The Chairman of the Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC), Eddie Efekoha, has said the ongoing recapitalisation in the industry is inevitable.
Efekoha, who stated this at the media retreat organised by the IICC for insurance and Pension journalists in Ijebu ode, Ogun state, said beyond Nigeria, recapitalisation exercise was a common wind blowing in the financial services sector in other climes.
“The reasons NIACOM gave for the recapitalisation exercise are the same reasons CBN is giving which are the issues of exchange rate and capacity.
“If these are the main reasons for the recapitalisation exercise, the truth of the matter is that the exchange rate that applied in 2005/2007 is not the same in 2018/19.
“Secondly, if the exchange rate has changed, our ability to retain businesses have weaken. Should we enhance it? Yes! I think we should enhance it.”
Illustrating his point further on the exercise, Efekoha, said,, “If you pour water into a glass half way, some would described it half empty, others would describe it as half full. If you say half empty, then you are not seeing the positive side of the water, but if you say half full, then you are positive. I think it is time for us to see this recapitalisation exercise from the positive side of view.
“I have never seen a policy that only has the good side and no bad side and no timing can be right because it is only God’s time that can be the best. I think that the more we are positive about this recapitalisation exercise, the more chances we would have in overcoming some of the challenges that comes with it.
“There was a meeting at the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) Secretariat to deliberate on the matter and I don’t think operators are looking at the matter from the side of half empty, but they are viewing the matter from the side of half full and whatever we can take out from this, for the good of this market, we will do.”
He, however, urged stakeholders to see the exercise as half full.
He commended the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for initiating the insurance industry’s recapitalisation, pledging operators support for the exercise which he believes will help grow the sector.
Also speaking, the President, Institute of Loss Adjuster of Nigeria (ILAN), Femi Hassan said: “We at ILAN want this recapitalisation to take place. We are eagerly waiting for it to take place, because it will enable the operators to put some structures in place that will help to grow the industry.
“I know the operators want this recapitalisation to take place, but the investors who have put their money into the insurance companies are the ones kicking against it, but nevertheless, I am optimistic that in the long run, every party will see reason.”
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, Fatai Adegbenro, noted that the industry needs sufficient capital to meet present realities, especially settlement of claims and hiring professionals.
Continuing, Efekoha said: “The wind of recapitalisation is blowing. When we came back from South Africa, we heard that of Ghana and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and I think the insurance regulator should be recommended for setting the pace.
“I can assure you that the operators will not go against our regulator because the consequences of that is too grievous. However, there is a limit at which operators can control other stakeholders like the shareholders and investors. We cannot stop them from speaking their minds, but whatever they have said do not represent the operators’/managers’ decision,” he said.