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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Eddie Efekoha, has said the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) was the major cause of the extension of the firm’s rights offer period to May 1, 2020 from the April 1, 2020 approved by Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
He added that it was owing to the fact that discerning investors would usually wait to the last week of the offer before putting their money through. He seized the opportunity to give kudos to regulators for being supportive and proactive during this period.
Efekoha also noted that having insurance policy or policies that covers one’s valued assets is the surest way of having peace of mind, stressing that as the entire world continues to grapple with the adverse effects of COVID-19, a deadly virus that literally crippled all facets of human endeavour, the need to leverage insurance in mitigating risks is of great essence.
Efekoha who also doubles as the President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) stated this recently during an interview session on Channel Television’s Business Morning programme, citing a couple of instances around the world where insurance has come through to rescue notable world events and businesses.
Although he acknowledged that there are no insurance cover for pandemics such as Covid-19 in Nigeria, and that there are very few cases abroad, a high demand for the cover is however expected to rise in the coming weeks as people’s eyes would have been opened to the benefits of insurance. According to him, “In the days, months and years ahead, we expect insurance cover for pandemics and other infectious outbreaks to be in high demand and the insurance industry would be expected to come up with an appropriate response and when it is done, the insuring public would be made aware.”
On the financial impact of the pandemic on the industry, he said the insurance industry, may not pay claims for business interruption flowing directly from the outbreak of Coronavirus due to the absence of the cover but the sector remains poised to respond appropriately when business interruption occurs due to specified risks in policies like fire outbreak, explosion damage etc.
He however noted that some burglars have taken advantage of the coronavirus lockdown by burgling shops of business ownerswho are observing the lockdown directive of the Federal Government. In such case, if the business owners have insurance, they can be rest assured of a compensation.