BY FAVOUR NNABUGWU
Wale Onoalopo, Managing Director of Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc has disclosed that Insurance companies in the country are settling genuine claims in line with international best practices.
He said that the industry under the strict supervision of the National Insurance Commission, (NAICOM) adopted Complaints under the headship of a distinguished retired justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice George Adeola Oguntade to ensure that underwriters pay genuine claims.
Onaolapo stressed that insurance which works on the promise to pay compensation for any insured in the course of eventuality, urged all policy holders to follow the simple due process in getting their claims settled whenever the need arises.
This process, he said entails that the policyholder, who had paid his or her insurance premium, must notify the underwriting firm immediately there is a loss and in case of say fire, the police must be notified as well. After that, the insured should put together the sum estimate of the claim and file it with the insurance company that underwrote the policy.
Consequently, the insurance company will investigate the claim for genuineness or otherwise and if genuine will also ascertain how much the loss is worth through the interpretation of the terms and conditions of the policy.
Having done all these, the insurance company will then make an offer of settlement to the policyholder and after agreement between both parties, settlement is made in form of the claim paid. Onaolapo said it is practically difficult if not impossible for any genuine claim not to be paid coupled with the watchdog role of NAICOM which ensures that insurance companies play by the rule.
According to him if any policyholder feels aggrieved, such a person could approach the Complaint Bureau of the NIA under the leadership of a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, very respectable Justice Oguntade.
The bureau, according to Onaolapo is founded on the principle of impartiality as NIA takes the back seat in the affairs of the bureau so as to give the public a free and fair hearing in matters brought against any corporate member of the insurance body. The bureau, he said, can be reached from any part of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory either through phone call or by written correspondence.
Nevertheless, the chartered insurer maintained that any aggrieved policyholder can still go to court as the association is not taking away the fundamental and constitutional right of any policyholder.
He maintained that the business of insurance practice in Nigeria has a great deal of probity and is comparable to that of other modern economies in the world, but that the difference in Nigeria, is that, there is still a lot of apathy towards the acceptability of insurance in the country. He enjoined Nigerians to take advantage of the benefits inherent in insurance and make it an essential commodity and a way of life if real economic progress and growth are to be made in the coubntry.