Stories by David Agba
Plans are underway to ensure all the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to domesticate insurance in their respective states.
Since insurance law is a federal law, it needs to be domesticated to be effective in states. Already, Lagos, Ogun States and others have domesticated insurances in their states, while there are moves by Gombe and Kaduna States to do the same.
While the insurance industry regulatory body, that is, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has sealed partnership agreement with the above four states, there are plans by the commission to perley with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to persuade the remaining 32 states to key into this agenda.If this could be achieved, market observers believe each state could be generating about N30 billion premium yearly for the insurance industry, which would allow the federal government meet the N1 trillion premium target set for the insurance industry.
Moreover, with such domestication,findings reveal that the government can now deploy the state apparatus to enforce the five compulsory insurances in the adopting states. The five compulsory insurances are: Motor Vehicle (Third Party) Liability Insurance, Builders Liability Insurance (Buildings under construction), Occupiers Liability Insurance on Public Building, Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance and Group Life Insurance.
Investigation shows that state agencies such as Environmental Sanitation Board, Revenue Generation Board, Fire Brigade, among others, would be used to enforce builders’ Liability Insurance, as there are plans to raid shops, filling stations, and houses by the fire brigade to ensure that they have adequate insurance cover.
This will also ensure that all public buildings and that of the federal, state and local governments are comprehensively insured. The Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC) and the States’ Vehicle Inspection Offices(VIOs), on the other hand, would be used to enforce comprehensive and Third party motor Insurance Policies.
To this end, insurance industry would be generating billions of naira on a monthly basis from these states, while it would also improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the adopting states, allowing the insurance industry to eventually realise its N1 trillion insurance premium target.
The Commissioner For Insurance, Mohammed Kari, said: “If we sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lagos State government, which we are almost finishing, Lagos state will use Environmental Sanitation board, Revenue Generation Board, Fire Brigade- which we (NAICOM) have an agreement that is signed with them and since every state has its own fire brigade, the business would be done state by state- to enforce insurance adoption.
“So, you can see now how much this will bring to state and insurance industry as well” he said. The Fire brigade, he said, is empowered by law to enforce building insurance, and the agency alongside the State Inland Revenue will be visiting organisations, offices, shops, filling stations and houses to request for their insurances.
“They will visit your place and ask you to show your evidence of insurance, and if you can’t provide that, they will fine you there for not insuring. That is under their law. They will seal your business and you will continue paying fines every day, till you have insurance. We have finished arrangement with the fire brigade.
“At the state level, we are going to go through their environmental sanitation board, Inland Revenue Board, among others, to check insurance, and that is why we need to have offices in those states. Any public building or property ought to have insurance and fire brigade will help us enforce this,” he pointed out.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with this medium, the Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Fatai Adegbenro, charged the federal, states and local governments to lead by example by insuring all their assets, including public buildings, to increase insurance penetration and profitability.
NAICOM orders micro-insurance firms to take new licenses
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has called on the 17 insurance companies that are already selling microinsurance products through the window operations to acquire fresh licence within a period of 18 months.
The ultimatum was issued in the revised microinsurance guideline and reaffirmed by the Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, at a seminar organised by NAICOM for Insurance Journalists in Benin City, Edo State.
Kari, who was represented by Deputy Commissioner Technical, National Insurance Commission, Sunday Thomas, at the event, noted that, in case any of the concerned insurance firms failed to acquire fresh license, those with non-life Microinsurance products should wind up their operations, within 18 months while those with life classes should not later than 24 months transfer the life classes to dedicated Microinsurance company within this period.
NAICOM, in section 10, sub section 1 and 2 of the revised Microinsurance guidelines released recently to the public said:”Existing Conventional microinsurers shall wind down their window operations for non-life classes within 18 months from the effective date of this Guidelines and in not later than 24 months transfer the life classes to a dedicated microinsurance company.”
It added that, ‘no policy shall be renewed nor new one issued with an expiry date beyond the date stated above.’By this directive, non-life conventional insurers operating Microinsurance as a window operation are given till June 2018 to wind up this operation while the life operators has December 2018’as the deadline to do same.
Meanwhile, in a bid to deepen insurance penetration in the country, the commission said it would be leveraging Governors’ Forum to enforce the compulsory insurance policies in the 36 states of the federation.Kari, revealed this at a seminar with the theme: “Expanding the frontiers for insurance market development and penetration in Nigeria: The NAICOM initiatives” held in Benin City, Edo state.
The Commissioner, who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner’ Technical, Sunday Thomas, said in 2018 the commission would be looking at penetration to grow the second phase of the MDRI.
He said: “There are ample opportunities for us to deepen the market and sustain all that we have been able to achieve in the past years. We are getting into second phase of MDRI. He added that “between 2009 till now we have created serveral awareness. This year we are commencing the second phase and we have set plans on motion to ensure successful implementation of the second phase of MDRI,” he assured.