The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has clarified issues around the free N11 billion insurance benefits provided by the sector for health workers fighting against the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.
The regulator said the policy was a complementary package to the existing insurance policies for the workers.
This explanation came against the backdrop of concerns by some observers who thought the cover was not big enough for the frontline workers.
The newly appointed Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Olorundare Thomas, in a statement, said the health workers have an existing policy, Group Life Insurance Policy as mandated by the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA) on employers.
He further disclosed that the federal government which is the employer of the health workers on the frontline have paid for their Group Life policy before now.
He said states were also meant to have in place the Group Life Policy for their health workers.
He added: “The N11 billion benefit was paid for by the insurance industry as part of their support to motivate the health workers to fight against Covid-19.”
He said the 5,000 people covered were from all the states of the federation, adding that the industry operators have assumed the liabilities on their own and are looking at a worst case scenario.
“Nobody prays for a total fatality but where we have this kind of policy in place, we have the assurance that when it gets bad, the industry will always be there for us.
“A lot of resources have been put into dealing with Covid-19 and of course the first port of call for us in the insurance industry is to look at our business and see areas in which we can support the government.
“We came together and we looked at the front line workers and doctors, nurses, laboratory workers, other workers that are involved in Covid-19 and we provided some benefits which is a top up to the one already provided under the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.
“It is assumed that majority of those that would be working will first of all have the baseline group life cover. The federal government has secured the group life cover and some state government have done the same”, Thomas explained.
He further said the cover has a one-year lifespan, adding that the industry does not expect that the Covid-19 would last up to one year looking at the effort the government has put into the fight.
According to him, “yes, COVID-19 is a new virus and is called novel but at the same time, we believe that with the Nigerian mentality in matters like this, we don’t have to go through the bend like other countries.
“I believe that it is not even going to last up to one year, so that is why we gave it a period of cover that is 12 months”, he stated.