BY ZAKA KHALIQ, Lagos |
The insurance industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is set to sanction underwriting firms owing insurance clients huge unpaid claims, it was learnt.
The industry is currently owing over N40 billion in unpaid claims, according to market analysts.
To this end, the regulatory body is currently compiling the list of insurance firms that are yet to pay their huge unpaid claims with the motive to sanction the erring firms.
Speaking at the 2020 insurance directors’ conference, organised by NAICOM and the College of Insurance & Financial Management (CIFM) in Lagos, yesterday, the commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, noted that, underwriters must pay utmost attention to payment of claims, especially, at a time the industry is nursing negative public perception.
While calling on insurers to be responsive to the plight of their clients in prompt settlement of claims, he equally charged operators to strengthen their human and financial capital for effective participation in big ticket risks.
He said it has been observed that the gains of domestication policy of the government as enshrine in the Nigeria Content Development Act 2010 is gradually losing its meaning for the insurance sector.
“More businesses especially in the oil and gas and the Aviation sectors are now being re-insured abroad. Of more concern is the declining participation of life companies in the annuity business which is the emerging business for our industry. These are the areas where the industry can impose itself on the economy through the control of funds for national development,” he pointed out.
Charging operators on the need to invest massively in awareness campaign about insurance, he said, there seem to be a consensus that public perception of insurance still remains very low largely due to lack of awareness by the public.
Another lingering issue that has continued to hurt insurance business in the country, he said, is the total lack of understanding of the business of insurance and the benefits that are offered, adding that, the strategy must change, insurance institutions must make themselves visible in all geo – political zones in the country and must take marketing of insurance products to a higher level than the present.
In his presentation, the head, Augusto Consulting, Mr Jimi Ogbobine, said most insurance companies don’t have in-house investment policy while others have outdated investment policy, adding that, insurance industry are not making enough from investment, because they don’t have investment analysts on their board.
He charged insurers to utilise opportunities in investment to boost their investment income, especially, the life arm who has long term funds to investment, noting that, increase in investment income will allow the firms give good returns on investment to their shareholders, investors and other stakeholders.