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Experts urge insurance, pension operators on innovative business approach 



Some financial experts have charged operators in the insurance and pension industries to adopt more creative and innovative ways in their business approaches.

They gave the advice at the 8th annual national conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE), held in Lagos.

The theme of the conference is, “Role of Insurance and Pension in Building Sustainable Economic Growth under the New Government.”

The experts said that the operators must develop new products and promote excellent service delivery to grow the sectors.

In his contribution at a panel session, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Scib Insurance Broker, Mr Shola Tinubu, urged government at all levels to provide an enabling environment, backed by relevant regulations, to grow the sectors.

Tinubu advised the regulators to give the operators the liberty to choose their own ways of raising capital.

He said, “In the insurance sector, capital has been driven by statutory requirements.

“We are talking about the regulator mandating the players to get certain quantum of capital without creating grounds needed to raise it.

“It means that companies have to strive for capital just to stay in business and what has happened in the various rounds that we had was that there was no creative idea for channeling the capital.”

According to him, “If any company decided on its own to go to the capital market to raise capital, such a company will channel that effectively for the growth of the business.”

Tinubu noted that the industry needed a situation where operators would initiate capital level and then use it to follow up investment ideas.

The Managing Director said it was imperative for investment managers to digest investment ideas and identify the type they needed.

He explained that operators did not need capital for the sake of raising it, but for investment in opportunities that would yield higher returns.

In his view, Managing Director, ARM Pension, Mr Wale Odutola, said that every household had a need for basic insurance and basic pension plan.

Odutola, represented by Mrs Abimbola Suleiman, Executive Director, Investment, ARM Pension, noted that insurance and pension had gone a long way in improving the lives of people.

He explained that government alone could not engender sustainable economic growth, as such, insurance and pension should be encouraged among the rural dwellers to better their lots.

“When insurance handles risks for businesses and the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) takes care of pension liabilities, this will go a long way to ensure productivity and growth in the financial sector.

“There are currently nine million people in the CPS net, but this is abysmally low when compared to the nation’s population.

“Hence, there is need to get all state governments involved and the participation of the informal sector in CPS,” he said.

Ms Prisca Soares, former Secretary General of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO), said that lack of skilled manpower, especially in the area of dearth of Actuaries, was challenging the insurance industry.

Soares noted that the industry needed to take a deliberate attempt to develop its manpower and solve this major challenge, with regards to financial reporting.

She explained that investment in technology, needed for actuaries, had been a challenge over the years and had become more critical.

“When you do risk base capital, you need actuaries to get it right. The insurance industry needs conscious efforts to address this because it is critical to their business,” she said.

Also, Chief Executive Officer, Pension Operator Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Mr Oguche Aguda,  said the insurance and pension sectors face the same challenge of public confidence.

Oguche represented by Mr Akinbola Akintola, Head, Research Department at PenOp, charged operators in both sectors to work on their image.

He added that if there was no confidence, there would not be growth and without that in the two sectors, the country’s economy cannot grow.

The Group Managing Director, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance(CHI), Mr Eddie Efekoha, harped on the need to enforce compulsory insurances and pension, as the era of non-payment of claims were over.

Efekoha, represented by Tunde Daramola, Director, Finance at CHI, urged both industries to be honest with their businesses, gain consumers’ trust and also bridge their expectation gaps.


Insurance: Number of unpaid claims worrisome – NAICOM



The Commissioner For Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, says recent efforts by NAICOM to review status of claims in the books of insurance companies and findings during onsite examination,  reveals  worrisome number of outstanding claims.

The commissioner also charged  Boards of insurance companies to support measures put in place by the regulator to tackle  challenges of unpaid claims.

Thomas, also the Chief Executive  Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) said this at the 2023 Insurance Directors’ Conference organised by the College of Insurance and Financial Management (CIFM) in Lagos.

The theme of the conference is: “The Board and Insurance Business Sustainability”.

According to him, the commission working with members of the Insurers’ Committee, have taken decisions and incepted measures designed to tame the menace of unpaid claims.

