The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Monday said insurance companies in the country would henceforth be assessed and ranked based on the quality of their service delivery to customers.
Mr Sunday Thomas, Acting Commissioner of NAICOM, said this at the 2019 Annual Interactive Session with consumers of insurance products held in Lagos.
Thomas, represented by Alhaji Adamu Balanti, Director, Head Office Branch of NAICOM, said that the ranking of the companies in this regard would be made public to provoke healthy competition among insurers.
He explained that the commission had a strong passion that insurance consumers were served right and a feedback on the services offered to them by the insurers would equip the commission on how to strategise on repositioning the industry for better services.
“There is no doubt that we all desire a paradigm shift from the current state of our industry to a better state where we will not be grumbling on issues of prompt claims settlement.
“Also, pricing of insurance products, value for money and innovative products among others.
“However, you will agree with me that none of these could be achieved if we do not come together and discuss our successes and failure,” he said.
According to him, customers’ satisfaction is central to the sustainability and success of every business and insurance is inclusive.
Thomas said the commission was aware of some of the obvious challenges bedevilling the sector either on the side of operators, consumers, investors or regulator.
“These challenges could be very overwhelming, however, we must not relent in looking for better ways to effectively and efficiently ensure delivery of quality services to policyholders.
“From the regulatory perspective, policyholders remains a key component of our primary constituency and therefore must ensure they are treated fairly and protected as enshrine in the relevant laws.
“While at the same time balancing the supervisory role of ensuring financial soundness and reliability of insurance institutions in the country,” he said.
The acting commisioner noted that NAICOM was well positioned to ensure adequate protection of policyholders at all times.
He said to this end, continuous efforts and new reforms were being put in place by NAICOM to ensure prompt payment of genuine claims by insurers.
Thomas said that the Complaints Bureau Unit of the commission had also been working assiduously to resolve policyholders’ issues relating to non-settlement of claims and contract agreement violation,” among others.
In his presentation , Mr Tope Smart, Chairman, Nigeria Insurance Association (NIA), said that the main issue affecting prompt payment of claims administration in Nigeria was late notification, lack of proper documentation, inaccurate claims estimate and underinsurance.
“Also, exclusion clauses, failure to take preventive measure and non-payment of premium,” he said.
Smart, represented by Mr Lanre Olusola, Director of Operation, NIA, said that while insurance provides financial security for it’s policy holders, there must be a formal request before a claim is processed.
He said that the amount of claims paid by the insurance companies grew from N27 billion in 2009 to N207, 439 billion in 2018.
The NIA boss listed the challenges the insurance companies were facing to include: lack of trust, competition, mismanagement, economic instability, manpower and fraudulent act of customers.
“In claims procedure, a notification must be made, policy reviewed, loss investigated and following satisfaction, a discharge voucher will be issued for payment to be made,” he said.
Smart, however, suggested that the for better service delivery and prompt payment of claims, the insurance companies must improve on its response time, support customers in documentation, engage more in-house loss assessors.
He advised that the policy conditions of the insurance companies should also be more accommodating while the awareness on insurance should be increased.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the discussants at the forum included: a representative form the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Road safety Corps, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council.
Also, the Nigeria Police Force, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria and the Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers.