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Chuks Udo Okonta
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is profiling insurance companies with huge unsettled claims for necessary regulatory action, the Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, has said.
He said this today at the 2020 insurance directors’ conference, organised by NAICOM and the College of Insurance & Financial Management (CIFM) in Lagos, adding 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.
Another lingering issue that has continued to hurt insurance business in the country, he said is the total lack of understanding of the business of insurance and the benefits that are offered, adding that the strategy must change, insurance institutions must make themselves visible in all geo – political zones in the country and must take marketing of insurance products to a higher level than the present.
He said the recent crises associated with #EndSARS protest which lead to the destruction of lives and properties is indeed an eye opener and an opportunity for companies to engage in massive awareness programs on relevant insurance cover for lives and properties of individuals and all businesses, adding that innovation in insurance industry will differentiate companies in terms of meeting stakeholders expectation.
“As you may be aware, the Commission on its part has shifted its focus to market development for an inclusive development of insurance across all strata. These initiatives are anchored on Innovation, Distribution and Efficient Service Delivery. We expect that insurance institutions will also formulate policies along these direction,” he said.
Thomas noted the Commission is committing huge resources for manpower development in the insurance sector in collaboration with relevant partners in order to bridge the gap currently existing in its system.