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NAICOM Unveils Three-Years Strategic Reforms for Insurance Sector

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) said it has rolled out three-years strategic reforms (2021-2023) that will see the transformation of the insurance sector.

The commission said the starting point of the reform was to return operating firms to liquidity status by ensuring that they restructure their balance sheets so that those that currently rely on assets that they can hardly turn to cash would effect a major turnaround in their operations and run their business based on cash flow instead of fixed assets.

The commission said it has already started this through expert advice on owners of various insurance firms who have in the past exceeded the maximum level of investment in real estate and are now facing a cash crunch and could not easily turn their assets to cash to keep afloat in business.

It further said it is strictly guiding operators to ensure that going forward none exceeds the 25 percent maximum investment in the real estate sector.

NAICOM Director of Supervision, Mr. Thompson Barineka, who spoke on behalf of the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thompson, at a media retreat organised by the regulator in Lagos at the weekend, revealed these.

He observed that most of the firms currently regarded as weak are not actually weak in the real sense of it considering the value of assets they have mainly in the real estate sector.

He said their actual problem is their inability to quickly turn those assets into cash and continue to discharge their responsibilities to the public.

Thomas said this being the case, the commission, having accomplished the five-year strategic plans it had set for itself, is now embarking on a three-year reform aimed at positioning the commission as a global competitive regulator whose functions are compliant with global best practices and whose supervisory roles enthrone the regime of strong, viable and virile insurance institutions strong enough to carry the risks of other economic operators and meet the prevailing needs of the insuring public.

The reforms according to Thomas rests on five strong pillars namely: entrenching effective and efficient service delivery; ensuring safe, sound and stable insurance sector; adequately protecting policyholders and public interest; improving trust and confidence in the insurance sector; encouraging innovation, and promotion of insurance market development.

According to him, the reform also gears towards ensuring absolute trust on the commission through its promotion of insurance market development tailored towards improving the scope of internal rule-base to a new risk-based supervision approach using its new integrated governance management system.

Thomas, who was appointed as commissioner for insurance one year ago, noted that he initiated the reforms considering the fact that since the development of the last strategic plan which lasted between 2016 – 2020, there have been various events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the #EndSARS protests, and the rise in kidnappings, armed banditry, communal tensions and conflicts, which have impacted on the activities and initiatives of the commission.

According to him, these events have ushered in the new normal hence shaping how the industry conducts its business going forward and the corresponding regulatory response.

He said this has also created the need to prepare the workforce for the new work order, protection of policyholders, improving human capital, leveraging on technology and creating alternative channels of insurance distribution to stimulate productivity. He said NAICOM would also ensure periodic review and performance monitoring of the plan within its life span bearing in mind the pandemic.

He said a flashback on the state of the insurance sector before he took over the leadership and its current state would show that within the one-year period, stability has been achieved within the commission and the entire industry with staff welfare at the front burner.

He said within the one-year period, his administration has been able to issue licenses to five insurance firms in the category of three life insurance, one general insurance and one reinsurance operator.
He said before his tenure, the last reinsurance firm licensed in the country was 32 years ago while the last insurance firm was licensed ten years ago.

He said in line with the three-year strategic reforms, his administration saw the need to bring in new life insurance operators because, in today’s economy, one area driving the flow of funds to the industry is life business.

“Why South Africa is dominating insurance market in Africa is because of its strength in the life insurance business. Today in Nigeria, the contributory pension asset is in the neighborhood of over N12 trillion, it is expected that some of these funds will find their way to the insurance sector but at present, insurers are still scratching business on the surface,” he added.

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Airtel Partners AXA Mansard, Unveils Mobile Health Insurance via USSD

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Airtel Nigeria and AXA Mansard, have entered a strategic partnership to deepen access, participation and enrolment in health insurance for more Nigerians.

