By Ginika Okoye
Mr Ekerete Gam-Ikon, an insurance expert, has appealed to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to issue micro insurance licences to more companies to reposition the sector.
Gam-Ikon said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday while speaking on Nigeria at 60.
He noted that issuing licence to micro insurance companies would help them to take care of the insurance needs of the downtrodden.
The expert, who regretted that most insurers were not paying claims to individuals, said micro-insurance would create an avenue for companies to settle individual claims.
“If you look at what insurance has done for the corporate companies, then you can only imagine what insurance will be doing for individuals if it was right on course.
“Right on course in the sense that a number of insurance companies are paying claims to corporate companies but are not paying to individuals.
“More companies that have applied for micro-insurance licences need to be given the licences by NAICOM so that they can take care of individuals.
“The micro insurance is to address the insurance needs of the people at the bottom of the pyramid; so, you can have insurance policies that will not cost more than N1,000 to N10, 000.
“You can also have property that is not valued at more than N2 million so it will be affordable for those level of people,’’ he said.
Analysing the sector since inception, he said that insurance seemed to have dominated before now as a lot of industrialists were interested in the sector, making it more driven as part of business.
The expert said that the sector started declining when the first law of recapitalisation came to be in the 90s.
According to him, the issue of recapitalisation in 2007 really exposed a lot of companies, and that is why the number of insurance companies reduced.
“Even beyond that, we are still struggling with issues because the real capital has not really been brought to the industry and left in the industry.
“So, the industry has been running on what I will call low capital, low capacity and inability to attract the kind of clientele that will sustain it,’’ he said.
Gam-Ikon advised the government and insurance sector to develop products that would align with the needs of individuals.
Mr Rasaaq Salami, NAICOM’s Head, Commissioner for Insurance Directorate, said 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.
“These are the things we do to ensure that the customer does not suffer unnecessarily,’’ he said.
The management of NAICOM had recently published a public notice on the registration of a new re-insurance company known as FBS Reinsurance Limited. (NAN)