Brokers in the nation’s insurance industry have revealed plans to re-introduce the 2020 Consolidated Insurance Bill to the 10th National Assembly for consideration and intensify lobbying on the subject. They are seeking the urgent passage of the bill into law to address some of the industry challenges. The Guardian gathered that the process for reviewing the Insurance Act 2003 has been ongoing for 12 years. Though it was passed by the ninth National Assembly but was never assented to by former President Muhammadu Buhari. Stakeholders, who expressed optimism that the Bill will receive speedy attention and begin to tap into the opportunities provided by the new law in the current administration, said they have followed through with all the processes to close any missing gap. At an industry forum held in Lagos, the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Segun Omosehin, said the Consolidated Insurance Bill is going through the final legislative process to get presidential assent. He said they are closely monitoring the development surrounding the Consolidated Insurance Bill and would continue to pursue it until it is finally passed into law. Speaking to The Guardian, a fellow of the West African Insurance Board, Chijioke Nwafor, said: “We were surprised that President Muhammadu Buhari signed over eight bills into law some few weeks before his exit from office but never signed the Consolidated Insurance Bill. “At our level at the NIA, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and Ministry of Finance wants to assure the public that we did a thorough job. The Senate, House Committees on Insurance and we all agreed on almost all the issues before the bill was finally passed and sent to Buhari for assent. This means that the bill has to begin the journey all over again in the coming 10th National Assembly.’’ Nwafor, who is also a member of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, stressed that there is a need to change the 2003 Act and the NAICOM of 1978. We need more legislative instruments to guide the industry in the 21st century because the world has moved ahead. On the benefits inherent in the bill, he said: “If finally signed into law it would help to consolidate all insurance laws in Nigeria. We have some lacuna associated with the 2003 Act like the issue of compulsory insurance. The bill is expected to increase the industry growth and it will make insurance to have a positive impact on the insurance space’’ Other benefits include the introduction of a risk-based supervision capital model, which contains a N5 million fine for fake insurance certificate perpetrators, among others On the effects of the rising cost of inflation on the industry, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Eco Insurance Brokers’ Limited, Chukwuemeka Njoku said that people no longer accommodate premiums in their property lists. Nnamdi said given the recent subsidy removal, the majority of Nigerians are presently spending more money on transportation. This is dangerous for the growth of the sector because they now play down priority to the extent that after expenditure, people forget insurance.’’ He noted that inflation is currently forcing most policyholders to terminate insurance contracts. He, however, stressed that stakeholders in the industry need to sensitise the public on the inherent advantages of insurance without minding the present unfavourable economic challenges. On prospects for the industry, he said: “The registration of insurance is just above three per cent in Nigeria which means there are so many ways to go for insurance companies to survive the economy, the economy also needs to be strong,” he said.
June 22, 2023
June 22, 2023