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Culture, attitudes hinder insurance role in economic development — Kari

Commissioner for Insurance,Mohammed Kari, in this discourse reiterates efforts the Commission has been making to kick-start the second phase of the MDRI. Excerpts…

By Rosemary Onuoha

WHAT efforts is NAICOM making to improve on insurance awareness in the country?

In line with our strategic road-map, the Commission has set out reforms needed to re-position the Nigerian insurance sector to effectively serve our growing population and most importantly the financially under-serviced low-income segment. Notwithstanding Nigeria’s vast population, insurance had a mixture of myth, misunderstanding and ignorance defining it.

Alhaji Mohammed Kari, Commissioner for Insurance

Cultural issues and attitudes have continued to hinder the role of insurance in fast-tracking Nigeria’s economic growth. In keying into the federal government’s Financial System Strategy that visioned Nigeria of being a world’s top twenty economy by the year 2020, (FSS2020 development framework), the Commission initiated the “Market Development and Restructuring Initiative” (MDRI) in 2009.

The programme has among its objectives, the promotion of public understanding of insurance; the building of confidence on the Nigerian insurance market, the enforcement and monitoring of compulsory insurances in Nigeria so as to grow premium income for the benefit of the Nigerian economy, thereby increasing insurance density and it’s contribution to GDP. Having completed the first phase of execution which was devoted to awareness creation across the six geopolitical zones, the Commission is now at the verge of kick-starting the second phase of the MDRI project which is focused on implementation and enforcement of compulsory insurances across the country.

What is the statutory role of NAICOM?

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is the statutory body established to regulate and supervise the Nigerian Insurance Industry. The Commission derives its regulatory and supervisory powers from the National Insurance Commission and Insurance Acts of 1997 and 2003 respectively. As an agency of the Federal Government, the Commission’s activities are coordinated from our headquarters in Abuja.

Besides this, we currently have a control office in Lagos and four zonal offices in Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Ilorin. New offices and branches are being considered now to ensure wider coverage and support to consumers and providers of insurance services.

What are the compulsory insurances?

Some of these compulsory insurances enshrined in various extant laws of the country include motor vehicle (third party) liability insurance, builder’s liability insurance (buildings under construction), occupier’s liability insurance on public building, healthcare professional liability insurance as well as group life insurance. These compulsory insurances put in place by various legislation in the country including the Insurance Act of 2003, are imperative because they mainly protect the interest of the third party.

We went to Kaduna State to seek the support and collaboration of the Kaduna State Government in enforcing compliance with these compulsory insurances in the State as we intend to establish a physical presence there.

In the absence of our active presence, charlatans have moved in to deceive insurance consumers and government alike that they are offering genuine insurance products and protection. We believe this collaboration will open up several opportunities that will be to the benefit of the state as well as the insurance industry when consummated. We have developed a guideline that will make it for easy execution of the collaboration and partnership.


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