Nigeria’s insurance sector regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has reiterated that it will not soften its stance on compulsory insurance as compliance enforcement commenced nationwide.
Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari said enforcement of compulsory insurance will safeguard and protect innocent third parties.
In a keynote address during a training for personnel of relevant organisations on enforcement of compulsory insurance in Abuja, Kari lamented that the level of compliance with compulsory insurance in the country is still very low.
He said the timing of this training could not have come at a more appropriate time especially as ‘’we prepare to launch the second phase of the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) which has the enforcement of compulsory insurance as one of its major components’’.
According to him, not much could have been achieved in the area of enforcement if officers and men of the various organs to drive the enforcement are not knowledgeable of the products or laws they are to enforce.
On the other hand, he noted that enforcement would become easier if individuals and entities meant to consume these products are made aware of the benefits inherent in the consumption of these products.
So, a key objective this training is meant to achieve therefore is to ensure that both the enforcers and the consumers are sufficiently and adequately trained.
He added that compliance and enforcement of compulsory insurance are indeed fundamental to the growth of insurance business not only in monetary terms but in helping to safeguard and protect innocent third parties.
He said: “There is no doubt that compliance with the laws on compulsory insurance will go a long way to mitigate the adverse exposure to disaster by individuals with access to public places.
“While the Commission is making efforts for the re-launching of the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI), an awareness campaign is being run concurrently in the media to better inform the general public of the respective compulsory classes and their benefits.
“The Commission has started reaching out to state governments to domesticate these laws to enable easier enforcement within their jurisdictions. When this is successfully accomplished, it is our optimism that it will drive penetration and contribution of insurance to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the country.
“The importance of compulsory insurance is evident in all spheres of life as it guarantees a form of protection and compensation to victims provided that they are insured, hence they do not have to bear huge financial burden. It also serves as a form of social assistance for the vulnerable people in the society.
“To the economy, the government would not have to bear the burden alone during catastrophic events such as natural disaster, fire accident thereby saving the government money which can be channeled to augmenting the needs of the citizenry, providing infrastructures and creating employment among others.”
There are six compulsory insurances in the country. They are Group Life Insurance in line with the PenCom Act 2004, Employers Liability in line with the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1987; Buildings under construction-section 64 of the Insurance Act 2003; Occupiers liability insurance under section 65 of the Insurance Act 2003; Motor Third party Insurance under section 68 of the Insurance Act 2003 and Health Care Professional Indemnity insurance under section 45 of the NHIS Act 1999.
NAICOM’s Head, Corporate Affairs, Rasaaq Salami in a statement explained that the Commission successfully resolved 218 complaints resulting in the settlement of claims worth N5.475 billion to aggrieved policyholders last year.
He stated that the Commission was working on and at the verge of resolving a total of 650 ongoing cases from 2014 which are all at different stages of conclusion.
He noted that not all resolutions were in favour of the complainants as in some cases, the underwriters were right in repudiating the claims, adding that a case was withdrawn by the commission because it was found to be fraudulent.
The statement read: “The Commission received a total of 413 complaints from aggrieved policyholders against insurance entities in the year under review. In resolving the disputes, the Commission held adjudication meetings and had direct contacts with all parties involved. The Commission is working on and at the verge of resolving a total of 650 ongoing cases from 2014 which are all at different stages of conclusion.
“NAICOM will continue to strive hard to ensure protection of policyholders, beneficiaries and third parties of insurance contracts. Note that not all resolutions were in favour of the complainants. In some cases, the underwriters were right in repudiating claims.
“A case was withdrawn because it was found to be fraudulent, five cases were referred to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) over non-payment of pension, and another was transferred to the National Pension Commission (PenCom). Cases that are found to be subjudice were not treated but left to the courts to do the needful.
“Cases not resolved are still being looked at by the Complaint Bureau Unit in the Commission.”
NAICOM urges aggrieved members of the public to send their insurance complaints to it through email on: email@example.com”, he added