Niger Insurance Plc, one of the composite insurance groups in the country, said it would soon launch life annuity products in line with relevant provisions in the Pension Reform Act, 2004.
The firm said this was part of ongoing efforts to ensure that retirees in the country remain self-sufficient financially and live comfortably after active work.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Kolapo Adedeji, confirmed this when he fielded questions from newsmen in Lagos recently. According to him, the insurance regulator, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has given the insurance firm an approval to roll out life annuity products.
Niger Insurance believes that retirees deserve to truly enjoy their golden years with regular income for life, he added.
He noted that while there are different types of annuity products in the market, the pension law recommended only life annuity products which provides monthly payments for as long as the retiree is alive, adding “this exactly is the type of annuity the insurance firm intends to offer pensioners.”
The products, according to him, would further assist the underwriting firm to improve on its fortunes in the market to the delight of its shareholders even as the firm is particular about rendering qualitative services to the retirees as a socially responsible.
Adedeji also stated that Niger Insurance also has plans to offers policyholders an opportunity to save in expectation of deferred income, thereby providing a unique opportunity for them to earn a guaranteed regular income for life.
He also allayed the fears in the minds of most workers that their savings might not be enough to cater for their needs in retirement, saying the Niger Annuity Plan offers an income the holder cannot outlive no matter what happens in the future.
Section 4 of Pension Reform Act, 2004 provides that an employee can on retirement make withdrawals from his Retirement Savings Account (RSA) in the form of a programmed monthly or quarterly withdrawal based on his life expectancy or life annuity bought from a life insurance company.
The retiring worker can as well withdraw a lump sum from the balance in his RSA provided that the amount left in the account after the withdrawal is enough to fund a life annuity or programmed withdrawals of not less than 50 per cent of his annual remuneration at the date of retirement.
Retirees could also combine programmed withdrawal and annuity, they can buy an annuity that takes them from age 70 or buy deferred annuity from when they clock 70 years till they die.
If a retiree is disenchanted with programmed withdrawal when he earlier opted for, he can still convert to annuity but cannot change from annuity from programmed withdrawal.
“If you don’t want programmed withdrawal, you go for annuity, and even if you chose programmed withdrawal, the law provides that you can switch over to annuity. The only thing is that you cannot switch over from annuity to programmed withdrawal,” the National Pension Commission (PenCom) stressed.
He assured retirees who buy life annuity from the insurance firm should rest assured that they will get their entitlement as and when due in line with Niger Insurance’s tradition of ensuring easy and prompt payment of benefits to policyholders.
The company has resolved to ensure prompt payment of benefits to policyholders and as such has opened a dedicated account for claims and commission payment to prevent unnecessary delays in claims administration and settlement.
Adedeji also reassured clients and other stakeholders that the underwriting firm was being reengineered to deliver better service and innovative products to meet the needs of the insuring public and endear insurance to them.