Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, has charged the new leadership of the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) to deploy the principle of self regulation on claims settlement.
Thomas, also Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), said this at the investiture of Mr Olusegun Omosehin as the 25th chairman of NIA on Wednesday night in Lagos.
He said: “I urge the new leadership to deploy the principle of self regulation to take a critical look into this and other similar issues that are capable of demarketing the industry.
“Though the sector is beginning to experience improvement in terms of patronage and claims payout, the perception of the industry by the public is still not what it should be.
“This is unacceptable and it is high time we changed the narrative collectively as an industry.
“We must all see this business as an interest that we must all protect, and I again challenge the new leadership of the NIA to take action on this task.”
According to the commissioner, the new NIA leadership must at all times, ensure proper communication in engaging the commission through available bilateral windows.
He described the investiture of Omosehin as yet another occasion for celebration in the history of the association, following a smooth leadership transition.
Thomas commended the outgone NIA Chairman, Mr Ganiyu Musa, for his amiable leadership and stability of the operations of the association, his resilience, commitment and passion for the development of the insurance industry.
“We must also not forget his active role in ensuring the completion and eventual commissioning of the new Head Office of the NIA during his tenure.
“This singular action did succeed in significantly improving the image of the industry and has, indeed, given the association a facelift in the eyes of other compatriots in the Nigerian financial circle.
“We wish Musa and his team well and in the same breath also congratulate the in-coming leadership of the association led by Omosehin.
“As you take over the mantle of leadership, I pray that God grants you the grace and wisdom to lead your team to build on and surpass the achievements of your predecessors,” he said.
According to him, the unprecedented strides in the various components of the industry are evidence of the enormous hard work of the great men and women manning the different arms of the insurance industry.
Thomas stated that the Insurance industry still had a long way to go to attain the desired position in the financial services sector.
He expressed optimism in the ability and capacity of the new leadership at the NIA to work with other arms of the industry to deliver on this long held aspiration.
The NAICOM boss noted that the commission was mindful of the challenges operators in the industry had to contend with in adapting to drastic changes designed to accelerate the development and growth of the insurance business.
He said the current socio-political and economic environment in the country obviously called for realignment by all stakeholders to tackle inherent challenges in the insurance industry.
“There is the need for a firm handshake with all arms to engender fruitful collaborations and cooperation for the collective interest of all.
“On my appointment as Commissioner for Insurance, I did mention that the focus of the administration is development of the insurance market and I want to believe that this cardinal objective has not changed.
“The commission has been vigorously driving the issue of market development and enforcement of compulsory insurance these past two years and achieving some gains in the process,” he said.
According to him, greater efforts have been made to partner state governments on enforcement of compulsory insurance.
Thomas said the commission had embarked on this drive to till the ground while expecting the operators to take over and engage the markets, but the response from the industry was less than satisfactory.
He assured that the commission would continue to support the insurance industry and specifically the operators and players to thrive by instituting policies that would encourage equal access, investment of funds and healthy competition.