NAICOM: Insurance expert wants stiffer penalties for claims payment defaulting insurers

Mr Ekerete Gam-Ikon, an insurance consultant has appealed to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to be stiffer on recalcitrant insurers who subject their clients to hardship due to delay in payment of claims.

Gam-Ikon made this known in an interview with Newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that the development, which had caused trust deficit among citizens, was a serious challenge in the sector.

According to him, NAICOM should not watch or look the other way while an insurer puts a policyholder-turn-claimant through undeserved stress.

The consultant said that the absence of a visibly and well-articulated campaign to inform and educate citizens about insurance and how claims were processed and paid was another challenge in the sector.

“Even if NAICOM penalises an insurer, the public should be aware so that at least a new customer can deal with more reliable players,’’ he said.

On recapitalisation, he noted that the exercise was critical for the sector.

Gam-Ikon said that insurance business was capital intensive which required adequate capital at all times to provide cover of different quantum.

“The nature of insurance business entails insurers giving promises to their customers and when you have a huge number, claims are bound to happen.

“A number of insurers today do not have money and cannot honour their claims obligations, so recapitalisation is critical though not the only ingredient for success,’’ he said.

On whether people should key into insurance now, the expert said that though it was a challenging time, there was need to reconsider how scarce resources were spent.

“We need insurance to avoid being in the state of dire need in future.

“That is what having insurance does – taking care of your troubles and giving you peace of mind in the midst of panic,’’ he said.

Reacting, Mr Rasaaq Salami, NAICOM’s Head, Commissioner for Insurance Directorate told Newsmen that the commission was alive to its responsibility as far as the issue of settlement of claims to the insured was concerned.

Salami said the commission had always applied the provisions of the law cautiously, adding that penalties were spelt out in the law for any claims payment defaulter.

“NAICOM tries to adhere to the provisions of the law; the commission is not silent on this.

“When we receive complaints of non-payment of claims, the commission always attends to it.

“As it is right now, there is an adjudication meeting going on in the commission between an insured and an insurer on claims settlement.

“These are the things we do to ensure that the customer does not suffer unnecessarily,’’ he said.

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