The partnership by Airtel and AXA Mansard is in response to the Federal Government’s goal, through the National Health Insurance Scheme, to provide easy access to healthcare for all Nigerians by leveraging on the USSD channel, an easy-to-use and interactive platform.

By dialing the shortcode, *987*7#, Airtel customers can now conveniently enroll for affordable and robust health insurance plans from AXA Mansard, with access to over 1,000 hospitals nationwide for quality healthcare services.

Commenting on Airtel’s partnership with AXA Mansard on the Mobile Health Insurance, the Head Mobile Financial Services, Airtel Nigeria, Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said the mobile health insurance initiative demonstrates Airtel’s commitment to providing innovative and relevant solutions that will empower more Nigerians to conveniently access best-in-class health insurance value offerings.

“Airtel Nigeria is always exploring innovative ways and platforms that will make life easier, more meaningful and more enjoyable for Nigerians. With this initiative, we are not just delivering bespoke health insurance services to the doorstep of more people, we are also leading a quiet revolution that will drive and deepen health insurance inclusion by removing the many barriers that have hitherto excluded many well-meaning Nigerians from participating in the sector.”

Speaking about the Mobile Health Insurance initiative, the Head, Emerging Customers and Digital Partnerships Group at AXA Mansard, Mr. Alfred Egbai, stated that “our research has shown the value and importance of having a health insurance plan to the public especially for the emerging customers in the country, but for many reasons, the uptake of insurance products has been low”.

He continued, “In order to mitigate these challenges and satisfy the health needs of the retail consumer whilst also encouraging the uptake of health insurance in the country, we have partnered with Airtel Nigeria to provide a solution that gives users a convenient way to purchase and manage their AXA Mansard micro-insurance plans.”

Malaria Cover, Inpatient, Outpatient, Specialist medical consultations, Immunizations, Family planning, Ambulance services, Dental care and more are some of the covers provided in the AXA Mansard Health plans.

“The challenges to the implementation of health insurance schemes hitherto include a low level of awareness, affordability, ineffective distribution systems and inefficient payment models.

“The partnership between Airtel Nigeria and AXA Mansard is aimed at solving these challenges and assisting Nigerians to access a viable Health Insurance Scheme,” he said

Airtel Nigeria, as a socially responsible organization, will continue to partner with industry leaders to bring products and services that will touch the lives of its subscribers in very positive ways.

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AXA Mansard Launches MyAXA Plus – A Better, Faster, and More Convenient Mobile App

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AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, a member of the AXA Group and global leader in insurance and asset management, today announced the launch of its new “MyAXA Plus” mobile application.

This follows the launch of the company’s first mobile app in 2017 and further underscores the company’s desire to deliver delightful and relevant, cutting-edge financial solutions to its customers and the larger society.

“MyAXA Plus” has been very well received because it provides a much improved, seamless, and satisfying experience that puts users at the heart of every feature and action on the app.

The features available at launch include:

  • Make Claims: Customers can make claims on their insurance policy, enabling fast reporting of incidents and payment of claims by the company.
  • Book Hospital Visits: HMO customers of AXA Mansard can receive care at over 1,700+ hospitals, and with MyAXA Plus, they can also pre-book hospital visits, reducing their wait time while also getting faster access to specialist consultations.
  • Renew Insurance Policy: Customers, by providing their car plate number on the app, can also renew their motor insurance policy within a few minutes.
  • Invest & liquidate funds: Investors, whether with a high or low-risk appetite can find the right investment options on the app. Also, liquidation of funds and crediting of the customer account is completed within 5 minutes via the app.
  • Data-driven advice: App users can make informed decisions by checking the market rates and trends before investing funds, reading articles by experts, and interacting with a robot-advisor that uses information provided by the customers to suggest the right products and insurance cover in seconds.

In addition, MyAXA Plus allows registered and unregistered users to generate instant quotes of any product; use the BMI calculator; read blog articles; check investment trends & rates; calculate returns on investment; calculate the market value of any car; and contact sales agents for more information.

