By Ebere Nwoji
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has decried the continuedÂ delay in the review of insurance Act 2003Â by the National Assembly, saying, the proposed insurance bill when passed, would ensure that policies are up to date and implemented in a timely fashion.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari,Â who stated this at the 2017 National Insurance Conference organised by the National Association of Insurance and PensionÂ Correspondents (NAIPCO) in Lagos, saidÂ the commission hadÂ made several attempts to review the ActÂ without success.
According to him, at the birth of the present administration, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun in February 2016,constituted a 10-member committee to review the Insurance (Consolidated) Bill,Â which seeksÂ to make the bill conform to the ideals of contemporary insurance practice as well as ensuring an efficient and effective insurance industry in the country.
He saidÂ the committee concluded its assignment in June 2016 but since then no action has been taken by the lawmakers to this effect.
According to him, the 2003 Insurance Act, when reviewed, would help the commissionÂ to maintain high standards in the authorisation, supervision and good conduct of insurance business, without compromising regulatory impartiality.
Kari, noted thatÂ insurance industry’s experience withÂ legislations in Nigeria could best be described as sweet and sour, adding that the insurance industry,Â had fallen victim to legislations over the years and the scars have remained very visible to date.
“In recent years, we have had legislations in Nigeria which have inadvertently inhibited the growth of insurance and its contribution to the nationâ€™s Gross Domestic Products. You may want to ask how?
“Only a few years back, the workmen compensation, which is a product of the insurance industry anywhere in the world was severed by a legislation, notwithstanding the resistance and position of insurance operators to the new legislation. The conflict of interest created by that legislation still lives with us. Of course, we are aware of the legislation that equally severed pension from insurance”, he recounted.
He said at the present stage ofÂ insurance development in Nigeria, the industry needs laws that conform to modern practice and laws that takeÂ into account the potential role or impact of insurance on policyholders, insurers, regulators and government adding that with society facing huge challenges, the role of insurance becomes ever more vital.
“In the meantime and within the ambit of the existing laws, the commission has widened its regulatory and supervisory roles on insurance entities with the aim of building the trust and confidence of policyholders and at the same time promoting the safety and soundness of the insurance industry.
“We will continue to work closely with the industry and other stakeholders, especially co-regulators in the financial services sector to promote a healthy insurance industry in Nigeria within the existing legislations”, he stated.
He noted that despite the good working relationship that exists betweenÂ the commission andÂ pear regulatorsÂ such as PenCom, CBN, SEC, NCC, etc, there exist conflicts created by legislations in certain areas where interpretations of sections of the law is viewed differently.