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Expert Advocates for Insurance Tribunal

The Federal Government of Nigeria has been urged to establish a specialist insurance tribunal to handle cases associated with insurance in the country.

The appeal was made on Wednesday by Dr Sam Onyeka, Lead Director, Transparent Protection Ltd./Guarantee (TPL), an insurance NGO Onyeka mad the appeal at a webinar held in Abuja on Tuesday.

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

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

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

H said: “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. Insurance could also help to absorb social and economic pressure from people and government if taken seriously.”

According to Onyeka, 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,” he pointed out, “ 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, 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 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 micro insurance 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 insurance contract. (NAN)

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