In a bid to secure Nigeria’s national assets, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is seriously taking into account the effective implementation of Compulsory Insurance. Important steps are being taken by the Commission this year 2020 in certain aspects of its statutory responsibilities while all stakeholders are urged to work in concert toward building a stronger insurance sector.
Sunday Thomas, who is the Acting Commissioner for Insurance revealed this in his keynote address at a seminar for Insurance Journalists which opened in Kano today, he also said that the agency will soon unveil the second phase of the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative, MDRI which will mark out clear targets and tasks for all stakeholders in the industry.
When Mr. Thomas was Deputy Commissioner, Technical, of NAICOM, in 2017, he revealed that the Commission was working to ensure the success of its major priorities including the MDRI, between 2017 to 2020.
He said then that NAICOM, was posed to further grow the Nigerian insurance industry by 2020.
To actualise the dream the agency began strong collaboration with state governments to ensure the effective implementation of the second phase of the MDRI.
The MDRI is aimed at addressing the issues of compulsory insurance products, insurance agency system, fake insurance institutions and risk based supervision.
It is a plan that aims to bring about necessary reforms in the areas of industry capacity, market efficiency and consumer protection in the Nigeria insurance market.
Thomas at the seminar, said, “Going forward, we shall vigorously pursue the continued implementation of Compulsory Insurances in every nook and crannies of the Country. We are certainly not unaware of the challenges inhibiting the successful implementation of these classes of insurance thus far hence, our resolve to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure a seamless drive.
Indeed, the successful implementation of compulsory classes of insurance across the nation will ensure adequate protection of our strategic National Assets. We will be working with the relevant security agencies to guarantee effective and efficient monitoring of compliance.”
He briefly spoke on the ongoing recapitalization of the industry which he hoped would be concluded by December 2020.
The essence of the recapitalisation is a move to ensure that the industry becomes more robust in its technical competence and financial base, building confidence, trust and enhancing market value, said the Commissioner, which he explained aims at repositioning the sector for self-actualization in terms of growth and development.
He also noted that the financial inclusion strategy has been central to the Federal Government developmental plan and the Commission has over the years invested hugely in the development of financial inclusion mechanisms which includes the introduction of Microinsurance and Takaful Insurance products.
“The introduction of these lines of insurance is intended to deepen the penetration of insurance in the country and bring into the fold majority of the populace that are hitherto excluded. So far, some milestones have been recorded in this regard with three standalone Microinsurance and four Takaful insurance companies already granted approvals.”
Speaking further, Thomas said the Commission would continue to deploy more energy and resources in building public trust and confidence in insurance despite years of poor perception.
“In this regards, your optimum support is required as whatever you write or report about the industry will go a long way in building or destroying the fragile image of the sector. I will therefore implore you to carryout thorough investigation before writing or reporting any contentious issue about the sector. You are all professionals and we have so much respect for you in that regard.”, he said.
The public he said is becoming more exposed and knowledgeable about the workings of Annuity, which he said will continue as the future is looking very bright for the business as we have witnessed. This has also shown a positive growth in trust and confidence in the sector, he pointed out.
The Commission he continued is committed to ensuring financial soundness and viability of the insurers and the adequate protection of policyholders at all times,adding, “These will continue to be part of our regulatory priorities. We will continue to ensure that genuine claims are promptly paid while also ensuring a reasonable protection of investments of shareholders.”
In demonstrating its willingness to protect the policyholders, the Commission has further strengthened its Complaint Bureau Unit to respond to public complaints over claims settlement, he revealed, stating that available statistics have shown that there have been great improvement in this area.
Ensuring the right pricing of insurance products and effective deployment of technology for ease of transaction are among the key areas the Commission will be emphasising this year, assured Thomas.
“Digitalisation of insurance business is no longer an option, but an imperative which we all have to work towards its actualisation. As we may all be aware, the industry is currently lagging behind other financial services sectors in this area.
The Commission is working vigorously to see that all its operations are digitalised. The year 2020 is a year for us to turnaround the fortunes of the industry and this cannot be accomplished without digitalising our processes and encouraging the industry to imbibe same.