Stories by Ebere Nwoji

Zenith Insurance has recorded a gross premium written of N12.5billion, an increase of 12 percent from the N11.116 billion recorded in the previous year.

The company also recorded a gross premium income of N12.806 billion in 2017, up from N11.187 billion in 2016, while net premium income stood at N8.090 billion compared with N7.446 billion in 2016.

Similarly, fees and commission income rose by 37 per cent from N907 million in 2016 to N1.245 billion in 2017.
Also, the company’s financial statements, which were approved by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on the 20th of April 2018, showed healthy net assets of N23 billion, one of the highest in the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

The company has a solvency ratio of 634 per cent in 2017, meaning that it is able to cover its minimum regulatory solvency requirement six times over.

The results showed that net underwriting income also rose from N8.354 billion in 2016 to N9.336 billion while the profit before tax dropped to N4.750 billion from N5.927 billion in 2016 owing to the high claims, increase in management expenses and high taxation expenses.
However, the company’s stellar performance shone through with a return on equity of 15.5 per cent despite the strong economic headwinds in 2017.

The company’s claims paid out in 2017 stood at N6.7 billion, representing an increase of 36 per cent from the N4.7 billion paid out in 2016 and a total claims ratio of 58 per cent in 2017.

FG Urged to Pay Outstanding Pension Right to Boost Retirees Benefits

Pension Fund Administrators and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) have expressed optimism that expeditious release of the N97.55 billion accrued Pension Rights owed by the federal government from May 2017 to April 2018 will enhance payment of retirement benefits to pensioners. This is as modalities have been put in place for the take – off of the much awaited micro pension scheme.

The PenCom said at a recent media retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State that pensioners will begin to receive their entitlements as soon the money is released.
“The outstanding accrued rights of federal government employees who retired in 2017 as well as the amount due to those retiring in 2018, have been submitted to the federal government for appropriation in the 2018 budget”, PenCom said.

At a press briefing in Lagos, Monday, the Managing Director Stanbic IBTC Pensions, Eric Fajemision, said that the release of the outstanding accrued rights of pensioners by federal government will enhance the quantum of benefits paid out to pensioners. He said the PFAs are hopeful that the funds will soon be released by the government.
PenCom had noted that based on the positive disposition of the federal government towards settling outstanding pension liabilities, as evidenced by the release of N54 billion in April 2017, it is expected that these liabilities will soon be paid off.

“The Commission served as a member of an Inter-Ministerial Committee, Chaired by the Minister of Finance that was set up by Mr. President to determine the total pension liabilities of the federal government under both the CPS and the Defined Benefits Scheme, and advise the government on the amount required to be provided in the budget to defray the pension obligation.

“The Commission has determined the total pension liability owed to the Contributory Pension retirees due to both the 15 per cent and 33 per cent pension increases of 2007 and 2014 respectively”, said the Director General PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahiru -Umar. She stressed the commission’s commitment towards ensuring that retirees enjoy their retirement, further adding that this was the reason for the implementation of the pension enhancement, which is one of the significant milestones attained since the commencement of the CPS.

The pension regulator said the implementation confirms that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has workable internal mechanisms to respond to legitimate demands of retirees as they seek a reasonable retirement income, stressing that it intends to sustain this periodic review exercise in line with relevant provisions of the law.
Speaking on micro Pension take off, Fajemisin, said the micro pension scheme targeted at the informal sector will soon take off.

Insurance Industry to Launch Revised Edition of Code of Ethics

The insurance industry is to launch a revised edition of its code of ethics for insurance practitioners in Nigeria.
Launching of the industry’s ethical code which will take place in July, will enable insurance practitioners discharge their professional duties with high ethical disposition in order to rebuild and sustain the trust and confidence of the profession and industry ‘s stake holders.

President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria(CIIN) , Funmi Babing-Ashaye, who disclosed this at a press briefing to present her 10 months stewardship score card to the media, said the institute has set up a committee to review the industry’s code of ethics such that its provisions are up to date and in tandem with best practices.

On the extent of work done by the committee, Ashaye said: “I am delighted to report that the revised edition of the Code of Ethics for Insurance Practitioners in Nigeria will be launched during the National Insurance Conference which will be held from 8th – 10th July 2018 in Abuja. This Code, which applies to all Insurance Practitioners, clearly define how they should deal with issues and their responsibilities to clients, the general public, government, regulators, the Institute and their professional colleagues.”
The CIIN president said her administration in the institute has to a large extent enhanced insurance awareness in Nigeria.

