Chuks Udo Okonta
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, today said the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has been empowered by its law to treat breach of code of conduct as a criminal act and would not hesitate to implement the statute if operators continue to flout necessary rules.
He said this while presenting his keynote address at the 2015 Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Professional forum held in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to him, the commission is empowered by section 39 of the Insurance Act of 2003 to enforce the code of ethics of the market. He added that if the industry does not uphold the tenets of their profession, the commission will have no option than to enforcement the laws.
Muhammed posited that the code has punishment and sanction for companies that are found wanting, stressing that is a criminal offence for a company licensed by the regulator to cut rate which is against the ethics of the profession.
He said that market indiscipline has become the order of the day and if not taken seriously, adding that the implication of this indiscipline is that it will help to destroy the industry.
He noted that the industry cannot achieve the success it looked out to achieve at the just concluded Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC) forum held recently in an atmosphere where there is distrust, unprofessionalism, and without unity of purpose.
He urged the industry operators to imbibe the spirit of professionalism by doing what is morally right in the industry, adding that the challenges this time are huge and call for improved service delivery.
Muhammed asked the operators to proffer solutions to these begging questions: What does change means to the Insurance Industry; how prepared and ready is the industry to take opportunities around the industry; could the industry continue to conduct business as usual and expect a different result in the new era of Change; what are the Imperative of Corporate Social Responsibility in the face of changing environment and how best do they enhance insurance value chain in a quest for market penetration and insurance industry desire.
He urged the operators to position themselves for opportunities in the oil, aviation and other sectors that have been created by the government.
He however assured that the commission is focus on the protection of policy holders and the industry in general.
He said out of N20billion budgeted for insurance last year by government less than half of it was spent on insurance, adding that the Commission is doing all it can to ensure that this does not occur again in future.
On total Single account, he said that the industry is working with the federal government to see how insurance can be isolated from the single account, stressing that if claims are paid on government losses it will take almost two years before they are budgeted again and replaced and uninformed will have an impression that insurance don’t settle claims.
The President of the institute, Lady Isioma Chukwuma, said the institutes under her leadership would esteem the code of conduct and ensure operators play according to rules.