ADDRESS BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR INSURANCE MR. OLORUNDARE SUNDAY THOMAS DURING COURTESY VISIT OF THE COMMISSION TO THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KANO STATE ALH. ABDULLAHI UMAR GANDUJE ON OCTOBER 11, 2021.
Your Excellency, I bring special greetings from the Governing Board, Management and staff of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) which is the apex regulatory body of the insurance industry in Nigeria. We appreciate this opportunity to meet with Your Excellency and members of Your cabinet to apprise you of our activities and seek your collaboration in the implementation of our planned programmes for the State and its people.
Your Excellency on behalf of the Governing Board, Management and staff of the Commission I commiserate with you and the Kano State Government on the recent death of the 1st class Emir of Gaya, HRH Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir, we wish him eternal rest.
Your Excellency I will like to commend the giant strides of your administration in the past six years in the development of Kano State particularly in the area of infrastructure, education and security. The peaceful environment enabled by your administration has no doubt assisted in fast tracking development of the State. We salute your courage and commitment in this regards and we believe posterity will judge you correctly.
Your Excellency, our resolve to come to you today is born out of our long standing relationship with Kano State. It may interest your Excellency to know that when the NAICOM was established by the Act of Parliament in 1997, Kano was chosen as one of the cities to host the Zonal Office of the Commission. Since this development, the Commission have always chosen Kano for most of its activities in the northern region. Your Excellency, Commission in November, 2020 kick started its nationwide sensitisation workshop for Nano, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (N MSMEs) across the country and Kano state was our first point of call. So, Kano has been our second home.
We have long been waiting for a time like this to meet Your Excellency to discuss insurance development in the country and Kano state in particular as the commercial nerve center of the northern region. Going by the population statistics of Kano state it is obvious that the State is a critical stakeholder in increasing insurance penetration and growth of the sector in Nigeria. Kano State as a centre of commerce has the opportunity to lead other northern states and serves as a hub for Takaful Insurance other wise known as Islamic Insurance in the country.
Kano state with its large scale commercial activities stands the opportunity of leading by example and taking advantage of the huge potentials in Takaful and Microinsurance products introduced by the Commission in order to address religious beliefs and economic differences about conventional insurance. Our survey during the last sensitisation workshop in the state indicates that there is huge interest and demand for insurance products especially Takaful in the state, which will in no small way assist in the survival and sustainability of small and medium businesses in the state.
Since my coming as the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, we have put so much effort into repositioning the Commission in order to improve and deepen insurance penetration across Nigeria with greater attention and concern to states with huge potentials but very low level penetration. The focus is majorly in pushing the industry to more strategic market development initiatives as against the traditional regulation and compliance. As Your Excellency is aware, one of the cardinal thrust that has been a forefront policy of the federal government is financial inclusion: assisting nano, micro, small and medium enterprises for a sustainable economic development and lifting families out of abject poverty. A major aspect of this drive is providing a safety net for the NMSMEs against unforeseen circumstances while securing millions of jobs and wealth created by the NMSMEs.
Besides the need for the development and promotion of Takaful in Kano state, which indeed requires Your Excellency’s support, the Commission is also here to seek your buy-in on the implementation of compulsory insurances in Kano State and as well the need for the State Government to protect its assets and liabilities by adequately insuring them.
Your Excellency, permit me to introduce you to some of the insurances made compulsory by extant laws in the country:
i. Motor Vehicles Third Party Insurance
ii. Professional Indemnity insurance for Health workers
iii. Public Building Liability Insurance
iv. Insurance of Building under Construction above 2 floors
v. Group Life insurance under the Pension Reform Act
vi. Annuity for retirees
Your Excellency there is a lot to benefit from the partnership of the Kano State Government and the Commission with respect to these insurances, taking a cue from other states that have voluntarily taken steps to domesticate some of these laws in their states for the greater advantage of their states. Indeed, Kano is leading in many fronts in the country. In motor insurance for example, Kano and Lagos states alone have almost more than 50% of vehicles plying the Nigerian roads and I am delighted to say here that if the state Government can partner with the insurance industry to bring all these vehicles under cover, it will significantly impact on the IGR of the state and boost revenue of all stakeholders.
The issue of collapsed buildings have continued to be one of the problems in our big and major cities in the country that seems to have defied solutions and checks put in place by the authorities. The Commission is collaborating with some federal agencies like the Fire Service, Police etc and relevant professional associations like COREN to ensure provisions of the law regarding the insurance of public buildings against 3rd party liability and all buildings under construction that are above 2 floors are strictly adhered to. I humbly request Your Excellency’s cooperation to work closely with the insurance sector on this to ensure safety and protection of lives and properties in Kano State.
Your Excellency, the National Insurance Commission is planning to organise a One-day sensitisation workshop for permanent secretaries and directors of all MDAs in the state in other to sensitise them on the need and benefit to adequately protect and insure strategic government assets and human resources. Some of our experiences like the unfortunate incidents in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest are indeed eye opener for many and it is clear that insurance protection has become a necessity in our private and public business activities in order to have peace of mind.
Adequate insurance cover for public properties would have saved the government unnecessary expenses in replacing or repairing some of the damages. The Commission shall continue to work hand in hand with relevant Kano State Agencies in pushing for more insurance uptake by Nigerians in order to minimize economic losses and use of public funds meant for development to compensate victims. Your Excellency, we shall be coming back to Kano by next month to hold the sensitisation workshop for your government functionaries and the public to educate them on the benefits inherent in the consumption of insurance products.
As I said earlier, I want to use this opportunity to seek for the Kano State Government assistance in the implementation of compulsory insurances. The Commission is incepting talks with stakeholders to ensure that enforcement commence in earnest of all classes of compulsory insurances across the country.
Your Excellency Sir the Commission is seeking your support in implementing initiatives of the Commission that will allow insurance to be a household need in Kano State. Your Excellency, we are requesting your support in the following areas among others:
i Constitute a committee that will work with the Commission
ii Consider mirroring the legislation that makes it mandatory for citizens to have compulsory insurances.
iii. Provide the Commission with a befitting office accomodation that will serve as the insurance policy hub for the Northern Region of the country.
Your Excellency Sir, the Commission is committed to continually ensure and guaranty adequate protection of policyholders. This effort has been taken in many fronts such as ensuring that genuine claims are promptly paid by insurers, ensuring financial soundness and viability of the insurers to protect investments, right prizing of insurance products, value for money, use of technology for ease of transaction etc.
In conclusion, I want to thank my brother the SA to the His Excellency on Inter Governmental Affairs Hon. Mahmoud Mohammed Tofa and all the dignitaries that have assisted in enabling this meeting, the Commission is eternally grateful
Finally I once again thank Your Excellency Sir for this opportunity and look forward to more positive collaborations.
Long live Kano State Government, Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria
O. S. Thomas
Commissioner for Insurance/ Chief Executive Officer