She said: “As part of the strategy to inform and engage members about the happenings in the insurance industry and economy as a whole, the Council under my leadership, commenced the publication of a monthly e-newsletter. Since the publication of the inaugural edition in September 2017, The Council has continued, without fail, to publish and circulate it to disseminate information to members on major institute and industry events. So far, the Institute has published ten editions of the e-newsletter.

She further added: “As part of the ongoing efforts by the Institute to create insurance awareness amongst the youths, council approved three years ago, the distribution of the Institute’s sponsored insurance text books for Senior Secondary Schools to schools.”

She also noted that under her presidency, a youth empowerment programme tagged, “Catch them Young for Youth Corps members” was initiated in Lagos in December, 2017 in which over 700 Youth Corps members, at the Iyana-Ipaja Camp, registered and participated.
According to her, at the end of the programme, Insurance Agency Certificates were issued to them with referral letters to aid their internship in Insurance firms during the course of their service year. She assured that the initiative will be sustained through subsequent batches of the NYSC.
Furthermore, she said that her administration saw the establishment and accreditation of Insurance Departments in higher Institutions.

Leadway Assurance Pays N27.4bn Claims, Grows Premium by 57%

Leadway Assurance Ltd, said it paid a total of N27.4 billion claims in 2017, showing an increase of 18.95per cent from the N23 billion paid by the company in 2016.

Disclosing this at its 46th annual general meeting held in Lagos recently, Leadway Assurance said as the largest insurer with balance sheet size of N272billion, it has continued to position itself to provide the best in class financial security to its varied customers from individuals to corporates to large commercial entities.
The company said its Gross Premium Income during the period increased by 57%, to N84.48 billion within the period under review.

Addressing Shareholders at the meeting, the Company’s chairman, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, said: “While the impact of the recovery of the economy remains mixed, we are optimistic that recovery from recession will continue as we navigate the issues and challenges that 2018 may bring. On our part, we are encouraged to leverage on our brand and strategic initiatives to increase insurance awareness, create risk products tailored to every segment of consumer needs delivering “happiness”, to rejuvenate insurance as a necessity.”

“We are improving our value proposition to our customers and committed to progressively eliminate waste of time spent on processes and alternatively focus on anticipated and appreciated value add to our customers to deliver unbeatable service delivery,” he further added.

CHI Pays 2 Kobo Dividend to Shareholders

Consolidated Hallmark Insurance (CHI) Plc, at its 2017 annual General Meeting held in Lagos recently, approved 2 kobo dividend per share for shareholders. This represents a total of N140million dividend payout to shareholders, for the 2017 business year.

The company’s Chairman, Obinna Ekezie, at the meeting, sought the approval, which was granted by the shareholders.
Ekezie, said the firm believes shareholders deserve all the reward they can get through regular dividend payments and more for their continued faith and firm belief in the company, stressing that the dividend was payable to shareholders whose names appear in the register,

, “We shall continue to live up this expectation as we have done severally, in the past.”
He expressed optimism about the future of the company, pointing out that the successful completion of the final phase of the capital it raised, full deployment of funds realised and the eventual emergence of the company as one of the top players in the financial service sector, will benefit its esteemed shareholders in the long run.

Also speaking, Managing Director/CEO of the underwriting firm, Eddie Efekoha, said the company has continued to fulfil its obligations through prompt claims settlement as gross claims amount paid out in its 2017 financial year was N3.354 billion.

The total assets of the firm, during the period stood at N9.49 billion, up from N7.44 billion it was in 2016, representing 27 per cent growth.
He stated that CHI also posted a profit after tax of N406.2 million as against N194.9 million posted in its 2016 Financial Year, adding that its Profit Before Tax grew by 74 per cent from N368.1 million in 2016 to N641 million in 2017.
According to him, Gross Premium Written reported for the period, was N5.6 billion, while a Net Underwriting Income of N4 billion was recorded.

He also said that the company made appreciable progress in investment activities as well as its Investment Income which grew from N472.3 million to N796.2 million in 2017, he promised the shareholders to expect more returns in the nearest future from the insurance firm even as recent capacity expansion and growth initiatives in the underwriting firm will help to grow its revenue.

The Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) Igbrude Moses, lauded the firm for its performance and dividend payout and urged the board and management to tap the enormous opportunities in the country to enable the firm give enhanced dividend in the future.