By Onome Amuge
Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance and chief executive officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has expressed displeasure that most losses arising from the pandemic were not adequately covered by existing insurance policies.
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As a result, he suggested a review of conventional insurance products to upscale a new value proposition for the Nigerian insurance industry as current insurance product offerings have proven inadequate to respond to emergent risks and needs of the society.
Thomas who made this disclosure while speaking at the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria’s (CIIN) 2020 insurance professionals forum, noted that the recent outbreak of protests and civil unrest across the country and the resultant losses have created further socio-economic hardship and barriers for business profitability and growth, which have exposed the vulnerability of government, businesses and individuals to unforeseen events.
The NAICOM boss also stressed that the suddenness of the covid-19 pandemic imposed immense pressure on all businesses including insurance business. Pressures faced by consumers in the form of reduced finance and business activities, lack of access to credit, expiration and wastage of perishable goods, temporary or permanent business closures and employee contract terminations, life threatening illnesses and deaths all combined to increase the propensity for claims.
He explained that these incidents have further reinforced the value and necessity of insurance and the industry cannot continue to ignore the impact of unforeseen events on individuals, businesses, and the insurance industry as a whole.
Stating his position on the way forward, Thomas suggested the need for proper underwriting to ensure insurers are able to settle corresponding claims obligations to cushion the effect of losses on Nigerian households and businesses.
He also charged the insurance industry to utilise the opportunity to lead in the quick recovery and restoration of the affected businesses and also showcase its role in reinforcing the economic resilience of individuals, businesses and the economy at large.