The Commissioner for Insurance/Chief Executive, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Mohammed Kari, on Thursday hinted that his agency would adopt the name-and-shame policy in trying to restore sanity to insurance practice in the country.
He said the proposed strategy would among other things deter bad behaviour among operators in the industry.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja shortly after the maiden meeting of the Insurers Committee which was earlier inaugurated by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Kemi Adeosun, Kari said the chief executives of all insurance companies in the country had agreed to the policy which would have names of defaulting operators publicised to keep them “away from doing bad.”
He, however, argued that the regulator had been able to restore some measure of consumer confidence in the industry through recent policy initiatives including an outright directive to settle all legitimate claims.
He also said some of the recent negative publicity about the industry was largely based on perception.
He said: “You find the majority of people that tell you insurance is not good don’t even have an insurance policy, it’s just what somebody told them or what they’ve heard and they amplify it without having a personal experience.”
He said the formation of the committee had become inevitable given that the Nigerian insurance market had in recent past undergone substantial structural and regulatory reforms following the market intervention and the evolution of the financial sector in the last decade in order to initiate policies and facilitate implementation to drive the sector growth.
Kari said the committee would strive integrate new possibilities with basic truths of business success and help to rethink the future of the insurance industry.
The committee, comprising six sub-committees is expected to meet every two month to discuss developments in the industry. It would also hold annual end of year retreat to set industry agenda for the next year.
Meanwhile, Adeosun had commended the setting of the committee comprising the regulator and the regulated, adding that similar synergy in the banking sector had yielded positive outcomes.
She said regulation was indispensable given the international experience of recklessness in the financial sectors of world economies.
The minister said government and the insurance industry could work together to improve the lot of the Nigerian economy.
Represented by the Director, Home Finance, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Kali Zaji, Adeosun added that the present administration was committed to its change agenda and would ensure that the insurance industry operate by the rule, eliminate corruption and create employment in the economy.
She said: “There’s need to work together to improve the value that insurance adds to the life of members of the public. Our shared interest is ensuring that people have the financial capability and awareness of insurance products and receive good consumer services to ensure insurance is more accessible and more wide available towards ensuring that the insurance industry should make a significant contribution to the GDP of this country.”
Continuing, she said: “We all know the challenges of the industry; lack of consumer trust, a fragmented industry with some weak and insolvent players; poor compliance with compulsory insurance policies, lack of professionalism by some intermediaries and a general shortage of skilled professionals in the industry.”
As a result, the minister said there was a compelling need to strengthen the supervisory powers of NAICOM adding that there was a risk that the operating environment for insurers and consumers would change in view of current economic challenges.