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Prompt Claims Payment Paves Way For Universal Insurance

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Ujoatuonu, MD, Universal Insurance

 

The management of Universal Insurance Plc says the company’s policy of prompt payment of all genuine claims have continued to pave the way for the insurance firm as its policyholders have been commending it, while new customers are making the organisation their choice.

The company’s managing director, Mr. Ben Ujoatuonu, said that the company is presently meeting all its obligations, especially in the area of prompt claims settlement to clients and other stakeholders, adding that the insurer is liquid enough to discharge its responsibilities as the need arises.

“We have a competitive edge in claims settlement through investment in state of the art communication and information technology thereby enhancing our operational efficiency and offer to pay off legitimate claims in a jiffy after the execution of discharge voucher. We have a tractable but reduced claims process circle,” the CEO said.

Confirming the issue, the Chairman, Manny Insurance Brokers Limited, Kayode Okunoren, said Universal Insurance has a rich heritage of professional practice in Nigeria, stressing that this heritage is being sustained.

“It is the belief of Management that the desire of Universal to forge collaborative relationship with brokers through the Nigerian Council has f Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) platform will be achieved,” he stated.

He said the insurer has etched its name amongst brokers’– friendly companies operating in the country today.

Apart from Okunoren, many brokers equally endorsed the company whilst attesting to how their claims were promptly settled by Universal Insurance Plc, even as they implored other brokers to place their clients’ risks with the company, stressing that, there is no hassle in getting claims paid by the Insurance company.

In a related development, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) a body also known as Nollywood industry, chose Universal Insurance to provide it with Group Personal Accident Insurance policy.

The group has about 150, 000 members spread across the country.

According to the actors, the development was a dream come true for them as they were always exposed to varying degree of occupational hazards without any form of compensation, adding that, the unveiling of the insurance cover for them symbolised unity of purpose and provided sense of belonging.

Speaking on the scheme, Don Pedro Obaseki, Former Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the AGN expressed his delight for the scheme, saying for the first time in the history of AGN, the Actors now have insurance protection, noting that it is a wonderful experience and something the group have been looking forward to.

“It’s commendable and forward-looking and this is going to further leapfrog the industry and Actors Guild into another level in the sense that if you have the history of our members, you find out that Nollywood members always have health-related issues. So this will go a long way to trying to checkmate that and also create other health awareness amongst our members”, Obaseki, Founder/CEO, ACC Broadcast Multimedia Ltd said.

Some of the claimants that have enjoyed the firm’s prompt claims response are: NTA-Star TV Network Limited which got N135.6 million and TVC Atlantic Vacation group, which received N105 million as  claims between 2016 and 2020 under the Corporate clients, Akinwekomi Collins Dele received N5.8 million claims even as Pastor Robert Udeagha got settled to the tune of N2.6 million under the Individual Client.

Meanwhile, Universal Insurance Plc has paid N1.2 billion as claims to its affected policyholders in the last five years.

The breakdown of the claims paid shows that the company paid N147.8 billion claims to its policyholders who suffered insured risks in its 2015 financial year, paid N111.1 million in 2016, N330.3 million in 2017, N334.2 million in 2018, while it settled N338.2 million claims in 2019 financial year end, bringing the total claims to N1.2 billion on nine classes of insurance.

Within the period of five years, the company paid N182.3 million claims on Bond, as it paid N11.4 million in 2016, N13.3 million in 2017, N5.9 million in 2018 and N151.7 million in 2019.

Similarly, it settled Engineering claims worth N178.1 million; fire claims to the tune of N412.1 million; general accident claims gulping N299.8 million, while aviation claims amounted to N10 million even as Marine insurance claims was N43.9 million.

Marine Hull insurance attracted N5.6 million claims with motor insurance attracting N156.8 million claims.

The Universal Insurance boss stressed that the firm is liquid to underwrite big insurance businesses in insurance sector of the financial industry, saying, the company is eyeing the retail market and will soon unveil some retail insurance products to deepen insurance penetration.