“We call on members of the boards of insurance institutions to support these measures by putting in place policies designed to tackle the menace.

“The commission will not hesitate to consider other regulatory measures to address the menace, ” he said.

Thomas highlighted some of the high-level issues observed by the commission during its just concluded  fourth batch of the onsite examination of some insurance institutions, using the risk-based supervision methodology.

The commissioner stated that NAICOM observed that some insurance firms embarked on inadequate policies and procedural manuals, and in some cases, non adherence to these policies where they existed.

He said some of the policies were not reflective of the specific requirements of extant regulations such as the Prudential Guidelines and Market Conduct Guidelines, among others.

According to him, there is need for directors to improve their understanding of the requirements of AML/CFT particularly, the recently introduced requirements regarding proliferation financing in the AML/CFT/CPF regulations 2022.

“Also, inadequate risk profiling methodologies and practices, absence of policies to protect Chief Compliance Officers and Chief Risk Officers from intimidation and victimisation.

” Inadequate board compliance policies resulting in companies breaching extant laws and regulations with no consequential action by the board.

“Inadequate focus of boards on risks inherent in the core or significant activities insurance companies such as underwriting, reinsurance, claims, investment and information technology, among others.

“Under-trading as the ratio of capital to premium of most companies are below standard threshold.”

According to the commissioner, these issues require urgent attention of the boards by way of adequate policies to ensure proper guidance in order to ensure sustainability of insurance institutions.

Thomas noted that companies did  not just die, people killed companies; as most of the issues that led to the collapse of companies resulted from governance challenges.

He said that NAICOM recently had to penalise some companies that had utilised unlicensed intermediaries in blatant breach of the Insurance Act 2003.

The commissioner stated that in recognition of the increasingly complex business environment, the commission had resolved to facilitate innovation and sustainability of the industry.

Thomas hinted that NAICOM had heightened its supervision and now focused on resolving broader policy challenges such as sustainability, climate risk and digitalisation, among others.

He said this would be done through regulatory policy initiatives that could facilitate the offer of essential range and variety of products and services that supported the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs).

In a presentation, Dr Lucy Newman, CEO, Africa Private Sector Summit suggested that the board of insurance institutions should focus on efficiency, diversify revenue streams and invest in innovation.

Newman charged the insurance companies board to also engage with stakeholders, embrace sustainability and corporate culture, among other options to sustain their businesses.

Dr Elias Omondi, Principal Innovation for Resilience, FSD Africa, stated that there was need for sound insurance supervision to protect policyholders and insurance companies from going broke and paying fair claims.

Omondi charged managers and directors of insurance firms to adhere to processes of checks and balances, in line with corporate governance and Risk Based Supervision (RBS).

Dr Nosike Agoke, Member, Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, advised that a third party independent body should be instituted to do the evaluation of the board of companies.

Agoke charged the board of directors to be more responsible in the discharge of their duties by effectively scrutinising agenda items brought before it for the first time before approving.

“It is unfortunate that the engagement the board has with its owners and stakeholders is minimal and tends to be reactive and defensive,” he said.

In her closing remarks, Mrs Yetunde Ilori, Chairman, CIFM thanked NAICOM for its support to organise an insightful conference for the directors and lauded the presenters for being exceptional in their deliveries.

Ilori also commended Mr Edwin Igbiti, President,  Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) for allowing the college to enjoy a level of independence and micro manage itself.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 150 board of directors of insurance companies and broking firms in the country attended the conference. 

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NAICOM warns Insurers against dealing with unlicensed brokers, agents



The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Friday warned insurance operators against dealing with unlicensed brokers and agents to facilitate insurance businesses.

Mrs Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu, Chairman, Sub-Committee on Publicity of the Insurers Committee,said this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the committee’s meeting in Lagos.

Nwachukwu, also Managing Director of Royal Exchange General Insurance, stated that NAICOM observed the practice during the ongoing Risk Based Supervision(RBS) in  some insurance companies.

