Minister charges NAICOM to boost insurance sector’s contribution to GDP

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From Uche Usim, Abuja

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Friday charged the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to boost the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), noting that the current insurance penetration of 0.88 for 2021 remains very low.

The Minister gave the charge in Abuja while commissioning the new NAICOM portal at its headquarters.

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She urged the Commission to leverage technology to harness the abundant opportunities for growth in the insurance market by developing new innovative products based on data and customer preferences and introduction of new channels of distribution beyond the traditional channels to reach new segments of the market.

“There is also a need for cooperation with other agencies of government to enforce compulsory insurance in the country. Stakeholders in the industry must consciously and intentionally spread the reach of insurance from the major cities and few states to other regions of the country, especially the rural areas. Low penetration in the retail end of the market must also be addressed through vigorous drive of inclusive Insurance like micro insurance and takaful.

“Dwindling Government revenue profile demands that the Commission must look into ways of increasing its revenue through the use of technology and the portal in particular. I urge the Commission to ensure the portal is connected to other government databases like the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) NIN database, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Passport database, Nigeria Integrated Customs Information system, FRSC’s National Vehicle Identification System, the National Vehicle Registry, State Licensing Databases among others in order to provide value added services to all Insurance Industry stakeholders and enhance revenue generation.

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“The unsatisfactory response to settlement of claims by underwriters has greatly contributed to the prevailing poor public perception and lack of trust and confidence in the insurance Industry. Indeed, prompt claims payment is the best advertisement for the industry, therefore all genuine claims that have been duly verified and due process followed, should be paid promptly. The Commission must put in place mechanisms to ensure Insurance companies meet their obligations to policyholders by paying claims promptly as that is the major reason they exist in the first place” she explained.

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In his remarks at the event, the Commissioner for Insurance and NAICOM Chief Executive Officer, Olorundare Sunday Thomas noted that with the completion of the portal, there will be process efficiency and faster processing time as applications and supporting documents are submitted online, applicant’s account is updated with the status of the application as it progresses and there is effective real-time communication between NAICOM and the applicant.

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He added that the portal also provides a platform for interconnectivity by all industry stakeholders to support real-time aggregation of data on policies at the time of underwriting and policy issuance.

Each policy, he said, will be issued with a unique policy ID that will be associated with the policy for the lifetime of the policy.

“The Portal is presently made up of four systems: The Policy System that captures all insurance policies issued in Nigeria online real-time via Application Programming Interface (APIs). It generates a unique policy identification number for all issued policies necessary to ensure fidelity and validity of all policies in the country and manages information on all insurance policies and premiums. It enables insurance customers and third-party entities such as Law Enforcement Agencies to query and validate insurance policies.

“There is the Licensing System that automates the core business processes of Registration/Renewal of Licenses, New Products, AIP no objection & Attestation approvals at NAICOM. All of these application processes will proceed digitally from the application stage where all supporting documents are provided, to the review stage, the approval stage and license generation where applicable.

“Complaints Management System is a customized solution designed to help the Commission manage complaints and handle issues seamlessly as well as ensure that insurance companies are performing highly and clients are serviced adequately. The system is also designed to integrate directly with NAICOM existing database, utilizing existing records of customers and insurance companies; it incorporates multiple channels for initiation of complaints including Social media applications (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter), Direct action on the complaint portal, Walk-in complainants, Regular media, Emails &SMS (Short Code) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD); while the Regulatory Returns and Financial Analysis provides the platform for the submission of all Insurance Industry Regulatory returns and compliance electronically. The financial analysis module of it aims at automating financial analysis, credit control functions, computation of levies, and providing adequate and timely information to support management decision-making as well as serve as a central repository for current and historical financial information about the Insurers, Re-insurers, Brokers and Loss Adjusters”, he explained.

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