Insurers meet government on industry challenges

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

CHIEFTAINS of the insurance industry and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) met with the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at the weekend since her resumption of office to chart a way forward for the industry.

The meeting offered the industry ample opportunity to engage the Minister on some pressing issues and challenges in the sub-sector.

Although decisions reached at the meeting was not available at press time, The Guardian gathered that industry chiefs urged government that insurance should be made the cornerstone of the nation’s economic vision of the present administration, bearing in mind that risk management and mitigation is the fulcrum of enduring economic growth.

The industry justified the call on the fact that insurance still remained the engine room for economic survival of any country, that is, insurance exists for the survival of other businesses. The relevance of insurance to national development, insurers explained, was not surprising as reduction of effect of uncertainty and volatility helped companies operating in the sub-sector to smoothen the economic circle and reduce the impact of crisis situation on the micro and aggregate macro levels.

Besides, insurance industry should be the catalyst for economic growth as obtainable in other climes. Regrettably, this has not been the case in the country.

Therefore, all the tiers of government should show more commitment to the policy of that would possibly transform the insurance sector as an agent of growth.

The challenges that are responsible for the abysmally poor contribution of the insurance sector to the national economy, insurers say, include encroachment on insurance business by government agencies, low government patronage of insurance services the need for prompt payment of premium by government agencies, restrictions on insurance investments and recognition of offshore investments, insurance of oil and gas, imports.

The encroachment on insurance business by agencies of government, which try to provide insurance protection to aviation passengers and public liability for nuclear risks.

Government and its agencies have been paying lip service to the importance and benefits of insurance without serious patronage and support. There is hardly sufficient budget provision for payment of insurance premium by government and its agencies. Therefore, when insurance services are patronized, payment of premium becomes an issue, a clear negation of the provision of the law on “No premium, no cover”

There is need to amend the provisions of Insurance Act 2003 and regulations of insurance company investments in line with current realities of business.

Amendment of the companies income tax (Amendment) Act 2007 with a view to correcting the absurdities in the provisions which made he statues inimical to the growth and development of insurance industry in the country, multiple taxation of insurance companies by different tiers of government, the ned for the Federal Government to support the quest for accelerated insurance penetration and density in Nigeria through micro insurance and takaful

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