BY Chisom Nwatu
An insurance expert, Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon, has commended the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for cancelling the certificates of registration of Niger Insurance Plc and Standard Alliance Insurance Plc.
He said the move by NAICOM was in exercise of its powers and fulfilment of one of its mandates, “which is to protect the interests of policyholders”.
NAICOM had on Tuesday announced that it had cancelled the registration certificates of the two insurance companies with effect from June 21, 2022 and appointed receivers/liquidators for the two companies. The cancellation followed the inability of Niger Insurance Plc and Standard Alliance Insurance Plc to settle outstanding claims for over three years.
Reacting via a LinkedIn post, Gam-Ikon, a management consultant in insurance and entrepreneurship, said the action by NAICOM was a welcome development that could restore confidence in the industry.
“By the sheer size of our population and the increasing awareness to protect our national and individual assets from rising risks, Nigeria should be the destination for top-rated insurance services providers. The insuring public (existing and potential policyholders) should have high level of confidence in the operators and regulators,” Gam-Ikon said.
He said NAICOM’s action has to a large extent restored hope to “policyholders-turned-claimants who have been carrying Claims Payment Advice (Discharge Vouchers) for years without knowing when they will receive payments”, some of whom, he said, may have passed on and their families left in penury as a result of the failure of these insurance companies to honour their obligations.
Findings show that Niger Insurance Plc and Standard Alliance Plc have insurance contract liabilities totalling over N15 billion. Niger Insurance Plc has insurance contract liabilities of N11.5 billion, while Standard Alliance has insurance contract liabilities of N3.9 billion. All of these have been transferred to the receivers/liquidators of both companies following the cancellation of their certificates of registration.
Gam-Ikon said the action by NAICOM would help to sanitise the insurance industry by weeding off the bad eggs and expanding the room for the good insurers that work tirelessly to give the insuring public better insurance experiences.
“It is not unexpected that the tendencies and circumstances that led to the ugly status of these companies exist amongst others that are still having their Certificates of Registration. To forestall the repeat of this situation in future, consideration should be given to thoroughly examining the roles of the professionals in insurance and other callings before they are allowed to take the next position of responsibility and accountability. This will serve as a deterrent to others,” he said.
He highlighted the importance of the insurance sector, saying it ensures that individuals and organisations “feel safe to go about their businesses and be assured that, in the event of any unexpected occurrences, they will be able to return to their position, and for organizations, be able to retain their employees, continue to pay taxes and contribute to the society”.
“We need to do a lot more to let a lot more Nigerians know the value of insurance, hence #MyCampaignNG,” he said.
He called on knowledgeable people to join him and others to bring better knowledge of insurance to Nigerians in a country where people confront “the risks of untimely deaths, permanent and temporary disabilities and critical illnesses, which existing insurance products are addressing”.