The Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions has cast off a bill entitled: The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers Act 2003 (repeal and re-enactment) Bill 2015 proposed by the Council seeking autonomy.
The rejected document seeks to establish the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) as both the industry regulator and practitioner. This was sequel to the advice of the stakeholders at the public hearing, who unanimously kicked against the bill on the grounds that the bill would be inimical to the growth of the insurance industry, if passed into law.
In his presentation, chairman, Insurance Industry Law Review Committee and former president, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Joe Irukwu submitted that some aspects of the proposed bill are unconventional and detrimental, especially in the context of universal and settled principles of insurance regulation.
Irukwu explained that the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) was empowered to supervise and regulate the insurance industry while the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers was a trade association to promote interest of members.
He stressed that the NCRIB, under the proposed Act, should not be a practitioner and at the same time a regulator.
“The bill if enacted will be in conflict with the provisions of Act 22 of 1993, which empowers the Chattered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), the body charged with the general duty of determining the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become registered members of the insurance profession in Nigeria including the business of Insurance Broking.
“Furthermore, if the bill is passed as proposed, it will compromise standards and make the discipline of Insurance practitioners inimical to the future growth of the industry. The insurance is a key factor in our financial services industry and should not be polarised at a time when it should be strengthened for greater efficiency. The bill if passed into law as proposed, will not help to advance the growth and development of the industry.
“The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is the body statutorily empowered to supervise and regulate the whole of the Insurance industry in Nigeria in the interest of the public, whereas the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) is a trade association established to promote the interests of its members.
“The NCRIB cannot be practitioners and at the same time be regulators. The bill as proposed is fundamentally flawed as it seeks to seeks to take away the statutory powers and responsibility of NAICOM as regulators and confer on NCRIB the power to regulate itself.
“The attention of this honourable Senate is drawn to other best practice jurisdictions where consolidation of regulatory and practice laws are now being used to achieve regulatory effectiveness,” he said.
In his submission, Deputy President, NCRIB, Emmanuel Okunoren and Commissioner for Insurance, NAICOM, Fola Daniel, kicked against the bill on the grounds that it will hinder the growth of the insurance industry.
Okunoren pointed out that its over 600-member institutions have unanimously agreed at its Annual General Meeting that the content of the bill are not in the interest of the insurance industry and the general public.
“It was further decided that the National Assembly should be impressed upon not to pursue the bill further. The bill will be inimical to the growth of the industry; we hereby rescind all our support concerning the bill and pray that the bill should not be passed into law,” he said.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bassey Otu, therefore, laid the bill to rest.“We do agree that this bill is finally dead; so this bill stands dead,” Otu said.
But reacting on the development, spokesperson of NCRIB, Dele Ayeleso, said the bill had been withdrawn by the Council through the Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel.
‘We withdrew the bill when stakeholders kicked against it and the letter of withdrawal was sent via the commissioner for insurance, so the debate was not necessary’ he explained.