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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Insurance Industry Consolidated Bill provides that where any claim remains unpaid, the insured may request the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to effect the payment from the statutory deposit of the insurer and the Commission shall have power to effect such payment.
According to the Bill, subject to the provisions of Parts XI and XII, in every case where a claim is made in writing by the insured or any other party entitled to claim under an insurance policy, the insurer shall, where he accepts liability, settle the claim not later than 30 days after the issuance of a discharge voucher or such period of time as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Commission from time to time.
“Where any claim remains unpaid as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the insured may request the Commission to effect the payment from the statutory deposit of the insurer and the Commission shall have power to effect such payment,” it said.
The Bill maintained that where the insurer does not accept liability, he shall deliver a statement in writing stating the reason for disclaiming such liability to the person making the claim or his authorized representative not later than 60 days from the date on which the person delivered his claim to the insurer, or such period of time as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Commission from time to time.
The Bill provided that an insurer who contravenes the provisions of this section is liable to a penalty of N500,000.00.
It noted that notwithstanding anything contained in the contract of insurance, in all cases of insurances made compulsory under the Bill, an insurer shall be liable to compensate the insured or third party for damages suffered as a result of the insurer’s unreasonable delay in settling a claim as may be awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction or the dispute resolution panel set up under the Bill.