Expert Appeals to Government to Establish Insurance Tribunal

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Dr Sam Onyeka, an insurance expert has appealed to the Federal Government to establish a specialist insurance tribunal to handle cases associated with insurance in the country.

Onyeka, also the Lead Director, Transparent Protection Ltd./Guarantee (TPL), an insurance NGO said this at a webinar organised by TPL in Abuja on Tuesday.

He suggested at the webinar with the title: “Insurance and National Development’’, that only persons with a legal background and familiar with insurance practices be appointed members of the tribunal.

The expert also suggested the establishment of a well-funded insurance regulatory academy to provide structured training to regulatory personnel.

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Onyeka, who described the insurance sector in the country as under-developed, appealed to government at all levels to take insurance business seriously.

He said that insurance could guarantee a credit lifestyle which was fundamental to development, enable government and organisations raise long term funds and provide jobs directly and indirectly

Onyeka said that insurance could also help to absorb social and economic pressure from people and government if taken seriously.

According to him, although the sector reported growth of 15.55 per cent in 2019, with Gross Written Premium (GWP) of N413 billion (about U.S 1billion dollars), compared with N400 billion in 2018, the insurance sector in the country ranks 62nd in the world.

He expressed regret that insurance penetration in the country had remained at less than one per cent in comparison with South Africa having 16.9 per cent penetration.

“The sector should pursue massive insurance awareness at the grassroots and all available funds should be deployed for this purpose.

“Insurers in Nigeria must win back public trust and confidence by ensuring prompt settlement of all genuine claims.

“As a matter of urgency, the government should establish a specialist insurance tribunal.

“Only fit and proper persons with legal background who are familiar with insurance practice should be appointed as members,’’ he explained.

The expert, also an Insurance and Risk Management Consultant, urged the National Assembly to accelerate the passage of the Insurance Bill 2020 into law for prompt assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Onyeka emphasised the need for some insurance regulations to be relaxed in specific instances to remove entry barriers into the market.

He appealed to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to register as many brokers and financial advisors as possible and also license more life insurers and reinsurers.

“Claims settlement should be strictly enforced. NGOs and faith-based organisations should be brought on board for driving microinsurance development,’’ he suggested.

TPL was established in 2012 to help address the complex issues of insurance sector underdevelopment in the country.

The organisation seeks to proactively assist both the insurer and the insured to more easily understand their rights and obligations in relation to an insurance contract.

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