies.
He urged companies that are responsive to the plight of their clients in prompt settlement of claims to sustain the good business conduct.
Thomas charged operators in the industry to strengthen their human and financial capital for effective participation in big ticket risks, stressing that it has been observed that the gains of domestication policy of the government as enshrine in the Nigeria Content Development Act 2010 is gradually loosing its meaning for the insurance sector.
“More businesses especially in the oil and gas and the Aviation sectors are now been re insured abroad. Of more concern is the declining participation of life companies in the annuity business which is the emerging business for our industry. These are the areas where the industry can impose itself on the economy through the control of funds for national development.
“The Industry must invest handsomely in technology, one of our key drivers for developing the market. The Institutions should be prepared to digitalise their processes, procedures and systems in order to make their operations seamless and real time. The Commission is investing heavily in automating its processes and expects nothing less from the insurance institutions. An industry Information Technology Guideline has been issued for the operators and the Commission requires your support and cooperation for effective compliance,” he said.
The need to invest massively in awareness campaign about insurance, he said cannot be over emphasis as there seem to be a consensus that public perception of insurance still remains very low largely due to lack of awareness by the public.