The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, going forward will make public performance index of operating insurance companies with the view to engender competition and boost customer service.
Speaking at the second interactive session with consumers of insurance products and services in Lagos on Monday, the acting Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas said that henceforth, insurance companies will be assessed and ranked on the quality of their service delivery to customers and the ranking of companies in this regard will be made public in order to provoke healthy competition among insurers. This he said will boost consumers’ choice and confidence in insurance.
Thomas said the forum was designed to collectively X-ray the factors that could be responsible for poor service delivery in the sector and that it is one of the very rare moments where all stakeholders come together to discuss challenges confronting both the demand and supply sides of the insurance sector in the country.
According to him, Customers’ satisfaction is central to the sustainability and success of every business, insurance inclusive, adding, “We are aware of some of the obvious challenges bedevilling the sector either on the side of operators, consumers, investors or regulator. These challenges could be very overwhelming, however we must not relent in looking for better ways to effectively and efficiently ensure delivery of quality services to policyholders.”
Thomas noted that from the regulatory perspective, policyholders remains a key component of the agency’s primary constituency and therefore must ensure they are treated fairly and protected as enshrine in the relevant laws; while at the same time balancing the supervisory role of ensuring financial soundness and reliability of insurance institutions in the country.
The acting Commissioner observed that consumers are faced with challenges that may vary from one individual or entity’s experience to another while the provider is faced with constraints that may also differ from one company to the other but that only regular interactions such as this one will amongst others foster a better understanding and synergy that will result to better services to the consumer.
He said the Commission took the step in 2018 to incept the platform that will provide the most critical stakeholder in the sector which is the consumer, the opportunity to be heard and be informed first-hand on the workings of the sector.
Speaking further he recalled that last year’s session was adjudged to be a huge success as critical issues affecting consumers of insurance products were brought to limelight.
Thomas listed some of the takeaways from the event to include, the need for insurance companies to improve the quality of their service delivery as well as the need for operators to launch innovative, consumer – specific and problem-solving products, leverage on technology to deepen insurance penetration and above all ensure prompt payment of claims.
These takeaways from the 2018 interaction with insurance consumers significantly contributed and shaped the Commission’ policy formulation process and eventual issuance of Guidelines and Circulars to the industry this past one year, especially in the areas of quality service delivery and ease of doing business, he said.
NAICOM, he pointed is well positioned to ensure adequate protection of policyholders at all times adding that the topic on consumer protection has become central to regulators around the globe and the insurance sector is not an exception. Continuing efforts and new reforms are being put in place by NAICOM to ensure prompt payment of genuine claims by insurers.
“The Complaints Bureau Unit of the Commission has also been working assiduously to resolve policyholders’ issues relating to non-settlement of claims, contract agreement violation etc. It is pertinent to inform you that the Unit been further enhanced with the deployment of more staff at very senior level to effectively discharge assigned responsibilities. Its doors are widely open to receive and resolve, as much as it can, issues on non-settlement of genuine claims from the public.
The Commission has strong passion that insurance consumers are served right and feeling your pulse on the services offered you by your insurers will feed us with ingredients needed to strategise on repositioning the industry for better services. There is no doubt that we all desire a paradigm shift from the current state of our industry to a better state where we will not be grumbling on issues of prompt claims settlement, pricing of insurance products, value for money, innovative products etc. However, you will agree with me that none of these could be achieved if we don’t come together and discuss our successes and failures.
I therefore implore you to feel free to express your views and speak on your experiences as consumers of insurance products in Nigeria.” he charged participants.
He recalled that recent developments and reforms in our sector particularly, the recapitalisation exercise is a move to ensure that the industry becomes more robust in its technical competence and financial base.
The process he further explained is aimed at repositioning the sector for self-actualization in terms of growth and development; the end result of which will be to enhance the ability of insurers to provide better protection and improved services to the customers.