By Ebere Nwoji
Insurance sector operators in Nigeria have backed out of the Compulsory Automatic ECOWAS Brown Card Bureau treaty, which required every insurance firm operating within ECOWAS countries to compulsorily pay a certain percentage of their entire third party motor insurance account to the coffers of the bureau.
Although reports from the sub regional insurers meeting held in Lome recentlyÂ indicated that most franco phone countries within the sub region have commenced compliance with the treaty agreement while among Anglophone countries, Ghana, Liberia among others are already complying.
But Nigeria insurers said they would kick against the treaty, describing itÂ as â€œunfair and punitiveâ€ decision on the part of the sub regional insurance market.
Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Mr. Eddie Efekoha said at a press briefing that Nigerian insurers would prefer thatÂ each operating firm pays to the bureau a percentage of ECOWAS Brown Card motor insurance underwritten instead of asking them to pay a certain percentage of their entire motor insurance proceeds.
Efekoha declared: “NIA will kick against it. Taking my own company for instance, I do not know how many ECOWAS brown card policyÂ I issued in relation to my entire motor portfolio to be asked to pay certain percentage to a bureau. It is unacceptable but I do appreciate that these are treaties that are signed at higher level. IÂ thought it would be on the basis of if I issue a brown card policy, charge me, if I did not issue don’t charge me.â€
He added: â€œIf they are looking for funding and they felt that Nigerian market is big enough therefore they can generate a lot from usÂ it is unfair to beÂ asked to pay that way it is also very unfair to implement such policy. One other challenge we have is that Nigerian market has not been too involved in the affairs of the bureau and they capitalise on our absence to implement punitive policies and decisions we will take some steps in the days ahead.”
Speaking on this, Chairman Nigerian Bureau of ECOWAS Brown card, Mr. Tope Smart, said during the last month meeting, the issue of the compulsory ECOWAS Brown Card motor insurance paymentÂ was on the front burnerÂ of their discussion.
He however said that his committee resolved to conclude the third party motor insurance and Nigerian Insurance Industry Data Base issue as well as the electronic portal market issue, which they already have at hand before talking about the ECOWAS Brown Card issue to avoid making their members loseÂ focus.
According to him, for now, NIA members are paying attention toÂ third party motor issue to avoid losing focus and asÂ soon as they settle with that, they would face the ECOWAS brown Card issue.
Efekoha said the NIA has entered into partnership with the Lagos State Safety Commission to address the problem of incessant building collapses in the state.
According to him, the Lagos State Government is championing the course of compulsory building insurance in the country to ensure that cases of building collapses without compensation is tackledÂ and in case it occurs, victims will be entitled to compensation on account of insurance policy put in place by the owners of such buildings.
Furthermore he said, the insurance industry sees high prospect inÂ the rest of the year especially with the increased budget for capital projects which the federal government has executed this year.
This, he said is because part of the capital project voteÂ would come to the industry through the insurances of the projects.
Some ofÂ the capital projects, he noted, are on the verge of being executedÂ andÂ the executors are already talking to insurers.
Pointing out that the industry is besieged by lots of challenges some of which would be solved through engagements, also said NIA, as the umbrella body of insurance underwriters, has set plan in motion to develop a portal system where insurers will play together especially in the sale of motor insurance.
He expressed regret that out of the 120 million available statistics on the number ofÂ vehicles that ply Nigerian roads, only nine million have been off loaded in the Nigeria Insurance Industry Data (NIID),aÂ centralised database system, designed by the association to check activities of insurance fraudsters.