By ROSEMARY ONUOHA
Majority of Nigerians can only embrace the compulsory insurance products as enshrined in Insurance Act of 2003, if government can compel organisations and individuals bidding for government contracts to show proof of compliance.
President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, Mr. Wole Adetimehin, who made this assertion, said that if the required enforcement is lacking, the laudable goals and underlining objectives of the compulsory insurances cannot come to materiality.
According to Adetimehin, the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM should liaise with various government agencies and parastatals to ensure that they don’t give out government contracts to companies and individuals who are not complying with the compulsory insurance.
He said “In pursuing enforcement of the compulsory insurance, we still have to partner with government. For example, the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, have their way and styles of doing things. As such, if you are bidding for any government job and you are not showing proof of Group Life Assurance, the BPP should not accept such bids, despite the length of time such bidder has been in operation.
“It is just like what is obtainable in NAPIMS, where you have to be registered before you can bid for anything in the oil and gas sector and you must have met some criteria.
“So enforcement is crucial. When we sit with our regulator, we can help because nobody knows it all. Moreover, everybody has one influence or the other, so it is high time we start harnessing all this resources to our own advantage and that is the only way out.”
Adetimehin however, stated that the late passage of the budget into law shattered all hopes and high spirits of witnessing a good first quarter in the year.
According to him, the late budget delayed any appropriation that could be done as no government arm or department was seen spending, because there was no law to that effect and no appropriation was done.
“The late passage of the budget constituted some form of frustration within the economy because our peculiar experience in this part of the world had always been that great majority of business people trade with the government. So, when the government was not setting the expected pace, it resulted into a very dull first quarter.
“All the states did not pay salaries in the first quarter because there was no budget to operate at the centre and all this affected businesses generally and our insurance sector couldn’t have been an exception. So, in terms of production, new businesses as well as consolidating on existing clientele of businesses, all have not been rosy in the industry.”
Adetimehin said that the enforcement of ‘no premium no cover’ policy of NAICOM is long overdue, if only to enhance the robustness of the industry as well as equip all operators better such that they can meet there obligations to the buying public.
“The second quarter can only be a little better because going by the bureaucracy in government no meaningful appropriation will happen until towards the tail-end of the second half, so all of this will continue to affect the performance of all the sectors and our insurance industry cannot be an exception.”
Adetimehin said that insurance awareness creation can never be enough, adding “If we are to tap into the expected result which is meant to grow our industry in terms of premium income while providing safety and protection for the general public or citizenry of this country, we need to go a lot further in awareness creation. In whatever form, I think we should be pursuing enforcement.”