By Favour Nnabugwu
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has approved the 2015 financial accounts of 48 out of the 54 insurance companies in the country.
It was also gathered that the apex insurance body has approved the accounts of two insurance firms out of the 12 firms that have submitted their accounts for the year.
Vanguard investigations revealed that out of the 54 insurance companies that submitted their 2015 accounts, NAICOM approved 48, and queried the accounts of three companies namely Great Nigeria Insurance, Nicon Insurance and Universal Insurance Companies; while it referred the accounts of African Alliance Insurance Company to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC). The status of the accounts of two companies namely Investment and Allied Ins plc and Goldlink Insurance Plc were classified as “Response to Query under review”, and “Review in Process” respectively.
Out of the 12 companies that submitted their 2016 financial statements, NAICOM approved the accounts of two companies namely FBN General Insurance Company and Wapic Life Assurance Company. However the status of the 2016 accounts of Custodian Life Assurance Company and Custodian and Allied Insurance Company were classified as “Response to Query under review”.
The status of the accounts of the remaining eight companies were classified as “Review in Process”. They are Wapic General Insurance, Ensure Insurance, Continental Reinsurance, Law Union and Rock Insurance, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance, Zenith General Insurance and Zenith Life Assurance.
NAICOM regulation requires insurance firms to submit their financial statements on or before March 31st, else they would be barred from engaging in insurance business activities.
The Commission affirmed that it would take action against officials responsible for financial reporting, as well as publish the compliance status of insurance firms on its website for public guidance.
NAICOM maintained that the decision to impose sanctions on such companies became necessary, as their default deprives the Commission, policyholders, insurance intermediaries, analysts and other stakeholders of the relevant information about their performance and financial conditions.
The Insurance Act imposes a daily fine of N5,000 on firms that failed to meet the March 31st deadline for the submission of their accounts.
“The Commission is poised to implement relevant measures to discourage companies from filing late returns and sanction errant ones appropriately. Amongst others, this will include a detailed review of their accounting and financial reporting systems, restriction of certain activities until relevant returns are filed; action against officials accountable for financial reporting as well as publicising the compliance status of insurance institutions on our website for public guidance,” it said.
NAICOM also advised boards of companies to take interest in the timely filing of returns, which, incidentally, contain information they need to effectively perform their oversight function, adding that the non-rendition of returns is an indication of the failure of the Board. It noted that to facilitate the timely rendition of returns, it will carry out a review of the current returns requirements and streamline them for more efficiency in preparation and submission.
It added that the transition to electronic submission will commence this year, and asked companies to send in their suggestions on areas for improvement not later than February 10th.