By Rosemary Onuoha
NATIONAL Insurance Commission (NAICOM) says it is working on applying statutory deposits of insurance firms to defray unpaid claims and that it will sack the chief executive of any company whose deposit is applied.
Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, who disclosed this at the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) 2017 Professional Forum, noted that the Commission had received requests from claimants to apply companies statutory deposits to settle discharged claims, as stated in the law, stressing that the process has already commenced.
According to Kari, the Commission has agreed, as a punitive measure, to also publicise any company whose deposit is applied, coupled with having the chief executive of such company sacked. He said the Commission has also beamed its light on intermediaries that hold back clients’ and companies’ money or collude to steal them or corruptly operate insurance, adding that such actions being criminal would be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Kari said NAICOM and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had recently agreed to establish a joint task-force to, among other things, ensure corruption is weeded out of the insurance industry.
He said,“We are, however, alarmed by the incessant complains of failure of insurance companies to settle genuine claims and discharge claims to policyholders. These sad failure include companies inability or refusal to settle inter-company balances. These claims and balances have risen to an unacceptable level where again we are now required to withdraw the self-regulation option given operators to total enforcement of the law.
“Our industry is ailing while our profession is sliding into extinction. Symptoms of the ailments can be seen all around us. This includes aging workforce, low operating capital, scattered capacity and we spend our time crossing the Ts, dotting the Is but missing the point. We are an industry created on the principles of partnership but has failed to imbibe the culture of partnership. We have lost our stale justification for failure to learn and progress.
“Our persistent self-inflicted failure has distracted investment from our industry. It has increased skepticism in our consumers and most tragically it has attracted ‘clever and ingenious people’ into our assumed professional undertaking.”