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‘Pensioners welfare our top-priority’ Lagos Govt pledges

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The Lagos State Government recently said it would not relent in its pursuit to improve life for its retirees and had placed the welfare and wellbeing of its pensioners as top-priority.

Mrs Ajibola Ponnle, Lagos State Commissioner For Establishments, Training and Pensions made the pledge at the 96th Retirement Certificates Presentation organised by the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) in Lagos.

“Recently, the State Government through the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) and in collaboration with sister agencies launched an upgraded Lagos State Resident Identity Card (LAG ID Card).

“The card will include benefits such as  subsidised health care and transport services for our retired public servants.

“Please ensure you are registered with LASRRA to enjoy these benefits upon commencement,” Ponnle said.

According to her, the State Government has paid N1.113 billion as accrued pension rights into the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) of 295 retirees for the month of July.

The Commissioner stated that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration had paid over N43 billion as accrued pension rights to 11,644 retirees in its public service from May 2019 till date.

Ponnle said, “The State Government recognises the plight of our estimable workers who have served in the Lagos State public service and the need to safeguard their financial security after service.

“To this end, it implemented the payment of the new minimum wage six months after the new wage bill was adopted as law and with a higher amount than the approved recommendation in response to global and national economic challenges.

“The state also implemented the upward review of pension contributions from 7.5 per cent of employee and employer contributions to 8 per cent employee contributions and 10 per cent employer contributions.

“This is in line with the administration’s vision to cater for its workforce even in retirement.”

The Commissioner congratulated the retirees, wished them the best and advised them to carefully review the retirement savings options available for them to utilise their money prudently.

She charged them to contact LASPEC or the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions should they require clarifications or advice on their retirement benefit matters.

“Please embrace the joy and challenges of this new phase of life. Be prudent with your money and practice a healthy lifestyle to enjoy your retirement,” she said.

In his address, the Director-General , LASPEC,  Mr Babalola Obilana said the Sanwo-Olu’s administration deserve applaud for its constant support for the payment of pension obligations and the various policies initiated to better the lives of the senior citizens.

Obilana stated that the contributions of Lagos State to the success of the Contributory Pension Scheme in Nigeria was an undisputable fact.

“ Lagos State is a trail blazer in the industry with 10 per cent employer and eight per cent employee contributions remitted monthly into individuals RSAs after salaries are received.

“The Governor approved the automation of business processes in LASPEC to ensure first class service delivery to our dear retirees in order to accomplish the State Government’s goal of the immediate payment of pension entitlements upon retirement from the public service,” he said.

The Director General appreciated the efforts and contributions of the retirees whilst in the service, noting that the vision of a ‘Greater Lagos’ would have been an impossible dream without them.

Obilana urged the elder statesmen to beware of any individual or association who claim to be affiliated with the State Government and can process or fast track their pension entitlements for a fee.

Insurance

Leadway-led Consortium of Insurers pays N535m Group Life Insurance claims to Nigeria Police beneficiaries

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Leadway Assurance Company Limited, one of Nigeria’s  leading insurers, has, in consortium with other leading insurance companies – Sanlam Insurance, Mutual Benefits and LASACO, successfully disbursed the sum of N535 million in Group Life Insurance claims to 68 beneficiary members of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

In a ceremony at the Force’s Headquarters in Abuja, the consortium reiterated that the claims payment validates the benefits of procuring insurance policies for Nigerians, especially those whose noble profession consistently puts them in harm’s way.

Commenting at the ceremony that heralded the distribution of the claims to 68 beneficiary families of the deceased officers and those injured or rendered disabled in the line of duty, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, reiterated his belief that human life is valuable and would hence prioritise the wellbeing of all officers and men of the Force.

He stressed that his leadership would “promptly fulfil the obligation of providing insurance and other benefits to all Police personnel, who have sacrificed immensely for our beloved country by providing comprehensive welfare support aimed at creating an environment where every officer feels valued, protected, and motivated to give their best in service to our nation.”

He saluted the deceased and injured officers for their valour, unwavering dedication, and display of heroism during their service. He also commended Leadway and the consortium of insurers for their professionalism and commitment to promptly settling the claims.

Also commenting, the MD/CEO of Leadway Assurance, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, who represented the consortium, said, “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the departed officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation. As an organisation, we are fully committed to fulfilling our promise of providing financial security to our policyholders. This prompt claim payout to our heroes further demonstrates the benefits of insurance and our unwavering dedication to supporting the families left behind.

“This consortium is proud to be at the vanguard of protecting the financial wellbeing of the personnel of the Force and their families. We believe in the importance of honouring our obligations promptly and stand as beacons of trust for the insurance industry as an assured partner in safeguarding the wealth and wellbeing of Nigerians.”

Mr. Hassan-Odukale further emphasised the importance of Group Life Insurance as a safety net for Nigerians putting in the work, especially those who stay awake to guarantee the citizens’ peace of mind, no matter the risk to their lives.

“Group Life Insurance plays a crucial role in protecting the financial wellbeing of families when they face the loss of a loved one or are no longer able to cater to their loved ones or families as a result of death or fatal injuries. Our hearts and prayers go to our heroes, and we hope this payment will provide comfort and fortitude to the families as they navigate the future,” he added.

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Insurance Premium to spike in PH, Lagos, other airports over inadequate fire service

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The inability of wide bodied aircraft to take off and land at the Port Harcourt International Airport, on Thursday and Friday over inadequate fire risk preparedness will increase insurance premium of foreign airlines into Nigerian airports.

It was reported that a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to airlines, showed that the airport downgraded its fire category from level 7 to level 6, meaning large aircraft could not operate at the airport.

Meanwhile, the NOTAM also indicated that the airport also downgraded the approach lighting capability which means higher visibility will be required for landing in bad weather.

