Stories by Ebere Nwoji
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said it will in January 2019, release a new insurance distribution channel guidelines known as the State Insurance Producers(SIP).
The commission, said this is in furtherance of its policy to diversify insurance distribution in Nigeria.
Disclosing this at the 2018 education seminar organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria(CIIN) in Ibadan, Oyo State, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, said the SIP, would serve as an alternative channel for insurance distribution.
“The SIP will be an agency of a state government licenced by NAICOM to provide intermediary services as defined by the guideline issued by the commission and also remunerated as by the provisions of the operational guideline.
“The operational guideline has already been concluded and shall come into effect on January 01, 2019,” he stated.
Kari, listed the key responsibilities of the SIP as facilitating the sale of the compulsory classes of insurance within the state jurisdiction and all classes for its principal’s insurances (state government);
He said additional insurance services and product would be considered in the future, depending on the success of the initial approach.
He also said it will help in exercising on defaulters, the powers to penalise them according to the laws of the states, maintaining proper records of individuals and organisations bound by the requirements of the compulsory classes of insurance and monitoring the compliance.
“Once licenced to operate by the commission, the SIP shall enter into a memorandum of understanding as may be sanctioned by NAICOM, with approved insurance companies in its jurisdiction for purposes of placement and management of insurance business within the state.”
He said the SIP shall only transact insurance business with approved Insurers, noting that only insurance companies with branch offices in the respective states would be eligible to transact business with the SIPs.
Kari, said to complement the SIP policy, the commission would open 20 new branch offices in states across the country, for strict management of the policy and the enhancement of insurance penetration.
He said the commission, believes this would also go a long way in meeting government expectations with regards the economic recovery and growth Plan (ERGP) in the areas of job creation, poverty prevention and confidence in the face of risk.
He said it would also answer to the saturation in the corporate segment, provide opportunity to improve the image of the insurance industry, create brand building for individual insurance institutions as insurance plays a pivotal role in financial inclusion because it reduces the poverty line.
Kari, further said the SIP, would help people to manage their risk and protect them from any negative adverse effect of any unforeseeable circumstances as well as increase access to other financial services.
He said in order to deepen insurance penetration, the commission has two main objectives which are: Focused insurance awareness campaign for the financially excluded, promoting the development of products and business models that meet the needs of the financially excluded group.
He said this was why the commission has been supporting a number of awareness drives, which included the much publicised Insurance Industry Rebranding campaign, an initiative of the Insurers’ committee.
The commission has also thrown its weight behind the organisers of the first Insurance Industry and Consumer Nite; a platform that provides an opportunity for the sector to interface with the entertainment industry.
This, it believes would enhance the awareness level of insurance and its acceptability to another strata of the society.
“The youth in this case. The desire to promote the development of products that meets the needs of the financially excluded prompted the commission into introducing micro-insurance; a business line for the low income segment and Takaful Insurance – an alternative Risk Management Mechanisms that is Sharia compliant into the market to further boost insurance penetration.
“The introduction of Bancassurance in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), leveraging the wide spread of banks in Nigeria is also an initiative aimed at increasing access to insurance products and enhancing penetration.
“This is being extended to cover the microfinance banks and their consumers. The commission would continue expanding the distribution channel to ensure the excluded becomes the included”, he stated.
Old Mutual Nigeria Life Assurance Company, an affiliate of Old Mutual Limited, said it has pushed into Nigerian insurance market a critical illness insurance policy plan that will give Nigerians access to quality health care when hit by any of the critical or terminal illnesses without financial stress.
The company, said the critical illness policy plan, when purchased by Nigerians would address shocking reports of people who are confronted with critical illnesses without access to the required medical attention and the fearsome outlook for critical illness in Nigeria – in terms of severe financial exposures –
These according to the company can be proactively mitigated through the financial protection which the insurance policy provides.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Keith Alford, who disclosed this in a statement, opined that adoption of the Critical Illness Cover remains the best weapon to be deployed against illnesses in Nigeria, adding that early access to the right treatment is known to significantly improve the chances of survival for the patients
“Indeed, Critical Illness Plan, which can also be referred to as Critical Illness Cover, is an insurance product in which the insurer (the insurance company) is contracted to typically make a lump sum cash payment if the policyholder is diagnosed with one of the specific illnesses on a predetermined list as part of an insurance policy.
“The implication is that if one is to be diagnosed with or undergoes a medical procedure for any of the specified critical illnesses that the insurer covers during the length of the policy, lump sum cash will be paid to take care of the medical bills”.
