By Patience Saghana
The intervention of National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) compelled insurance companies to pay N821.9 million worth of disputed insurance claims arising from 106 complaints in 2009.
The complaints were filed with the Commission through its Complaints Bureau. The Bureau is a unit of NAICOM and was established in accordance with section 8(a) of the National Insurance Commission Act No. 1 of 1997.Â It serves as an organ through which members of the public submit complaints against insurance companies and intermediaries.
Though the Bureau is not an alternative to the court of law, where certain disputes necessarily have to be resolved but it is empowered byÂ section 8 of the National Insurance Commission Act No. 1 of 1997, which empowers the Commission to inquire into the operations of insurance companies and intermediaries.
Investigations reveal that N591 million or 71 per cent of the disputed claims paid by the insurance companies were settled through adjudication while others settled through direct correspondences between the Bureau and the insurance institutions.
Vanguard investigations reveal that the Bureau received a total of 298 complaints in 2009 up from 357 in 2008. The decrease in the number of complaints, according to theÂ regulatory body, is an indication that the level of complaints on unsettled claims is on the decline. It also shows that underwriters are improving in their claims settlement.
The bureau receives all insurance disputes arising from insurance policies issued by registered insurers, such as undue delay in settlement of genuine claims andÂ denial of liability, where the complainant is convinced that there is liability.
The number of complaints handled by the Bureau also indicates that the insuring public is becoming increasingly aware of the role of NAICOM as the government agency responsible for insurance related matters.
Investigations reveal that NICON Insurance Company had the highest number of 64 settled claims involving the sum of N626.280 million.
On the average, the nature of complaints received in 2009 includes delay in settlements of claims, bond related issues and pension matters. This is similar to the cases handled in 2008.