About 9,000 registered insurance agents are currently struggling to renew their licenses, thereby, slowing down insurance agency business in the country.
The struggle, it was learnt, arose from inability to scale the submission process hurdle after submitting the necessary documents for renewal through the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) portal.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by members of the Insurance and Pension Editors of Nigeria (IPEN) to the Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN) Secretariat in Fadeyi, Lagos, the president, ARIAN, Mr Odewunmi Kazeem said, of the 10,000 registered insurance agents in the country, about 1,000 were able to renew their licenses through the insurance regulator’s portal.
The president, who was represented by his vice, Mr Jegede Olatunji, noted that the regulator had stopped manual submission for license renewal since 2022, hence, directing every agent to use its portal for submission of necessary documents for license renewal.
This, he said, they did, fulfilling all the necessary requirements, but noted that the submission couldn’t still go through, adding that complaints had been made to NAICOM but they were still awaiting their response.
This development, he disclosed, has negatively affected their respective businesses as insurance companies were not paying commission on businesses generated by the affected agents for fear of being sanctioned by NAICOM.
To this end, he noted that some of the agents who can’t cope with this challenge have left the insurance industry into other sectors such as real estate for business survival, at a time the industry is struggling to increase insurance penetration.
While pleading with NAICOM to address this issue before it snowballs into a bigger issue that may sweep off more agents, especially retail insurance, from the market, he pointed out that their existence is currently at stake if the current situation persists.
“I believe the current commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, has a listening ear and has been the driver of increasing insurance penetration in the country. So, every avenue to increase this penetration should be empowered to carry out their civic duty that will aid this ambition.
“Registered agents are going through tough times now as there is currently not much difference between registered and fake insurance agents. Inability to renew our licenses has made some of us lose businesses that we were facilitating before. The earlier the regulator can intervene, the better for us,” he pointed out.
The national adviser of ARIAN, Mr Chinomso Eze said, the body had communicated to NAICOM through a letter about 8 months ago and it is still awaiting response, adding that, ARIAN president had also personally reached out to the regulator on the issue.
Similarly, the national treasurer, ARIAN, Jeremiah Okpako, disclosed that the body would be ready for any intervention prescribed by the regulator as long as it will resolve the ongoing challenge.
Earlier, IPEN president, Mr Chuks Udo Okonta, promised that his association would support ARIAN in its plan to deepen insurance penetration in the country, adding that the vision of IPEN tallies with that of ARIAN in the area of enhancing insurance acceptance in the country.
While calling on ARIAN for a robust media relationship with the new body in the discharge of its civic duties as expected, he disclosed that his association has come to revolutionise insurance and pension-reporting by focusing more on the pain-points and successes of consumers of insurance and pension services with the aims of putting every stakeholder on their toes to do the right thing for the betterment of both sectors.