NAICOM tasks insurance operators on product design

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Fola Daniel-new

The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Fola Daniel recently urged operators in the industry to improve on their products design and marketing, and further maintain cordial relationship with their customers. This, he said, is the only way they can remain relevant in the insurance sector.

Daniel tasked insurance operators while delivering a keynote address entitled, “Insurance Industry: New Trends, New Strategies,” at the 2014 Professionals’ Forum organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, (CIIN) in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He said: “We must as a matter of deliberate policy come up with new ways of doing the business in order to achieve better results. Our marketing strategy must change; our products design and packaging must change; our approach to policyholders and their complaints must change and all hands must be on deck to ensure that the message of insurance is taken to the grassroots. If we must move the insurance market from its present level to an optimal pedestal within the financial services sector, then there must also be a consensus on how best to tackle the challenges.”

He noted that insurance operators have a lot to offer but they seem not to be taking advantage of the huge potential. He added that the fundamentals for thriving insurance industry are there in the country such as a vast population, an active economy and a well-capitalised industry.

Daniel said the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) recently gave financial support to six universities and two polytechnics as a mark of its commitment to insurance education in the country. The gesture, he said, was a demonstration of NAICOM’s commitment to raising the standard of insurance education in tertiary institutions across the country. “NAICOM is actively committing resources to up-scaling insurance education in tertiary institutions in the country. In furtherance of this resolve, higher institutions have benefitted from our financial support,” he said.

The beneficiaries were Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Lagos, Akoka; Lagos State University, Ojo; University of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom; Niger Delta University; Bayelsa; and Evans Ewerem University, Owerri. Others are two polytechnics — the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Enugu; and the Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State.

The NAICOM boss asked institutions that are yet to receive part of the largesse from the regulatory body to tarry a while, saying the idea was to cover the six geopolitical zones before extending it to other institutions.

He commended the commission for the recent donation of Insurance books to secondary schools in Lagos and Ogun states.

“The noble efforts culminated in the expenditure of over N15 million for the production of textbooks and professional course materials at both levels of education,” he said.

He lauded the body for setting up the Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC), which is currently serving as a platform for addressing the differences of the various arms of the industry and a voice for the sector on national issues.

While noting that the promotion of financial literacy is a major project of the federal government, Daniel said the commission was committed to it and other programmes that would increase insurance penetration in the country.

“The promotion of financial literacy in our country at this time coincides with the commission’s focus on micro-insurance and agricultural insurance as a vehicle for reaching our teaming masses. It is gladdening to note that a number of insurance companies have entered into partnership with telecom companies as a means of selling insurance products to their vast clientele. We shall continue to encourage and support all activities aimed at uplifting the insurance industry,” Daniel said.

He assured that with the right products, “micro-insurance would herald the much desired quantum leap in the industry,” adding that this significant growth brings new and exciting innovations in products on health, agriculture and property insurance.

As part of efforts to further boost insurance penetration, NAICOM recently appealed to the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHOSF) to look into the challenges of Group Life Insurance scheme for federal workers and the insurance of Federal Government assets and properties.

The Chairman of the Governing Board, Prince Chibudom Nwuche, made the call during a courtesy call on the Head of Service of the Federation (HOS), Danladi Kifasi in his office in Abuja. Nwuche led the board to see how the company can partner with the government to enhance implementation of the compulsory Group Life Insurance cover for federal workers.

Nwuche, who expressed appreciation to the HOS for the success achieved so far in the implementation of the Pension Reform Act of 2014 as it relates to the Group Life Insurance scheme for federal workers, noted that the scheme has not operated without some challenges.

These challenges, he said, range from availability of adequate data for proper administration, timely notification of claims and submission of supporting documents and appropriate pricing of the risk. He hoped these issues will be looked into by the HOS to ensure continued success of the scheme for the overall benefit of the federal workers.

He canvassed for compulsory insurance of public buildings and buildings under construction in the Insurance Act of 2003. According to him, it is imperative that all government buildings which fall under public buildings are adequately insured to guard against loss of property and scarce financial resources in the event of any disaster.

Daniel assured that the insurance industry is prepared to undertake the training of scheduled staff of the OHOSF, especially the officers involved in the management of the scheme, towards the realisation of the set objectives.

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