He added that the company has also imbibed the culture of training and retraining of its workforce as it believes in the human capital development, motivation and empowerment to drive policies and create values.

Universal Insurance, according to him, has equally deployed its personnel effectively to ensure that good hands are always on deck to drive the company’s growth policy to the optimum, a policy that has repositioned the firm on an enviable pedestal among its competitors in the marketplace, adding that, his insurer is now in a vantage position to provide valuable advisory services on clients’ portfolios.

“Universal Insurance serves commercial, institutional and individual customers through an extensive general insurance network, also providing financial services and risk management services nation-wide. The company’s leadership is as a result of its underwriting skills, innovative insurance solutions, financial strength, superior service and prompt claims settlement,” he noted.

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Business

NAICOM Licences Seven New Insurance Firms 

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Commissioner for insurance, Sunday Thomas and representatives of the newly licensed insurance outfits in Abuja on Friday.

By Sola Alabadan

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) issued operational licences to seven insurance companies in Abuja today, in line with Market Conduct & Business Practice Guidelines.

The new insurance firms are Heirs Insurance Limited (General), Heirs Life Assurance Limited, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited (life), Enterprise Life Assurance Company, FBS Reinsurance Limited, Salam Takaful and Cornerstone Takaful Insurance Company Limited.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who gave the operational licences to the five firms at NAICOM Head Office, said the Commission has issued operational licences to the firms to operate insurance business.
According to him: “The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) received applications from the under listed companies for registration as Insurance and reinsurance Companies to transact insurance and reinsurance business in Nigeria.
“In fulfillment of the statutory provisions of extant laws for the registration/licensing of insurance Companies, the general public is hereby informed that the Commission has commenced the process of registering the companies.
Consequently:” Heir Insurance Limited (General) has picked, Olaniyi Stephen Onifade as its Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited, picked, Akinjide Orimolade as Managing Director; Heirs Life Assurance Limited picked Abah Okoriko and Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited picked Fumilayo Abimbola Omo.

“FBS Reinsurance Limited is led by the former Commissioner of Insurance, Fola Daniel. FBS is bringing together professionals with proven experience from the brokerage and underwriting units of the industry including Bala Zakariyau, the former managing director of Niger Insurance who currently plays in a support unit of the Nigerian aviation industry, Ahmed Olaniyi Salawu of the Standard Insurance Consultants, and Wole Oshin Bankole of the Custodian Investment Plc that has just taken a plunge into the property sector by taking a large chunk of the United Property Development Company, a subsidiary of the UACN Plc.
“These crops of professionals represent those with firm beliefs that there is a big insurance potential in Nigeria and indeed, the African continent. Others are Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke, from Nnewi North, Anambra who rose to the position of the Head of Nigerian Civil Service before her retirement, and also, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, a lawyer, and an accomplished administrator and businessman with vast experience at the senior executive level in power and communication sectors.
“The reinsurance firm is required to pay the new N20 billion capitalisation stipulated by the commission under the reform exercise for it to start a business in the industry.”

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Business

Emirates Offers Travellers $500,000 Multi-risk Travel Cover 

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Emirates airlines has announced that it will provide travellers a multi- risk travel cover worth $ 500 , 000 on top of its current COVID-19 cover.
The airline stated that the new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from December 1 , and extend to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines , as long as the ticket number starts with 176.
Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive , Ahmed bin Al Maktoum was quoted as saying , “ Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID -19 cover for travellers back in July , and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging.
“ We have not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We are very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID – 19 cover , which is another industry first, to all our customers.”
He added, “ We aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021 by the launch of this feature .”
Highlights of the coverage include out -of – country emergency medical expenses and evacuation up to $ 500 ,000 , valid for COVID -19 ( contracted during the trip ) and other medical emergencies while travelling abroad.
It also involves trip cancellation up to $ 7 ,500 for non- refundable costs if the traveller or a relative ( as defined in the policy ) is unable to travel because they are diagnosed with COVID- 19 before the scheduled trip departure date , or for other named reasons – similar to other comprehensive travel cover products.