However, another NOTAM was issued on Friday evening stating that the fire coverage has been upgraded back to Category 7.

While speaking exclusively to over the inadequate fire risk preparedness, the Director of research, Zenith Travel Consult, Olumide Ohunayo, said inadequate fire tender at the Port Harcourt airport is an embarrassment to the nation and its aviation sector.

He, however, posited that the NOTAM would lead to increase of insurance premium to the Port Harcourt airport and others in the country.

The NOTAM would lead to loss of revenue to the airports and not a good look for insurance into the airport because an insurance company will cite it and use that to increase premium. We have an opportunity to improve our image because that shouldn’t have happened, we shouldn’t have an issue of serviceability and not providing an alternative for an international airport like Port Harcourt.”

He continued, “It was an embarrassment but kudos that we are adhering to safety standards by issuing necessary NOTAM and all parties are informed ahead so that their won’t be surprise during an emergency just like the Sossoliso crash. I think I want to take the positive side of the NOTAMS that they have issues with the fire fighting equipment and they had to downgrade because of the lack of service. That they won’t be able to have appropriate fire cover and why will alternate plans and serviceability be an issue if we comply with the maintenance schedule.

“Also, the FG approved money for the purchase of fire tenders and was that airport not considered as one of the airports to get one of the new fire tenders. There are lot of things to look into and appropriate investigation will reveal what transpired to know where to put the blame.”

Ohunayo applauded the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), over the release of NOTAM, saying before now, notice are not issued and that affected the ratings of the nation’s aviation sector internationally.

“It was good that they passed the NOTAM, in the past no NOTAM until the aircraft lands and you find out there is no fire cover. We have shown that we can be responsible by notifying appropriate organisations and I know the airlines especially Lufthansa airline suffers some loses because they have to divert their flight and lodge their passengers in the hotel and provide another mode of transportation at their cost,” he explained.

Corroborating Ohunayo, security expert and former military commandant at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Capt. John Ojikutu, said insurance premium on aircraft into Nigerian airports will be increased.

He, specifically said the incursion into the Lagos airport is of great concern to international airlines, saying that’s evident in their air fare into Nigeria compare to other neighboring African countries.

“It does increase the insurance into Nigerian airports not only into Port Harcourt but to all others. Go to other airports and see that the situations are not same or similar. While you talk of safety services in airports like Port Harcourt, the incursions into the Lagos airport is of concern to airlines like British Airways that why its air fare to London from Lagos is higher than the fare from Accra to London.”

Ojikutu who is also the chief executive officer, Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, said purchasing fire trucks alone without training requisite manpower and other anxiliary service providers is still not sustainable.

“The purchase or supply of tens of fire trucks for an airport is not sufficient to sustain or upgrade the level of the safety standards of an airport. There are other allied services like manpower, communication, water and hydrant services which are very necessary to complement the acts of the emergency services.

“During the Sosoliso crash of 2006 in Port Harcourt water was not in regular supply, hydrant was not available and so was communication between the fire and its allied services even when the crash was directly in front of the fire services building,” he stated.

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Anchor Insurance policyholders claim N1.42bn over insured risks

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Policyholders of Anchor Insurance Company Limited who suffered Insured risks in 2022 financial year, were compensated to the tune of N1.42billion.

The claims paid showed a 42.60 percentage rise when compared to the N997.42million compensated it made in 2021 financial year.

This N1.42billion claims also represents about 11 percent of the N13.15bn gross written premium the company generated in the year under review.

The N13.15billion premium translated to a 25.85% growth over the N10.45billion declared of 2021.

Speaking at the company’s 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos recently, its chairman, Dr. Elijah Akpan, informed the Shareholders that the risk-bearing outfit’s Profit Before Tax went up by 37.82 per cent from N1,02billion in 2021 to N1.41billion, stating that Profit After Tax increased to N1.22billion from N867.55million in 2021, showing a 41.01 per cent leap.

According to him, “whereas the Shareholders’ Funds jumped astronomically by 102.28% from N6.45bn recorded in 2021 to N13.05bn in 2022, the Company’s Total Assets grew to N18.56bn from N15.49bn in the corresponding year of comparison, representing a 19.81% increase.”

While stating that the company’s Solvency Margin moved up by 38.85% from 157% position in 2021 to 218% in 2022, the chairman noted that, “as a company that keeps its words, we paid out N1.42billion as claims to our genuine affected policyholders as against the N997.42million response from us in the previous year, showing 42.60 per cent rise in claims paid.”

He explained that, “as the volume of businesses transacted in 2022 outweighed what was done in 2021, it was only analytically natural that claims that would come from such a high transaction would equally be more.”

At a time most companies find it difficult to meet dividends’ demand, Dr. Elijah said: “we paid a dividend of 4kobo per share in line with our yearly practice of ensuring that Shareholders enjoyed their reason for investing in the Company,” assuring that the board would not fail to do more than the current figure whenever there was any quantum profit margin.

Speaking further at the meeting, the company’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Ebose Augustine Osegha, reiterated the socio-economic daunting situations which imposed untold hardship on the populace and the business community in 2022, saying, ‘we can only thank God for the eventual positive results recorded on all key indices.’

He explained that the company carried out a rebranding exercise on its logo and came up with a new world class Television Commercial which were launched during the year, stating that “these deliberate activities caused exponential excitement for the Anchor Insurance brand nationally as well as internationally and consequently shot up its awareness status, acceptance rating and market performance.”

He further added that in the course of the year being reported, the company created the Local Passengers’ Flight Welfare Scheme to cater for the different risks faced by passengers on the local flight routes, promising that ‘in 2023, we will look further into introducing more people-centred insurance products to the market.

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