Insurance Consumers Association of Nigeria (ICAN) has assured insurance buyers that the association will at all time protect their interest for as long as their complaints are genuine.
Admiral Areola Isaiah (rtd), President, Insurance Consumers Association of Nigeria, said the association would act as an ombudsman for insurance consumers. Isaiah who led a team on a courtesy visit to National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in Abuja recently said the association had planned enlightenment programmes to educate the public on why they should take insurance cover.
He explained that many Nigerians had avoided taking up insurance policies because of non-payment of claims. â€œWe assist the commoners to fight for their rightsâ€, he said.
Mr. Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance commended the formation of the association but had wished that the association was in existence years ago, remarking that it would have helped to check the recklessness of some operators who through their non-payment or delayed payment of claims gave the industry negative publicity.
Daniel nonetheless said, the coming on board of the association is a welcome development for the industry and the Commission would collaborate fully with it to make sure that genuine claims were settled promptly by all operators.
He hopes that the consumer association would play the role of whistle blower for the insurance industry in other to make insurance operators play the game by the rule whilst the Commission would be ready to sanction any insurance company that slipped off the mark.
He assured the public that the industry would re-awaken the interest of Nigerians in taking up insurance policies. â€œWe are trying to enlighten them, we are trying to re-awaken their interests by giving them assurance that, the insurance mechanism is real and it pays.
NAICOM chief said, â€œMajority of the insurance companies pay claims to their clients and on time too. Although there are few cases of delay in the payment of claims and outright failure to pay claims, the National Insurance Commission is acting decisively by meting out appropriate punishment to those that donâ€™t pay claims on timeâ€.
In the last two years, Daniel recalled that the commission took over two companies for non-settlement of claims which served as a lesson to other companies.
He reiterated, â€œâ€˜They must pay claims, not justÂ paying claims but paying on time and paying appropriate compensations as agreed under the contractâ€™.
Insurance Commissioner also used the occasion to reiterate the commissionâ€™s determination to ensure that Nigerian laws as they relate to compulsory insurances were complied with as currently packaged under the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI).Â He said, â€œOne of the major components of compulsory insurances in Nigeria is that of insurance of public buildingsâ€. He bemoaned that a situation where buildings collapsed and leaving scores of people dead or injured without compensation should not be encouraged.
According to him, â€œIt is a national shame to see people being brought out dead from collapsed buildings. All these buildings are supposed to be insured, and I do recognise that, no matter how much you pay to compensate victims, it does not compensate for life reallyâ€.
â€œBut, I think, one of the essence of that compulsory insurance is to instill responsibility into all that are connected with putting up these buildings â€“ the town planning authorities, the architects, the surveyors and landlords,â€™â€™ he said.