By ROSEMARY ONUOHA
Insurance companies under the auspices of the Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA, are set to lobby the federal government to put machinery in place for possible bail-out options for distressed insurance companies.
The newly inaugurated Chairman of NIA, Mr. Remi Olowude, who stated this in Lagos said that government has always ignored insurance companies even when they are in trouble.
Olowude said “Insurance companies are institutional investors which invest in equities and securities. When these entities fail, insurance companies are faced with the challenges of honouring their obligations to their customers, but unfortunately, there is nothing in place on the part of the government to bail out the insurers in times of trouble. This is food for thought.”
Olowude said that efforts would be made to ensure the restructuring and strengthening of the association’s secretariat for effective public sector liaison and monitoring of the political and legal environment as it affects insurance, adding that this has become necessary as recent events in the financial sector have shown that no insurance company was too big to fail or too small not to matter.
To this end, Olowude said that the NIA hopes to seek an audience with the Presidency to table issues such as the key roles of insurance to the socio-economic growth and development of the nation.
Olowude said in line with the association’s determination to achieve its mission and objectives, it has become imperative to take deliberate steps towards closer interaction and strategic partnership with all stakeholders, particularly the major arms of government – Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.
He noted that towards this end, the Governing Council of the association will consider seeking an audience with the Presidency to table issues such as the key roles of insurance to the socio-economic growth and development of the nation.
He said insurance industry and the government can collaborate in areas of poverty alleviation, to give the industry the opportunity to contribute to the formulation of certain government policies and representation in appropriate government committees; among others.
“Similarly, we intend to initiate interactive sessions with the appropriate committees or organs of the two chambers of the National Assembly to discuss issues such as restrictive laws on insurance practice, multiple taxation, insurance awareness and penetration, development of oil and gas industry.
“The NIA will equally strengthen relationships with the different organs of the Judiciary by organising annual or bi-annual insurance seminars for judges and the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association.
“The seminars will focus on developments in insurance law in Nigeria, and ensure that the judiciary, legal profession, the regulators, and practitioners in the insurance industry as well as the media have a mutual understanding of insurance law and practice. The more people understand the law, the less the courts are inundated with avoidable suits.”
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