The DG of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Dupe Atoki, has advised the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to ensure prompt payment of claims by insurance companies to correct wrong perceptions about the industry.
The Director General gave this advise at the grand finale of Annual National Insurance Consumers’ Colloquium held by the council, Pastures Consult Ltd. and Dividend in Lagos on Friday.
The colloquium’s theme was titled ‘100 Years After: Is Insurance Working in Nigeria?’
Atoki, represented by her deputy, Joshua Yakubu, said some Nigerians deliberately boycott insurance because they had wrong perceptions that insurance companies do not pay claims.
She said the only way such perception could be changed was for NAICOM to mandate compulsory payment of claims on time.
The director-general commended NAICOM for steps it had taken to uplift the insurance industry and urged it to continue in that light.
According to her, the council will develop synergy with insurance consumers and regulators for a common ground in dealing with identified challenges.
She also said the council would work with NAICOM to ensure efforts were put in place to curb the abuse of the rights of insurance consumers in the country.
Atoki enjoined more Nigerians to have insurance policies, not for personal reasons alone, but for national prosperity.
Femi Falana (SAN), who delivered a lecture on “Enforcement of Insurance and Insurance Related Laws “ said that the country needed to do more by investing in education, health and other social services.
Section 14 (2b) of the Constitution provides that the welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.
“Nigeria, with its abundant resources, has not been able to insure the life of her people by investing in education, health and other social services’’ he said.
Falana, who was represented by Barrister Kabiru Akingbolu, said the insurance laws applicable in the country were deficient in many areas and the rights guaranteed by those laws were breached with impunity.
He urged the government to address the issue and also embark on enlightenment programmes for citizens to appreciate the benefits of insurance.
The senior advocate also called on insurers to ensure that claims are paid promptly by insurance companies.
Jude Modilim, the Group Head, Energy and Special Risk of International Energy Insurance Plc, also spoke on the economic importance of insurance to national development at the event.
He said that the industry needed to combat low awareness of insurance in the country.
Modilim urged practitioners to embrace `consumerism`, which meant that consumers’ interest should always be promoted.
“Once the citizens are conscious of insurance, national growth and development will be rapid.
“This is because insurance goes beyond providing security; insurance generates financial resources for investment in bonds. It is also an important source of capital formation,’’ he said.
One of the participants, Gabriel Offor, commended the organisers for putting the colloquium together.
He said that all stakeholders in the industry had roles to play to move it forward, urging the players to always be transparent.