By ROSEMARY ONUOHA
The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has said that the country is much likely to attain a sustained economic growth and development if it can adapt its insurance industry with innovative ways that will bring on board the generality of the country’s population.
Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel who said this noted that NAICOM incepted the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) in 2009 to among others enforce compulsory insurances and eradicate fake insurances in the country.
Daniel said, “This initiative has been vigorously pursued by the Commission across the six geo-political zones of the country. We are not hesitant to solicit support in the implementation of compulsory insurances in Nigeria especially as regards insurances of buildings and assets.”
Daniel stated that the Nigerian insurance industry has witnessed tremendous changes in recent times owing to the new reforms embarked upon by NAICOM.
“These reforms include the introduction of Risk Based Supervision, migration to International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) from the Nigerian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (NGAAP); Market Conduct Reforms, Claims Settlement Reforms, Financial Inclusion, etc, all geared towards developing the industry and improving the general perception about insurance,” Daniel said.
“Suffice it to say that these reforms are in line with the Federal Government’s vision 2020:20 of deepening insurance penetration to become the insurance industry of choice among the emerging markets in terms of capacity, safety, transparency and efficiency.”
Daniel stated that in order to ensure adequate understanding and build capacity amongst the stakeholders, the Commission did resolve to conduct series of workshops and seminars for all stakeholders.
Having also recognised the urgent need to develop the retail insurance market which has remained grossly untapped considering the vast population of the country, Daniel said that it became imperative for the Commission to incorporate micro-insurance and takaful as important vehicles for achieving greater insurance penetration in the country.
He said, “In collaboration with GIZ of Germany and other development agencies, the Commission in 2012 conducted a Country-wide Diagnostic study on the viability of micro-insurance in Nigeria. One of our goals was to generate at the end of the exercise, a document that will enable us take evidence – based decision on the issue of micro-insurance in Nigeria and also serve as a public resource in its own right. Indeed, the report of the study reveals huge potentials amongst the low income groups and was consequently adopted by NAICOM for the development of a micro insurance framework in Nigeria.
“Similarly, NAICOM recently released the Takaful Guidelines to the market and now is ready for implementation. Preparatory to the commencement of the operation of the guidelines, the Commission has embarked on a series of capacity building programmes for its management and technical staff in order to position the commission to effectively implement and supervise takaful operation in Nigeria.
“Again, to ensure that the insurance industry leverages the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act 2010 to further expand its market, the Commission developed a guideline for the industry. The guideline serves as a roadmap on how oil and gas insurance business should be conducted in Nigeria.
“As part of our continuing efforts at protecting the interest of policyholders, the Commission indeed strengthened its Complaints Bureau Unit. The human and material capacity of the unit has been substantially enhanced to meet with the challenges of dealing with complaints emanating from the public against the industry promptly and professionally.
Also, in order to put a stop to the vexed issue of delayed or non-payment of insurance premium by the insured, the Commission commenced the implementation of section 50 (1) of the Insurance Act 2003 on January 1st 2013. This law stipulates that “the receipt of an insurance premium shall be a condition precedent to a valid contract of insurance and there shall be no cover in respect of an insurance risk unless the premium is paid in advance”. Invariably, it presupposes that no insurance cover shall be granted by any insurance company without having received the premium.”