“After launching the first of its kind MyAXA mobile app which gave customers a consolidated, single point of access to their general and life insurance; health insurance; assets and savings accounts in 2017, our team set out to build a more advanced solution to further empower customers to achieve their financial goals and access quality healthcare, wherever and however they choose,” said Mr. Bayo Adesanya, the Chief Digital Innovation Officer at AXA Mansard.

“We are committed to achieving the singular goal of putting our customers first, in this instance, by building an app that incorporates their feedback on desired features and improvements, as well as including other market-leading innovations. We urge our existing and future customers to start using MyAXA Plus today.”

To download MyAXA Plus by AXA Mansard Insurance, visit App Store for iOS users and the Google Play Store for Android users respectively.

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NAICOM Partners FRSC To Enforce Compulsory Motor Insurance

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has partnered with the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) on the enforcement of compulsory motor insurance in the country.

The move will ensure that about 10 million uninsured vehicles in the country are captured into the insurance industry. The insurance industry is expected to generate additional revenue of N50 billion through this.

Mr. Sunday Thomas, the Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, NAICOM, spoke during a courtesy visit from The Corp Marshall, FRSC, Boboye oyeyemi, and his team, he said the partnership is needed to enforce vehicle insurance as part of the compulsory insurances, stating that, this move will eradicate insurance racketeers while ensuring that those who fail to comply are adequately prosecuted.

He promised that the regulatory body and FRSC will work out an effective plan for the enforcement of 3rd party motor insurance in the country.

Boboye Opeyemi, on his part, appreciated the concerns of the insurance regulator, noting that the road safety corps is more than ready to work with NAICOM to ensure vehicles on Nigerian roads carry genuine insurance certificates.

Newsmen had earlier reported that, of the estimated 13 million vehicles on Nigerian roads across the country, only three million of them have at least third-party motor insurance certificates, leaving about 10 million vehicles uninsured.

The 10 million uninsured vehicles, according to findings, were the ones owned by the government and private individuals and companies.

Investigation shows that some of these 10 million vehicles parade fake motor insurance papers, while some did not have any insurance coverage even as few who had genuine insurance papers before, have failed to renew when their previous motor insurance cover expired.

To this end, these uninsured vehicle owners newsmen findings show, have violated the Federal Roads Safety Corps(FRSC) Act which mandates all vehicles on Nigerian roads to carry at least a third-party motor insurance policy.

Third-Party Vehicle Insurance comes at a fixed price of N5,000 for privately used saloons and SUVs, while commercially used vehicles are charged N7,500 and in some cases, N5,000.

Using the N5,000 insurance valuation of which each vehicle should at least carry, the insurance industry can recoup N50 billion premium income annually if all the 10 million vehicle owners could be compelled to have genuine insurance certificates.

Low enforcement of compulsory motor insurance, according to market observers, has been responsible for the insurance apathy of road users.

To recoup the N50 billion, newsmen learned that, prior to this engagement, insurance operators, under the auspices of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) have engaged Lagos State in the past on enforcement of motor insurance through their licensing offices. Similarly, there were already ongoing discussions with Kaduna, Niger, Kogi and Ogun States to ensure that motorists get genuine insurance cover at the point of renewing their vehicle particulars at licensing offices across the aforementioned states.

The chairman, NIA, Mr. Ganiyu Musa, had earlier disclosed that the industry is embittered about what it is losing to insurance racketeers and non-insurance of vehicles, disclosing that, the association, on behalf of the insurance industry, is engaging five states with plans to extend to other states as the time progresses.

According to him, “we are also working closely with the state vehicle Inspection service on enforcement of Third Party Motor Insurance in the state. We are also engaging Niger, Kaduna, Kogi and Ogun States, and remain hopeful that other states will see value in the platform and embrace it. Out of the estimated 13 million vehicles in Nigeria, only about 2,939,767 Third Party Motor policies are in force as of Apr 26, 2021.”

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