“The  regulator spoke to us very strongly, to ensure that all the agents and brokers we deal with  are licensed up-to-date or renewed, as against doing business with brokers with expired licences or unregistered agents.”,she said.

According to her, NAICOM also recommended self regulation to  underwriters, regarding  RBS.

The sub-committee chairman disclosed that NAICOM directed that boards of the various underwriting firms should approve  and implement whistle blowing policy  in their respective companies.

Nwachukwu said the  committee also agreed on the need for the insurance industry to increase awareness on annuity and continue to build trust to ensure that the product line grows significantly.

“With the amount of fund in the pension industry, we should expect a lot of that to be downloaded into the insurance industry through annuity,” she said.

The sub-committee chairman revealed that NAICOM also expressed concern over the backlog of unpaid claims and charged the defaulting insurers to settle all outstanding claims as soon as possible.

She said that the committee resolved  that the unpaid claims should be publicised on the platform of the Nigeria Insurers Association(NIA) for first three months to encourage those with  lodged claims to come for it.

“After the three months and we see that the impact is still outstanding, companies may be mandated to do own  publicity.

“A lot of unpaid claims have been reported, but supporting documents were not provided, and as such they remain as outstanding claims for so many years,”she said.

According to her, the insurance operators further discussed the need for NAICOM to continue to engage the National Assembly to ensure the passage of  Consolidated Insurance Bill .

Nwachukwu noted that insurers had  also begun  the process of harmonising the ECOWAS  Brown Card to ensure that the same certificate is issued across all countries using the brown card.

She said the insurers also took a presentation from KPMG, as part of its planning for the insurance industry’s 10 years Transformation Roadmap.

According to the managing director, eight pillars were proposed to the insurance industry as part of the roadmap, which include: continuous improvement of the regulatory environment.

Nwachukwu said as part of the proposal, Risk Based pricing and Risk Based capital would become paramount.

She stated that increased awareness and improvement in market conduct and ethics was proposed as part of the transformational roadmap to the future that the industry desires.

The sub-committee chairman said that the presentation also suggested more partnership with non-insurers players, just as it is done in the banking industry.

She stated that the insurers were charged on digitalization and improvement of talents pool of the insurance sector and  supporting national economic growth plan.

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Tony Elumelu proposes increase in capital base of life insurance companies to N20bn, non-life to N30bn



By Matthew Denis

The Chairman of Heirs Holding Group and United Bank of Africa (UBA), Chief Tony Elumelu has proposed an increment for the capital base of Life Insurance companies to N20billion and that of Non Life Insurance to N30billion.

He made the disclosure during his keynote address at the opening session of the National Insurance Conference held in Abuja.

Delivering his speech, Elumelu said, “I propose we should increase the capital base of insurance companies to N20billion for life and N30billion for Non Life.

“We review the dichotomy in insurance authorisation, licences between the Life and Non Life while consolidated operators should have N50billion and let us use regulation to shape behavior and enforce compliance.

Elumelu tasked the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to focus on substance and things that shape the sector. He urged the regulator to focus on more important aspects of regulations and save taxpayers money for more catalytic action.

He advised all insurers to mandatorily contribute 0.5 percent of their revenue to drive industry awareness for five years which the Nigerian Insurance Association should administer professionally.

“Insurance broker capital base should be increased to N1billion and the regulator should allow the brilliant minds to come into the insurance sector thereby limiting years of experience to technical areas,” he said.

According to Elumelu, “With the right foresight and enabling environment, we shall see the transformation of the insurance sector in Nigeria. Let us emphasise that the regulator and the government have a critical role to play in ensuring that insurance becomes the right of every citizen in the country.

“In a society where the people are not insured they are exposed to financial uncertainties which do not only affect them but entire families and communities.”

Elumelu urged all hands to be on deck to reassure and eliminate the stifling policies, roadblocks and complacency in the insurance system by encouraging innovation and simple accessibility not as an option but a fundamental right to secure the future.

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