Be serious with retail insurance business — NAICOM boss tells insurance directors

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The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, on Wednesday urged directors of insurance companies to take retail insurance business seriously in order to boost their fortunes across the country.

Thomas, also Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), gave the advice while delivering his opening address virtually at the 2021 Insurance Directors’ Conference in Lagos, with the theme “Insurance Industry In A Changing World”.

He also advised the directors to look at the issue of prompt claims payment within their level and deal with it decisively, to promote the reputation, perception and image of the industry.

“On the issue of development of insurance in the country, I will urge the directors to work closely with their management as a lot is expected from them at the top level.

“The commission is working assiduously to open up the market, particularly the retail end, conducting engagements with various agencies and state governments on the need to boost insurance culture across the country.

“However, the supply side which is the insurance companies must also be proactive with follow-ups in these places.

“If the industry is desirous of having significant impact on the nation’s GDP, it therefore must take retail business seriously with clearly spelt out direction.

“This also must be supported with massive awareness campaign about insurance products across the geo-political zones, taking into consideration peculiarity of each of the regions ,” Thomas said.

According to him, NAICOM also expects insurance directors to follow up on the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards – 17 (IFRS 17 ) in their respective companies.

The commissioner noted that directors of insurance companies must ensure that their entities are in full compliance and ready for the Jan. 1, 2023 , IFRS – 17 dateline.

“Sufficient capacity building engagements have been conducted and sub-working groups inaugurated by the commission to facilitate the migration,” he said.

Thomas informed the directors that the inspection of insurance entities, going forward,  would be on the Risk Based Supervision (RBS) approach .

“Volatility, dynamism and complexities in the operations of today’s businesses has necessitated the need for a risk-based approach to the way and manner the regulator conducts its supervision and inspection of insurance entities.

“ It is on this premise that the commission commenced the implementation of RBS of the sector.

“We incepted the conduct of a pilot inspection of some select companies in September preparatory to full implementation and the reports are now being reviewed,” he said.

The commissioner warned that any insurance company lagging behind in integrating into the NAICOM portal launched on Sept. 1 as directed , is inadvertently phasing itself out of business.

Thomas appreciated the directors for their support to the Federal Government in fighting the COVID-19  pandemic which has earned the industry the confidence of the government, while wishing them a successful conference.

“The future of insurance is arguably the future of our economy. We are all leaders in our own rights and the success or failure of the sector is in our hands as decision makers,” he said.

In her presentation, Mrs Nkemdili Begho, CEO, Future Softwares Resources Ltd., advised insurance companies to ensure that at least one digitally savvy director is appointed as a member of its board, as this affects the insurer’s bottom line and growth rate.

Begho also urged the insurance companies’ board of directors to help their firms build organisations that are able to absorb the shocks from operational risks and balance sheet flows.

Reports that a total of 203 directors of various insurance companies participated in the conference either physically or virtually.

The annual conference for Directors of insurance companies is organised to continually refresh the directors on their responsibilities to their various companies and to upgrade their knowledge on recent developments in the sector.

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