By Sola Alabadan
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has completed a real-time digital platform to put the Nigerian insurance industry on the same pedestal with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, also charged the insurance operators to take advantage of the huge market in the country, while speaking on Thursday at a seminar organised for insurance journalists in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
“The terrain is tough but we are determined to succeed. Nigeria is not by accident the largest economy in Africa. We must take advantage of the population. There are a lot of things to fast track the process. The digital world will drive regulation,” he stated.
Thomas explained that the new portal is designed in such a way that wherever anybody is in the world, information on the nation’s insurance sector would be available to him at the click of a button.
He said, “we will be looking at the digital world. Part of what we have done so far is the fact that our portal that was on the drawing board for over six years has been fixed. It is taking us from where we are to the next level.
“We have sensitised the technical people in the industry and they have been going through series of trainings.
“The next thing we are going to do is to engage the industry with IT guidelines. It is no longer going to be historical reporting.”
While reaffirming that the commission would boost the recent confidence President Muhammadu Buhari reposed in the insurance sector, the NAICOM boss said this administration in NAICOM would not fail Nigerians.
He said: “It is not by coincidence that we are having this conference today that we are marking 60th anniversary as a nation.
“We want to be seen the way we are so we know where to make amends. NAICOM is an agency of the Federal Government and has the responsibility to make some impact on the economy. We will continue to relish the president’s appreciation of the industry.”
He further acknowledged that the investment climate was tough, saying, the commission was determined to make a difference as there will be no hindrance to information dissemination.
“If there is a need for change let us know and if there is a need for me to explain I will not hesitate to do that. We have challenges ahead of us but we are determined to overcome those challenges. We try as much as possible to let investors, government and stakeholders into our programmes.
Speaking on the commission’s rededication towards driving the Compulsory Insurance policy, he said it was not enough to sit in Abuja and expect the process to succeed.
He said it was on this ground he took out time recently to visit the Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, to prevail on his colleague governors to assist in driving the compulsory insurance policy.
Onanuga Advocates Functioning Social Security System In Nigeria
By Sola Alabadan
In view of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis, the former Director General of Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) said there is the critical need for a functioning social security system to allow all Nigerians to achieve an adequate standard of living.
Mrs. Onanuga made this call while delivering the theme paper “Covid-19 Impact On Financial Inclusion: Opportunities For Insurance & Pension Sectors” at the sixth edition of the national conference of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondent (NAIPCO) held recently in Lagos.
She said “The World Bank estimates that the covid-19 crisis will result in 10.9 million Nigerians falling into poverty by January 2022. If we have learned anything, the pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have highlighted the critical need for a functioning social security system to allow all Nigerians to achieve an adequate standard of living.
However, she lamented that “unfortunately, the social security system in Nigeria is next to zero; so you need to plan for yourself so that if anything happens, you need to be able to stand.”
Mrs. Onanuga stressed that in this era of COVID-19 pandemic, insurance and pension is what Nigerians need to lean on for a hopeful future.
“If you really want to remain in business, you must take insurance, in the event of sudden occurrence like the pandemic, insurance will help you to stand back on your feet; in the event of you finding that because of the pandemic a breadwinner of a family dies, there must be a buffer to ensure that the family is not affected.
“Therefore, more than ever before, you find out that actually there is need for both insurance and pension products to ensure that we continue to live and meet our need of sustainable living, healthy living, wealthy living and of course, continuity in business. That is why it is important for all of us to identify that we have these needs for growth and continuity by taking up both insurance and pension products,” Mrs. Onanuga said.
In her goodwill message, Director General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, who was represented at the event by the Commission’s Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, emphasised the need for Nigerians to embrace contributory pension, as a social security safety net.
He said the issue of gathering retirees physically in various locations across the country for verification is now a thing of the past with the online verification and enrolment portal recently launched by the Commission.
According to him, “Before now, we would congregate several retirees in different centres of the country to do the enrolment for the Treasury Funded retirees, and now that can be done online.
“I’m happy to announce that over 3,000 people have been enrolled through our online portal out of 11,000 expected to retire this year.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Olorundare Thomas, called on Nigerians in all walks of life to embrace insurance as risk-mitigating mechanism.
The Commissioner for Insurance was represented by Assistant Director, Market Development, Adeyemi Abubakar.
He congratulated the NAIPCO members, for their consistency in organising the conference, as a platform to ensure that they reach out to the public with their reportage on the insurance sector to ensure the growth of the insurance business in Nigeria.
The Commissioner for Insurance reminded NAIPCO of their role as purveyors of information, awareness creation and catalysts of economic growth, just as he solicited the continued cooperation of the Association for the growth of the industry.
He said for the Nigerian insurance market to record significant growth and contributes adequately to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), all hands must be on deck, noting that the media has a critical role to play in this especially in sensitising the public on the benefits of insurance.
Thomas believes that deepening insurance penetration can only be possible through a deliberate and sustained insurance awareness which, he said, will also lead to the realization of the Federal Government’s financial inclusion initiative.
Sovereign Trust Settles N2.5b Claims In Nine Months
Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc paid total claims of. N2,515,004,405.67 between January and September 2021, in line with its avowed commitment to pay all genuine claims promptly.
A rundown of the claim’s composition paid during the nine months period shows Energy/Oil & Gas Insurance having the highest figure of N774 million, Fire and Allied Perils accounted for N505.5 million, while N460 million was paid as claims under Motor Insurance.
Other figures as released by the organisation are: N355 million for General Accident, N215 million for Engineering/Contractors’ All Risk Insurance and N203 million for Marine & Aviation Insurance.
While commenting on the claim’s payment, the Executive Director, Technical, Jude Modilim, said “there is no compromise to claims settlement in Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc because that is the barometer for our customers to determine whether we are delivering on our promise or not. We do not intend to fall short of this obligation and we will continually strive to make good our promise at every point in time as long as the claims are genuine and treated accordingly.”
Modilim further stated that the company has put in place a friendly-claim-process which ensures that claims are settled within the shortest period possible. “The processes involved from the moment a claim is reported and the period the customer receives the cheque have been made as seamless as possible” he noted.
In the same vein, the Managing Director of the organisation, Olaotan Soyinka stated that “one of our means of advertisement in Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc is prompt claims settlement and it has helped to strengthen the relationship with our customers. We do not allow them to go through distasteful experience in the process of getting their claims settled. Our processes are hinged on professionalism, ethics and promptness”.