The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated HallMark Insurance, Mr Eddie Efekoha, has said that his company secured approval of its regulators to extend the deadline for its share offers because of the outbreak of COVID-19 .
Efekoha, who stated this during an interactive session with the media, noted that the outbreak of Corona Virus was the major cause of the extension of the company’s offer period from April 1 to May 1, 2020 as approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) .
Consolidated Hallmark Insurance had received the approval of regulators to raise an additional sum of N1,056,900,000 to further beef up its capital base.
The Securities and Exchange Commission gave the approval to the company to offer a total of 2,032,500,900 units of 50 kobo each at 52 Kobo per share through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders. The offer opened on Monday, 24th February, 2020 and is to run for a period of five weeks, with an initial closing date of April 1,2020.
A statement from the corporate communications manager of the company, Mr Ben Mamedu, said shareholders of the company who were listed on the register of members as at close of business on February 3, 2020 qualify to take advantage of the offer on the basis of one new share for every existing four units currently being held.
He said the the Rights Issue is one of the series of steps approved by Shareholders of the Company at an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting held in November, 2019 where the Directors were unanimously given the mandate to embark on various measures to meet the new N10bn required minimum capital base of operators in the general business and special risks category.
But Efekoha, said in consideration of the adverse effect of the lockdown on account of the COVID-19 and the fact that discerning investors would usually wait to the last week of the offer before putting their money through, the company had secured the approval of the regulator’s for extension of the share offer from April 1, deadline to May 1,2020.
He commended the regulators for being supportive and proactive during the COVID-19 lock down period.
Speaking on the effects of the COVID-19 on insurance business, Efekoha, who also doubles as the President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, said the magnititude of loss incurred by various sectors in terms of time and finance is no doubt very huge.
He however said having insurance policy or policies that cover one’s valued assets is the surest way of having peace of mind.
He cited a couple of instances around the world where insurance has come through to rescue notable world events and businesses.
Although he acknowledged that there are no insurance cover for pandemics such as Covid-19 in Nigeria, and that there are very few cases abroad, he said a high demand for the cover is however expected to rise in the coming weeks as people’s eyes would have been opened to the benefits of insurance.
“In the days, months and years ahead, we expect insurance cover for pandemics and other infectious outbreaks to be in high demand and the insurance industry would be expected to come up with an appropriate response and when it is done, the insuring public would be made aware.”
On the financial impact of the pandemic on the industry, Efekoha, said the insurance industry may not pay claims for business interruption flowing directly from the outbreak of Coronavirus due to the absence of the cover but said the sector remains poised to respond appropriately when business interruption occurs due to specified risks in policies like fire outbreak, explosion damage etc.
He however noted that some burglars have taken advantage of the coronavirus lockdown by burgling shops of business owners who are observing the lockdown directive of the federal government.
He added that in such case, if the business owners have insurance, they can be rest assured of a compensation.