FG Urged to Enforce Insurance in Rent-to-Own Housing Programme

By Ebere Nwoji

The federal government has been advised to include insurance in its on-going rent-to-own housing programme.

The housing programme was designed to enhance affordability of houses by eliminating the need for down payments and other cost associated with normal mortgage loan arrangements.

President, Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr Shola Tinubu, who stated this at the quarterly press briefing organised by the council in Lagos, said insurance should be included in the programme.

According to him, Section 64 & 65 of the Insurance Act 2003 stipulates compulsory insurance for the ongoing construction projects.

“It therefore behoves on the federal government to insist that appropriate insurance policies be in place for these houses at the construction stage, and for the win-win benefits the project holds for government, the allottees and their families,” he added.

According to him, there are reports that about N197 billion had been spent to construct 26,002 houses across the country, while 13,953 homes across the country had been renovated.

He, however lauded the federal government’s programme.

He added that it would go a long way to address the housing deficit, a serious challenge that any government should tackle headlong.

On the place of Insurance in the programme, Tinubu said, “However, the council wishes to enjoin the federal government, to ensure that in embarking on this laudable feat, insurance should be given its rightful place.”

He also spoke on the recent directive that operators should shore up their capital base, saying, “It is noteworthy that in the bid to ensure a more virile insurance industry, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) recently announced new capital regime for insurance companies.

“The new capitalisation system tagged, “Recapitalisation of insurance companies, the tier-based minimum solvency capital,’ would be partially introducing the risk-based capital model in a three-tier recapitalisation system, whereby firms would be graded as tier-three, tier-two and tier-one.”

He, however described the tier system as an independent assessment for solvency, such that companies classified as top-tier could possibly have significant solvency issues.

He said under the new regime, insurance companies would be looking at different options to respond before the deadline of January 1, 2019.

He noted that it was definite that several options would be contemplated by the companies, including the options of injection of capital, mergers and acquisitions, adding that whichever strategy chosen and no matter how disruptive, companies should focus on how to grow the insurance industry as well as how to make insurance an imperative.

He said the NCRIB had set relevant committees in motion to see the extent to which the new policy thrust would affect its members.

Firm Moves to Deepen Nigeria’s Cryptocurrency Market

Emma Okonji

Luno, one of the leading global exchanges with presence in over 40 countries, including Nigeria, has reiterated its commitment to further enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of cryptocurrency business.

It also called on Nigerians to adopt a knowledge-driven approach towards its services, which it said were genuine and rewarding.

Worried about the limited knowledge of the cryptocurrency business and how it works, Luno said the cryptocurrency market in Nigeria made headlines globally in 2017 when it twice emerged second as the country that searched for bitcoin the most on Google, and peer-to-peer transactions in digital currency globally.

Since then a lot of investments and investors have come into the market leading to intensified scrutiny of the space by financial regulators.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently said it was studying the market to enable it come up with a regulatory framework that would protect every player.

In the meantime, it continues to warn the financial institutions to stay away until there is a policy for the market.

While the CBN position has not affected demand in the market it may have contributed to poor knowledge of consumers as many transact for the profit and not necessarily because they understand.

Addressing the media on the importance of cryptocurrency at a recent press conference in Lagos, Luno’s country manager in Nigeria, Owenize Odia, said, “We welcome regulation of the cryptocurrency space in Nigeria. It is good for the entire market around the world, as it will build trust in both buyers and investors.

“We know it would eventually come, hence we self-regulate in order to protect our customers.”

Odia said that cryptocurrency education would also benefit the market because it would ensure people approach it with a knowledge driven mindset.

“Regulation will also reinforce collaboration in the space, as banks will be free to partner with exchanges and other stakeholders for growth of the market.

“It would also go a long way to reduce increasing incidences of cyber criminality involving cryptocurrencies,” Odia said.

Recently, the market has been awashed with reports of consumers falling victims to internet scams that could have been avoided, had the victims been better equipped with the right information.

“This is what sets us apart as a virtual currency platform. Apart from providing our users with two-factor authentication (2FA) which ensures they are protected, we also take out time to educate them about how to avoid scams,” Odia explained.

According to him, “There are four different levels of verifications Luno has put in place to protect its varied income-level customers.”

The company which recently reached a milestone of two million customers globally, is planning some programs targeted at its user-base in Nigeria. The programs are expected to be announced soon.

Insurer Launches Service for Motor Insurance

Ebere Nwoji

AXA Mansard Plc, a member of AXA Group; has launched the first responder service aimed at supporting customers whose vehicles are insured with the company whenever they are involved in road accidents.

The First Responder Service is an initiative meant to provide immediate assistance to customers on AXA Mansard’s retail motor insurance plan right at the scene of an accident.

The service also aims at reducing turnaround time for service delivery to customers.

According to the company, with the introduction of the new service, customers with vehicles worth a minimum of N3,000,000 would have access to its trained first responder officers.

The first responder officers would also provide on-the-spot assistance to eligible customers at the scene of an accident, assess damage to customers’ vehicles and start the claims settlement process with a view to concluding it rapidly.

Commenting on the new service, the Divisional Director, Retail Solutions, AXA Mansard Insurance, Mrs. Rashidat Adebisi said, “We are delighted to introduce AXA First Responder service to our motor insurance subscribers.

“Customer experience is very important to us and we are ensuring that we provide services that would be customer oriented. “The service would help our customers to get both service and support in the event of a road traffic accident. We assure our customers that they would receive the needed support as they navigate their ways around town.”

According to her, with the service, eligible customers would have access to the officers who would provide on-the-spot assistance to them should they be involved in an accident.

She said this was another benefit of being on the AXA Mansard comprehensive motor insurance plan.

According to her, the service is currently only available in Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lekki, Ikeja, and Surulere areas in Lagos with a view to expand in the days ahead.

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