The federal government on Friday approved the appointment of Sunday Thomas as the acting Insurance commissioner of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), pending the appointment of a substantive head for the regulatory body.
The immediate past Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari last week handed over to Thomas on the expiration of his first term in office on July 30, after hinting the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse.
Sources at the commission confirmed that Thomas got the letter to act as the commissioner today, in what appears to have blocked the return of Kari whom many expected back following his reported recommendation by Zainab Ahmed, the former finance minister.
Thomas, until his appointment in acting capacity, served the commission as the deputy commissioner (technical) during the tenure of Kari.
He was appointed in April 2017 after a 17 -year stint at the commission, working in and heading the inspectorate unit before his exit on appointment as the director-general, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) on May 1, 2010. He was the director-general for seven years.
Prior to his first experience at the commission, he had worked in the insurance industry for over 10 years during which he rose to the position of an assistant general manager at AIICO Insurance Plc before he left in 1992.
Thomas formal appointment in acting insurance commissioner came as the industry operators harmonised their positions on the likely successor to Kari, who may still resurface at the commission following the return of Zainab Ahmed to the cabinet.
Presently, the industry operators are considering who to support among some candidates that have emerged as contenders for the NAICOM plum position.
They are Odunayo Banmeke, the general manager, insurance at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation who is being pushed forward by those claiming to be ‘elders’ in the sub-sector.
Others are Mohammed Hussein, the current managing director of Nicon Insurance, who allegedly claimed to have been appointed as the new commissioner, Yemi Soladoye, managing director of Riskguard Africa Nigeria Limited and also, Thomas, the current acting insurance commissioner who is subtly pushing to be appointed as the substantive head for the regulatory body.