By Patience Saghana
Strong protest from Insurance brokers is trailing the Federal Governmentâ€™s Group Life Insurance Scheme (GLIS). The protest is over the selection of insurance companies to insure federal government properties across the country for 2010.
The selection exercise is being alleged to be fraught with mischief and secrecy that does not show any iota of transparency. The government is also said to have added to the problem by pruning the number of insurance brokers that will participate in insuring government properties from 106 to just five.
Vanguard investigations revealed thatÂ some of the major criteria laid out for bidding for the federal government insurance account include for insurance companiesâ€™ to present the 2008 accounts duly approved by National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and tax clearance certificate. Some of the companies were denied the account because as at the time of considering companies to insure government properties their accounts had not been approved. However some underwriters were said to have been left out despite meeting the requirements.
In one of the protest letter to the Head of Service and copied Secretary to the Government of the Federation, NAICOM, Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) which Vanguard sighted said the petitioner duly meant all the conditions stated as bidding requirement yet the company was left out of the scheme.
African Alliance Insurance Plc, in its protest letter to the Head of Services said, â€œThis is to draw your attention to the mischievous exclusion of Africa Alliance Insurance Plc, a first class specialist life insurance company on the Group Life Insurance Scheme which is being packaged for all civil servants in your office.
â€œRegarding the Group Life Insurance Scheme of the Head of Service, we applied and submitted all the documents required. At the opening of the bid, we were present and our name was called and going through the bid documents, we were ticked to have submitted all the documents required
â€œAfter meeting all the bid requirements, we were looking forward to be one of the underwriters but when the results came out, our name has been excluded, This can only happen if the process is not transparent but we know that you will not condone dishonestyâ€.
Seventeen insurance companies have been selected for the 2010 GLIS whilst insurance brokers were prune from 106 that participated in the scheme last year to five this year.
Besides, insurance companies got N5billion premium for the scheme in 2008 and N4billion in 2009 but the 2009 premium is yet to be made public. The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr Stephen Oronsaye had said that the reason for the delay of 2009 premium for Group Life Insurance Scheme for federal civil servants had to do with the rate charged by insurance companies.
Oronsaye said, â€œThe fact that when I gave instructions that the bidding for year 2010 should not include any form of â€œpublic relationsâ€ or â€œoverriding commissionâ€ and allocation for training of my staff in your package and the rates crashed shows that a lot was wrong with the 2009 package. When transactions are concluded and the new rates are announced, you will be surprised at the differenceâ€He admitted that the five brokers are appointed as consultants to oversee the bidding process for the underwriters.