By Ginika Okoye
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has issued its first licence in 35 years to a reinsurance company.
The commission also issued licences to four insurance companies and two takaful insurance companies for the first time in 10 years.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, who issued the licences on Friday in Abuja, said it was to deepen the insurance market and expand operations in the country.
He urged the companies to focus on products that would meet the insurance needs of the people, saying that the commission would not hesitate to recall the licence of any company which failed in its responsibilities.
“The last licence issued by NAICOM was about 10 years ago and so, what we are doing today is historic.
“Some of the actions were deliberate, especially with respect to life underwriters and non-life underwriters because we had wanted people to acquire the existing companies.
“Now, we have gotten to a point where there is need for us to deepen the market. Every day we live and go to bed with risks all over us and therefore there is the need for us to expand the scope of our operations.
” The only thing we can do is to increase the supply side.
“The demand side is yearning for products that they can buy in and secure their future. We believe that the team will do what will ensure the sustainability of the companies,’’ he said.
The commissioner, who expressed regret over the current poor rating of the country in insurance, urged the companies to help get more people involved in the sector, especially at the micro level.
The Chief Executive Officer of FBS Reinsurance Limited, Mr Fola Daniel, assured the commission that the company would comply with its regulations.
“We don’t have a reason not to be compliant, we will be self-regulating in a way that the commission will not suffer headache on account of the company.
“We will be your worthy ambassador, thank you for giving us this opportunity to add value to the insurance industry particularly, capacity to the reinsurance world,’’ he said.
Mr Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of Heirs Insurance Limited (General), assured the commission that the company would surpass the insurance expectations of the people, saying that it looked forward to working with NAICOM to engage the National Assembly on necessary legislation to move the sector forward.
“We understand market research, we understand what consumers want, we know how to reach them and surpass their expectations and there is always room for improvement, especially with technology.
“We will work with this leadership of NAICOM and other industry leaders to bring about the change that will help the industry grow so that the contribution to GDP will move to three per cent under your leadership.
“We want to make sure we take insurance to our people, have better understanding of insurance, assurance products, make sure that they embrace it and the stereotypes that exist; we will work together to educate and create awareness,’’ he said.
The Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited, Mr Yinka Sanni, commended NAICOM for the speed with which the company’s application was processed.
Hajia Saadat Mohammed, a representative of the Chairman of Salam Takaful Insurance Company Limited, said that the issuance of the licence to the company was an opportunity to encourage financial inclusion.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other insurance companies that were issued licences include Heirs Life Assurance Limited, Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited and Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria. (NAN)