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Insurance firms will not retrench – Wiggle

The Nigeria Insurers Association has assured that it 58 insurance companies in the country will not retrench any of their staffs in a bid to cope with the current financial crisis affecting all sectors of the nation’s economy of which insurance industry is part of.

Mr. Godwin Wiggle, outgoing Chairman of the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) disclosed this during a chat session with journalists announcing the end to his two-year tenure as the chairman of the association in Lagos, noted that though some sectors are sacking workers to cope with the present economic reality, the sector felt retrenchment of workers will not change the current situation, but instead, throwing more people into the already depressed labour market.

Though, doing business under the present situation is challenging, he said insurers would continue to think out of the box to remain afloat.

He urged the government to assist the industry by enforcing compulsory insurance laws, stressing that relegating insurance, as presently being practiced, is inimical to the development of the economy.

According to him, insurance plays an important role in the economy, as it helps to reduce economic waste.

However, the outgoing lamented that underwriters, Federal and State governments are losing a lot of revenue to fake insurance outfits across the country.

Despite efforts to tame the activities of the racketeers, Mr. Godwin Wiggle, said it seems they are always finding ways to perpetrate their evil act.

He blamed Nigerians who are patronizing them by buying, especially, third party motor insurance cover from them because it is cheap, noting that any person who do so is only carrying a worthless paper that could not be presented for claims, warning Nigerians to beware of these men of the underworld.

“Fake insurance is a worthless paper, but it seems people are ready to buy fake paper because it is cheap. The fact that a product is cheap does not make it a good one. Government is losing revenue from fake insurance because these racketeers don’t pay tax from the illegitimate businesses they do.”

The Chairman therefore called for the cooperation of the law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to assist, especially in the area of fake third party motor insurance certificates which majority of road users carry in the country.

If fake insurance could be abolished, he stressed that government will generate more revenue, while more employment would be created, if genuine insurers have access to the several billions of Naira the insurance industry is losing to these insurance racketeers.

Speaking on Energy and Allied Insurance Pool (EAIPN), Mr. Godwin Wiggle, said that over 20 insurance companies in the country have subscribed to pool since the take-off.

He added that to ensure high performance and leverage on international experience, African Re has been appointed as the manager to the pool.

He noted that the association organized micro insurance fair in 2015, which aim was to bring the stakeholders together and chart the way forward for micro insurance in Nigeria. “I am happy to report that it was a success and we will continue to build on the success of that event to push micro-insurance as a veritable product line for improving market penetration”, he said.

According to him, “To enforce market discipline by encouraging peer review among member companies with a view to aligning the market practice with international best practices and sustain the current effort at addressing the laws affecting the growth of the market. The Companies Income Tax Amendment Act (CITA) 2007 amongst others readily comes to mind.

“To increase the support for the Technical Committees of the Association with a view to realizing their potential which will be harnessed for the achievement of the overall goals of the Association and fast track the process of re-establishing the Oil & Gas Insurance Pool so that the industry can reap the full benefit of the Nigerian Local Content Development Act.

“Also to promote micro insurance as a way of deepening insurance penetration in Nigeria and looking back at the agenda we set for ourselves at the beginning of our tenure, we want to say that we have made some modest achievements during the period.

“In the area of promoting market discipline, the mandate of the Governing Council Disciplinary Committee has been widened to include Conflict Resolution among members. This is to enable the Committee handle disputes between member companies. This will complement activities of the Customer Complaints Bureau.”

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