NAICOM bemoans low level of corporate governance oversight in insurance firms

From left: Albert van der Linden, Speaker/Senior Research Associate, Cenfri; Eddie Efekoha, President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria; Sunday Thomas, Acting Commissioner for Insurance; Henry Akwara, Chief Executive Officer, Mayflora Consulting Limited; Nosike Agokei, Principal Partner, Agokei and Co. and Yeside Oyetayo, Rector, College of Insurance and Financial Management at the event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

The Acting Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, has said the low level of effectiveness of corporate governance oversights in the insurance sector remains one of the major regulatory concern to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).

He disclosed this at the 2nd Edition of the Conference for Directors of Insurance Companies in Lagos, adding that the failure of corporate governance in the year’s past, have played a prominent role in the death or distress of most corporate organizations the world over, Nigeria inclusive.

“Over the years, the Commission has made attempts at entrenching good corporate governance culture in the insurance sector. The development and issuance of Corporate Governance Code in 2009 and the Market conduct guidelines in 2014 are among efforts of the Commission in this direction.

“Let me state here for emphasis that the primary role of the Board either in a private or public entity remains the oversight of management to ensure the corporate goals, vision, mission and values of the entity are strictly upheld at all time,” he posited.

Thomas stressed that the board is also expected to ensure the financial soundness and general wellbeing of the organisation by monitoring the management, to guarantee effective and efficient deployment of human and capital resources in the overall benefit of all stakeholders. The observance of this role, he said has been lacking in some of our companies and which has contributed in no small measure to the challenges facing these companies today.

“It is our firm believe that members of the board can effectively perform their roles without necessarily interfering in management functions,” he added.

He noted that the desire of the Commission is to work with all stakeholders including Members of the board of directors to reverse this trend, stressing that it is imperative to remind directors that their companies are in the business of insurance primarily to settle genuine claims made by policyholders. “In all policy formulations of the board I am appealing that the prompt settlement of claims be given a high priority. The Commission will view seriously any case of late or non payment of genuine claims,” he said.

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