Insurance

NAICOM underscores impacts of COVID-19 on insurance regulation

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Chuks Udo Okonta

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said it is adjusting to the challenges and opportunities which the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on the socio-economic and business environment.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who disclosed this today at the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) 2020 CEOs’ Empowerment Series in Lagos, noted that due to the pandemic, the commission has to reviewed and extended the ongoing recapitalisation in recognition of the current realities.

He also posited that the pandemic has led to fast tracking of the commission’s automation for prompt service delivery.
“The E-Portal for regulatory submission of various applications by operators and obtaining E-approvals is in the final stage.

“The Framework for Digitalization of operations (such as IT Standards, Web Aggregators, Regulatory Sandbox, etc) of regulated entities are in progress,” he added.

Thomas said this year has no doubt been a very challenging one for the insurance sector, individual households and the economy at large as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that however, to individuals in the insurance sector, what this situation has thrown up is that there must be a paradigm shift from the usual way of business practice. “It is therefore imperative on us to embrace and align our businesses to the new world order if we must be seen to be relevant,” he said.

He congratulated the President and Chairman of the governing Council of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers and members of her team for organising the programme notwithstanding the precarious prevailing global atmosphere.

“The will to hold this year’s CEOs’ Retreat and your ability to adapt to current realities in the wake of the Corona-Virus (COVID-19) is commendable. One of the most affected businesses are the service businesses requiring physical contact which our beloved profession falls within given that most often than not, product distribution require face to face contact for us to get the buy-in of our potential clients,” he posited.

He tasked brokers on business etiquette and ethics in all their professional dealings, stressing that unprofessional conduct of a few amongst the brokers is posing great danger to the collective integrity as an industry.

“Over the years, a lot has been put into improving the fragile image and perception of insurance in this country. It is high time we all rise up to the menace of unethical business behaviour in our sector.

“As the insurance industry positions itself for Post COVID-19 Era, the demands of the insuring public will require sound work ethics for us to optimize performance,” he posited.

Thomas said as intermediaries, business sincerity and customers’ satisfaction must be central to brokers core business principles.

The Commission, he said has always and will at all-times extend her full support to all stakeholders in the industry in their drive for business growth and development. The Commission is open to new ideas and shall continue to introduce new reforms and initiatives in line with international best practices that will strengthen our institutions, he said.

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