The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has revealed plans to work on statutory deposits of insurance firms to settle unpaid claims, while the chief executives of companies whose deposits are applied to such would be discharged from official duty.

This Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, disclosed this at the ongoing Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) 2017 Professional Forum in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He noted that the Commission had received requests from claimants to apply companies statutory deposits to settle discharged claims, as stated in the law, stressing that the process had already commenced.He said the Commission has also beamed its light on intermediaries that hold back clients and companies’ money or collude to steal or corruptly keep it, adding that such actions are criminal and would be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Kari said NAICOM and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had recently agreed to establish a joint task-force to among other things, ensure corruption is weeded out of the insurance industry.

“We are however alarmed by the incessant complains of failure of insurance companies to settle genuine claims and discharge claims to policyholders. These sad failures include the companies’ inability or refusal to settle inter-company balances.

“These claims and balances have risen to an unacceptable level where again we are now required to withdraw the self-regulation option given operators to total enforcement of the law,” he said.

The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, urged insurance operators to embark on massive sensitisation and develop products tailored toward needs of the public, and called on the operators to use their operations to create wealth and collaborate with the government on infrastructural development.

He told the operators to also collaborate with higher institutions to boost insurance knowledge, stressing that his administration would continue to provide the conductive environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, His Royal Highness, Oba (DR) Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, charged insurance operators to play according to stipulated rules, adding that insurers should not take up businesses and go about praying that claims should not come.

The President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Funmi Babington-Ashaye, said the theme of this year’s Forum of Insurance Professionals:
“Solvency, stability and Growth-exploring Possibilities,” was specially and carefully chosen to draw attention to some of the critical challenges currently facing the Industry. This is so that, as a collective, the participants can evolve strategic solutions for the benefit of Industry.

“When the economy was growing at an impressive rate and prospering, all sectors, including the Insurance industry, also flourished. Similarly, since the economy has been experiencing serious macroeconomic challenges, which currently manifest in sharp drop in productive and economic activities, high unemployment and crime rates, delinquent credit facilities and failure of many businesses, the insurance business is inevitably affected. In fact, the need to meet insurance obligations has actually increased with these challenges,” she said.

She noted that although the nation has, happily, exited from recession, operators must acknowledge the fact that many businesses and individuals are still going through financial and economic crises caused largely by happenings in the local and global business environments, which they and insurance practitioners have no control.

She said the challenges therefore raised the need for insurance companies and practitioners to explore strategies that will ensure that their entities remained solvent, and are able to weather the storm, irrespective of the dynamics of the business environment.

As an industry that indemnifies investors and risk takers, she said insurance underwriters must remain stable, strong, resilient and financially solvent enough to meet emerging obligations. How to achieve these goals in a sustainable way is part of the objectives of this year’s forum, she added.