Alford, said for the Old Mutual Critical Illness Plan, the minimum entry age for the policy is 18 years while the maximum entry age is 67 years.
He also said the maximum age is 70 years and that the policy term spans from 3-15 years.
He noted that the cover amount ranges from a minimum of N500,000 to a maximum of N30,000,000.
According to him, access to quality healthcare is one of the most important factors for living a life of quality and one of the most critical human needs in the world today.
“After all, health they say, is wealth and only a person in good health can create a successful enterprise.”
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying that access to healthcare is often times the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa where residents have to pay out of their pocket for medical expenses, Alford said in Nigeria, the average spending on health per person is valued at $216 (about N78,000), “yet, the story is not getting any better, especially as today’s economic downturn and the resultant reduction in purchasing power have combined to make access to adequate health care a distant dream for Nigerians.”
He identified critical illnesses as ailments that can have fatal or terminal effect on the human life , listing such to include stroke, cancer, heart attack, coronary artery disease, hepatitis, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, paralysis / paraplegia muscular dystrophy, alzheimer disease, parkinson disease, and brain tumour.
GNI Denies Insider Trading
The Great Nigeria Insurance Plc (GNI) said it never received any warning, query or sanctions regarding allegations of insider trading from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
The insurance underwriting firm, said contrary to allegations by the House of Representatives sub-committee on Capital Market and Institutions following a recent public hearing, it never received any warning letter from the regulators.
The Managing Director/CEO of the underwriting firm, Mrs. Cecilia Osipitan, made this known in a statement made available to journalists in Lagos.
Osipitan, said the board of directors and management of the GNI were notified that the lawmakers had threatened to authorise SEC to take over the management of the company.
She assured the company’s shareholders and general public that the organisation was compliant with all the rules and guidelines of the various regulatory agencies that oversee its operations, saying allegations of insider dealings, failure to pay shareholders’ dividends, tax evasion and failure to comply with corporate governance regulations were inaccurate.
She said the company has also been meticulous about making tax remittances to both the state and federal government and has up-to-date receipts to corroborate this fact.
While allaying the fears of all stakeholders, she said the company would ensure that the misconception regarding its operations are resolved with the committee.
She explained that the inability of the company’s representative to attend the committee’s meeting was unavoidable and same was duly communicated to the committee.
She further stated that the company has forwarded to the committee written detailed responses to all questions raised to set straight earlier communicated misrepresentations and would be willing to answer further questions that may arise.
“Great Nigeria Insurance is a compliant corporate entity and is not in any way associated with any of the allegations raised in the publication,” Osipitan stated.
Firm Grows RSA to 22,000 in One Year
Radix Pension Managers, one of the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) in the country, said it has grown its Retirement Savings Account (RSA) from 4,000 to 22,000 in barely one year of operations under a new board and management.
This represented a 450 per cent growth in the company’s RSA holders.
Managing Director of the PFA, Kunle Adeboye, in a statement, said the company, formerly trading as IGI Pension Fund Managers Limited and launched in October 2017, plans to close this year with a better outlook.
He said the company was focused on providing good returns on investment and ensuring maximum safety of the fund under its management, in line with regulations of the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
He stated that the company has been able to manage and invest both its RSA and Retiree Funds properly, such that its unit price has been growing steadily on a monthly basis.
He stressed that the unit price of the company has been on the top table of unit prices of PFAs out of the 21 existing PFAs since they commenced business a year ago.
He noted that they have hovered mostly between first and second and few times up to seventh position.
He further stated that the company is working to be one of the top players in the pension space.
“In the industry, there are two things that are important to all stakeholders: the safety of pension assets and the return on investment. For us at Radix, we are assuring our customers and potential clients of good return on investment and safety of funds alongside best-in-class customer services – dynamic and efficient administration of pension fund under management, prompt pension payments and excellent pension advisory.
“We are doing a lot of things differently because we are a young and dynamic PFA. In one year of our operation, we have been able to grow our RSAs significantly.
“This is because we have people that have the experience and passion for the job. They have an understanding of why we are here, the kind of services we are rendering and the relevance of the service.
Adeboye, said Radix Pension is talking about people’s future and joining them in planning for a better future.
According to him, the company has a brand that speaks to the youths in terms of most of the things that it does.
“We do a lot of online and social media sensitisation and so all of these and many more put together have been assisting us to grow.
“In terms of customer service, we are trying our best as much as possible,” it added.