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Insurance

COVID-19 Pandemic Poses Severe Challenges To African Insurers, AIO Reveals

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By Sola Alabadan

The Africa Insurance Pulse launched today by the Africa Insurance Organisation (AIO) indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic posed severe challenges to Africa’s insurers, even as the insurers expect further uncertainty in the remainder of 2020 and 2021.
As in the past, this 5th edition of the Insurance Pulse titled “Growth perspectives of African re-/insurance markets”, is based on diligent market research and in-depth interviews with insurer, reinsurers and brokers operating in the continent.
The research was conducted by Faber Consulting on behalf of the AIO and sponsored by Africa Re.
Jean Baptiste Ntukamazina, Secretary General of AIO, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the global insurance industry largely unprepared. Those African insurance and reinsurance companies with a strong capital base, and the ability to distribute their products digitally were better equipped to weather the impact of the pandemic. This will enable them to capitalise faster on the business opportunities arising after the crisis.”

Capital & digitalisation as unique strategic differentiators in times of COVID-19
Those African insurers with a strong capital basis and already established digital distribution channels were better prepared to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The combination of both factors protected them against the worst effects of the crisis and enabled them to maintain their client relations even during lockdown periods or in a social-distancing environment. As these insurers strengthened their market position during the pandemic, they will be even stronger in capturing those business opportunities, rising in the future.

Regulators focused on protecting African policyholders
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, regulatory authorities have given re-/insurers more time to cushion the impact from the sudden contraction of the economy. At the same time, they encouraged re-/insurers to pay claims promptly. Those re-/insurers operating according to risk-based capital regimes were better prepared to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr. Corneille Karekezi, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Africa Re said: “Insurance regulation in Africa has significantly improved in recent years. Various regulators have pushed ahead, mandating the implementation of risk-based capital schemes or capital increases, as well as improved operations and risk management. At the same time, we witness rising protectionist efforts to retain insurance and reinsurance premiums locally. Regulators should assure that in particular in times of economic distress, insurers have access to the highly-rated risk capacity and expertise that well-diversified reinsurer provides. Indeed, some recent catastrophes, including large natural catastrophes or man-made claims in South Africa, Cameroon and Lebanon, and in addition to the threat presented by COVID-19 potentially related claims remind us that some exposures can quickly exceed local capacity.”

The pandemic will change the African insurance landscape & reduce top-line of insurers
Senior executives predict that COVID-19 will lead to an accelerated consolidation of Africa’s insurance industry, eliminating those companies with limited resources and fragile processes. Such a shake-out would strengthen the continent’s insurance markets and benefit policyholders through higher security and a drive for more innovation.
Executives expect an improved risk awareness among consumers, leading to higher demand for insurance products. However, executives are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the income of African households. They expect that policyholders will limit their spending and favour savings for fear of a reduction in income or job losses. This, in turn, will affect their insurance purchasing behaviour, ultimately leading to a decrease in premium income.
Andreas Bollmann, Partner at Faber Consulting, commented: “Despite the impact from COVID-19, Africa’s insurers and reinsurers remain confident of the fundamental growth potential of their market. They believe that the effects of the pandemic will be offset by an accelerated digital transformation, supportive government and regulatory policies, and increased risk awareness by consumers.”
For the remainder of 2020 and 2021, Africa’s insurance executives expect a continuation of the high level of uncertainty. Re-/insurers have to maintain adequate solvency, ensure operational resilience and remain responsive to customer needs. In 2020 insurers introduced large-scale transformative investments to redefine their core value proposition, optimise operations, update technology and to build a workforce for the future. In 2021 they have to continue on this path of strengthening their competitiveness and thus contributing to a more robust marketplace.
AIO was established in 1972 in Mauritius as a non-governmental organisation recognised by many African governments.

Currently, the AIO has 365 members, 345 of them from 47 countries in Africa and 15 associate international members from 9 countries.

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