By Ebere Nwoji
Insurance industry regulatory authority, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has raised the alarm over what it described as ‘executive recklessness and timidity’ in the insurance sector.
The commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, who made this observation at the 2016 Insurance Professionals’ Forum held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said this calls for collaboration between his office and the educational arm of the industry, the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria(CIIN) to rid the insurance profession of existing bad eggs.
He said the problem is more complex when it comes from top officials in the insurance industry.
“The case of the bad professional who is at the top is more complex. (OATT). We have found executive recklessness and/or timidity at the very top of the executive ladder in some companies. Executives that have feign ignorance when asked to give account of their companies’ misconducts. While some have blamed the chairman or directors, some have simply claimed unawareness. Directors including executives seem oblivious of the fact that their actions can lead to criminal prosecution,” Kari observed.
According to him, although there had been chairmen that were overbearing, any professional on the seat of a company’s executives, should know that expectations from him are onerous.
He said the insurance professionals’ role in board oversight responsibilities is to bring in his professional competence and ethical orientation into play in board deliberations.
“In this regard, he is expected to provide explanations and clarifications on issues when necessary in the course of the board’s work. This is more so on technical insurance issues. He is also expected to bring the professional orientation of integrity and objectivity in his contribution in board’s decision making. The insurance professional should use his membership of the board to raise the quality of discussion in board meetings and, over time, assist other directors in developing improved perspective on insurance and ethical issues”, he stated.
According to Kari, as a member of executive management, a professional insurer should ensure that the information contained in board papers are accurate and complete in terms of what the board should know about the insurance entity and reasonableness of explanations offered for any matter being presented to the board for special attention or deliberation.
The commissioner expressed the regret that instead of this, he finds the reverse situation where in absolving themselves, the directors blame management for corporate misconduct.