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Sanctions on ‘Untouchable’ Firms Reinforced Claims Payment – NAICOM

Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance, has said that sanctions meted on two insurance companies, which hitherto were considered untouchable, compelled insurance operators to improve on claims settlements processes.
Daniel, who disclosed recently in Lagos that the sanctions given two months after he took over leadership of the industry’s regulatory body, sent correct messages to insurance practitioners that it was no longer going to be business as usual.
“Two months after I took over, we sanctioned two insurance companies, which hitherto were considered untouchable and that sent the correct message to insurance practitioners that it is no longer going to be business as usual and they were compelled to improve significantly on claims settlements processes,” he said.
He noted that the commission’s quest to protect policy holders is succeeding, adding that when he came on board in 2007, on average on weekly basis, the commission received 15 to 20 complaints from members of the public against insurance companies. And to address the needs of the public, NAICOM, then reinvigorated the Complaints Bureau.
“We engaged more professionals and strengthened the Bureau. We thought these complaints would have quadrupled but because of the measure we took. “We are not done yet because we believe that insurance companies must engender the kind of confidence that you find in insurance industry in United Kingdom, US and South Africa.
Therefore we said, even though we saw some improvements, we still decided that we still need to keep on with the pressure.
“What we did next was to set up a Call Centre which receives complaints from members of the public real-time. We also believe in self- regulation therefore we are working with the Nigerian Insurers Association to self -regulate as much as possible in the area of consumer confidence.
“The collaboration with NIA culminated in the setting up of an Ombudsman under the Chairmanship of a retired appeal court judge who is a very reputable gentleman.
You will recall that since last January, we have been repeating a publication in newspapers asking insurance consumers that are aggrieved due to denial of genuine claims or delay in settlement to come forward and lodge complaints,” he added.
Daniel maintained that though insurers generally find the pressure on prompt payment of claims discomforting, the commission is happy about it because it has yielded accelerated attention. He said NAICOM will continue with this drive until the commission is able to achieve zero case of complaints for delayed settlement or denial of genuine claims.

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