CFI, Mohammed Kari
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Chuks Udo Okonta
Insurance operators have commended the Federal Government for setting up a committee to review the insurance bill.
The Director-General Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) Sunday Thomas, in a telephone interview, with Inspen, said the move is a good development, stressing that the industry really needs a law that is implementable.
He noted that the bill would be properly examined before necessary actions would be taken on it, adding that is too early to state whether new things would be introduced and some things expunged.
According to a practicing Insurance Broker, who preferred anonymity, the review of the insurance law by government is a welcomed development as it will take into cognizance the unfolding dynamics in the economy as it relates to the insurance industry in Nigeria, stressing that every law is kinetic and must be treated as such.
“Remember, the previous insurance law was promulgated under the military regime and expectedly it contains some noxious provisions which could be expunged while new injections could be made. Our hope is that the process of review should be free, participatory and un-anticipatory. All industry operators and relevant stakeholders must be given the opportunity to make input in the spirit of true democracy.
“Aspect that may be critically examined are issues of ethics, insurance regulation and enforcement. All sectors must be given representation on the basis of numerical strength and relevance.
“It remains a pain that in spite of the compulsory insurances in place, government and its various agencies and some big corporate institutions have continued to circumvent the law to the disadvantage of the insurance industry, without any form of punitive measure meted out to the culprits. All these should be taken into cognizance, holistically,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said the Federal Government has constituted a ten-member committee to review the Insurance (Consolidated) Bill, a move that seeks to make the bill conform with the ideals of contemporary insurance practice and also ensures an efficient insurance industry in the country.
The impending review is expected to form the basis for a new draft bill, which will be sent to the National Assembly for consideration.
Adeosun, noted that the review committee with members drawn from the public and private sectors, was to submit its report within three months.
The Director (Press), Federal Ministry of Finance, Marshall Gundu, said the Review Committee, soon to be inaugurated by the minister, is chaired by Dr. Omogbai- Omo Eboh, a renowned expert in Insurance Law, while Dr. Talmiz Usman (Head of Legal Department, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is the Secretary.
Other members of the committee include a representative of the Ministry of Finance; a representative of the National Insurance Commission; a representative of Nigeria Insurers’ Association (NIA), and a representative of Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers.
Members of the committee also include a representative of the Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria; a representative of the Attorney General of the Federation; Kamar Raji and Dr. Ladi Hamalai of the National Institute of Legal Studies.
The minister said the activities of the Review Committee would be fully funded by the National Insurance Commission, which is the statutory agency of the federal government established to regulate and supervise the Nigerian insurance sector.
According to the minister, the terms of reference of the review committee include a critical review of the draft Insurance (Consolidated) Bill, with a view to making it a framework or principle-based legislation; a comparative review of the bill to align it with the powers of other financial regulators in the country as well as a thorough examination of current market problems and recommendation of appropriate regulatory powers to allow the insurance regulator act appropriately.
The review committee is to undertake a review of all other insurance laws and update the draft Insurance (Consolidated) Bill to align with international best practices.
The committee is also to make other recommendations as it deems fit for the overall interest of the nation’s insurance industry.