|Mr. Leo Akah
Deputy Director Authorisation and Policy
The Nigerian insurance industry earned N1.8tn premium from life and non-life policies underwritten in an 11-year period up to 2014, investigation has shown.
Statistics obtained from the Nigerian Insurers Association indicated that the sector made N69.4bn, N76.3bn, N82.3bn and N100.6bn as premium in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively.
The figure rose to N150bn, N179.9bn, N185.7bn and N217.7bn in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, while in 2012 and 2013, the insurance industry earned N247.58bn and N285bn in that order from the business underwritten.
The Director, Supervision, National Insurance Commission, Mr. Opara Onwusereaka, also disclosed that the industry recorded a gross premium of N302.105bn at the end of 2014.
“Insurance business regulation under NAICOM has witnessed a tremendous turnaround as amplified by the growth in industry’s gross premium written of N100bn in 2007 to over N300bn in 2014,” he said.
Given all the projects and initiatives in place for effective insurance business regulation in Nigeria, Onwusereaka said it was certain that the industry would sustain this established trend of growth and prosperity.
According to him, the main objectives of the commission as stated in the NAICOM Act, 1997 include ensuring financial safety and stability, adding that NAICOM had a duty to maintain efficient and stable insurance market and ensure a fair and safe market for profitable insurance business transactions.
Onwusereaka said that virtually all aspects of insurance business from licensing, operation and liquidation are regulated in the country.
He explained that insurance regulation was structured around several key functions, including company licensing, licensing of intermediaries, product approvals, market conduct, financial/prudential regulation and consumer services.
The director said NAICOM’s regulatory framework as stated in the Insurance Act, 2003 and NAICOM Act, 1997, included issuance of regulations, operational guidelines, circulars and directives.
While explaining some of the activities of the commission, he said it had improved consumer education through seminars, workshops and other public enlightenment programmes.
According to him, the commission has also ensured the introduction of insurance in in secondary schools and tertiary institutions’ curricular.
The commission, Onwusereaka added, had performed market conduct regulations and enforced fair treatment of customers as pre-sale and after sale services.
He said NAICOM had ensured the eradication of fake insurance products through the arrest, investigation and prosecution of fake product peddlers.
The commission, he added, had introduced premium collection and remittance guidelines and issued guidelines on commission, rate and return premium.
According to him, the NAICOM has also ensured sound accounting and disclosure requirements among the insurance firms in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards.
He said NAICOM had continued to ensure prompt claims settlement and also established a consumer protection unit, known as the complaint bureau.
The director said that the commission had been making publications on the compliance status of companies, particularly on the rendition of quarterly financial returns and audited annual financial statements.
Onwusereaka added that the commission was also ensuring the transition to risk-based supervision and consolidated supervision in the sector and issued guidelines for the development of the risk management framework.
“The commission has been collaborating with other regulators, including the issuance of NAICOM/National Pension Commission joint regulation on annuity, FSRCC framework and guidelines on consolidated supervision, and signing Memoranda of Understanding with national and international regulatory authorities,” he said.