Workers at risk as government delays insurance premium payment
The Federal Government may have been tacitly telling its workers that they are “on their own” as it delays in renewing the Group Life Insurance Policy (GLIP), with N15 billion worth of claims alleged to have been lost.
Months after GLIP cover expired, insurance operators have been calling on the government to renew the premium to protect the lives of over 89,000 civil servants against industrial hazards in the place of work.
Group life insurance is undertaken by the Federal Government through the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation on behalf of the civil servants for their protection against unforeseen circumstances, such as death and disabilities associated with industrial hazards, while in active service.
Meanwhile, investigations revealed that the Federal Government still owed about N2.1 billion, amounting to 38 per cent as outstanding premium for 2017 Group Life Cover of its workers across the country.
The GLIP, recognised as a means of providing social welfare in the country, had since its commencement, been marred with premium defaults, making it impossible for the beneficiaries to realise its full benefits.
By the terms of the operations of GLIP, premium should be renewed on a yearly basis, as the lapse of the policy portends danger for civil servants- relatives of workers who died during such periods are usually not paid by the underwriting companies.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Adelakun Idowu, in an interview with The Guardian, over the weekend, blamed federal government for not renewing the policy, which has been expired since April this year.
According to him, it is quite unfortunate that we don’t have government that can keep to it promises with agitations.
He said that government has refused to renew its cover that had expired, even though, several hundreds of federal workers have died within this timeframe and insurance companies cannot compensate the deceased families because of No Premium, No Cover Policy by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
Idowu warned that by the time they are done with the minimum wage mass rally in January, 2019, they shall come back to ask the government why the GLIP of workers are yet to be renewed and believed the NLC would pursue the matter to logical conclusion.
Some of the operators who also spoke to The Guardian expressed worry that the delays and inconsistencies in the payment of the yearly premium by the government had continued to leave many dependants without any form of compensation.
According to them, death claims worth over N15 billion cannot be paid to relatives of deceased workers during periods when insurance premiums were not paid.
“However, the implication is that the dependants of workers who died when premium had not been paid will not have anything to claim from the insurance companies, except the Federal Government decides to make a separate package for them,” an operator said.
The operators said they had to comply with the “No Premium, No Cover” regulation, stating that insurance cover could only commence when the premium had been paid.
Section 4 (5) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 states that “every employers (FG) shall maintain a group life insurance policy in favour of each employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee and premium shall be paid not later than the date of commencement.”