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Financial Services

Era of backlog of unsettled claims is over – NAICOM boss

NAICOM has stated that it will monitor and sanction insurance companies who fail to settle claims as at when due.

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NAICOM

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is out to seriously sanction any insurance companies with huge unsettled claims.

This disclosure was made by the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, at the on-going 2020 Insurance Directors’ Conference, jointly organized by NAICOM and the College of Insurance & Financial Management (CIFM), held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos.

READ: EFCC gives reason for unspent N4 billion in 2020 budget

Mr. Thomas reiterated the need for the operators, post-pandemic, to appropriately strengthen their human and financial capital for effective participation in big-ticket risks to take advantage of the obvious gains of the domestication policy in the Nigeria Content Development Act 2010.

In his words, Mr. Thomas stated, “More businesses especially in the oil and gas and the Aviation sectors are now being reinsured abroad. Of more concern is the declining participation of life companies in the annuity business, which is the emerging business for our industry.

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READ: SEC issues pre-notice on cancellation of certificates of 157 inactive CMOs

“These are the areas where the industry can impose itself on the economy through the control of funds for national development. The industry must invest handsomely in technology, one of our key drivers for developing the market.

“The Institutions should be prepared to digitalize their processes, procedures, and systems, in order to make their operations seamless and real-time. The Commission is investing heavily in automating its processes and expects nothing less from the insurance institutions. An industry Information Technology Guideline has been issued for the operators and the Commission requires your support and cooperation for effective compliance.”

(READ MORE: FG seeking FDI to develop Special Economic Zones – Trade Minister)

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Why this matters

Prompt settlement of claims should be a top priority for the insurance operators in achieving an excellent and responsive customer service experience. Settlement of claims has been a serious nightmare for quite a number of customers, resulting to the abysmally low insurance culture in Nigeria.

READ: Fidelity Bank Plc must cover the chink in its curtains to keep rising 

Customers are more likely to patronize the insurance companies that are prompt in claims settlement and by extension improve the industry penetration in the market.

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Johnson is a risk management professional and banker with unbridled passion for research and writing. He graduated top of the class with B.sc Statistics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA degree with specialization in Finance from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, with fellowships from the Association of Enterprise Risk management Professionals(FERP) and Institute of Credit and Collections management of Nigeria (FICCM). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Risk management in one of the top-rated universities in the UK.

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Financial Services

Niger Insurance Plc gets shareholders nod to restructure business

Niger Insurance Plc has announced plans to restructure its insurance business into distinct but mutually dependent business entities.

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Edwin Igbiti

Niger Insurance Plc has obtained shareholders’ approval to restructure its insurance business into general, life and business insurance, with each segment to be structured as a separate legal entity.

This is part of the resolutions passed at the 50th Annual General Meeting of Niger Insurance Plc., held on 20th of January, 2021 at Peninsula Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

The decision to restructure the company is in a bid to make it more efficient and profitable to stakeholders, especially as efforts are geared towards overturning a loss of about 1,1723.2% Year-on-Year, earlier made by the company in its last reported financial statement, Q2, 2020, as reported by Nairametrics.

Other key decisions reached at the 50th AGM include;

  • The re-appointment of Mr Ebi Enaholo and Mrs. Olufemi Owopetu as Directors of the company.
  • Acceptance of the presented financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the report of the audit committee, directors and auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to appoint external auditors to replace retiring auditors of the company.
  • The appointment of four individuals as members of the audit committee.
  • A decision to restructure the company’s business capital was also reached.

In case you missed it: The shareholders of Niger Insurance Plc in the 49th Annual General Meeting approved the decision by the company’s board to raise additional capital to the tune of N15 billion, in a bid to meet the revised recapitalization targets for general and life insurance companies.

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What you should know: The House of Representatives had in December 2020 directed NAICOM to suspend the mandatory deadline for the first phase of 50%-60% of the minimum paid-up share capital for insurance and reinsurance firms.

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Financial Services

CBN says revised new cheque book to become fully operational from April 1, 2021

The CN has announced plans to discontinue the use of old cheque books with effect from March 31, 2021.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), accredited Cheque Printers/Personalisers, and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), stated that the revised cheque book will become fully operational from April 1, 2021.

The apex bank has directed all DMBs to enlighten their customers on the revised cheque book, introduced across all banks as full enforcement of its usage will commence on the stated date.

READ: CBN reviews minimum interest rates on savings deposit to 1.25%

The disclosure is contained in a circular that was issued by the CBN and signed by its Director Banking Services, Mr Sam Okojere.

The CBN in the circular noted that the clarification became necessary as some stakeholders had been interpreting the circular differently from the intended purpose.

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READ: CBN moves to ring-fence Disco collections

The CBN in the circular stated, ‘’Please refer to our circular dated 9th December, 2020, referenced BKS/DIR/CIR/GEN/02/042 on the above subject.

It has come to our notice that some stakeholders interpret the circular differently from the intended purpose. Consequently, it has become imperative for the CBN to issue the following clarifications;

  1. The parallel run, in which old and new cheques are allowed to co-exist, will end on 31st March 2021, and thus only new cheques would be allowed in the clearing system from 1st April 2021.
  2. Full enforcement of the second edition of the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version 2.0 will commence April 1, 2021 and the NCS/NICPAS 2.0. Sanction grid will be fully operational on April 1, 2021.
  3. All deposit money banks are (therefore) directed to actively enlighten their customers and ensure necessary provisions are put in place for a smooth migration to the New standard.
  4. The extension of full implementation date from Jan. 1 to April 1, 2021 is due to outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version. 2.

READ: CBN grants approval for banks to debit accounts of loan defaulters 

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in an earlier circular issued on the revised cheque book, the CBN had put the cut-off date for the parallel run of the old and new cheques at August 31, 2020.
  • This was further extended to December 31, 2020, with only new cheques intended to be allowed in the clearing system from January 1, 2021, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it had on the project.
  • This further adjustment of the deadline gives room for more sensitization by the deposit money banks to their customers, taking into consideration the disruptions that have happened in the economy.

READ: CBN temporarily suspends cheque clearing during Coronavirus lockdown

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Debt Securities

Interest rates will remain low until the end of H1 2021 – Meristem Securities

Meristem Securities has argued that interest rates will remain low until, at least, the end of H1 2021.

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Why Emefiele’s interest rate policy is ‘great’

Meristem Securities has asserted that interest rates will remain low until, at least, the end of H1 2021.

This statement was made at the recently held webinar on Global Economy and Outlook, which the company themed: Bracing for a Different Future.

Although the company acknowledged that there is mounting pressure for upward movement in yields from several stakeholders, it appears the company concurs nothing concrete is in sight.

This line of reasoning seems to have influenced their decision to advise investors to move away from Treasury instruments.

What they are saying

Meristem advises that:

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  • “Buy and hold strategy investors seeking to generate above average returns should move away from risk free Treasury instruments and focus on investment grade commercial papers and bonds which satisfy investment objectives.”
  • “Active traders with higher risk appetite are advised to focus on high-yield short duration instruments, which would be re-invested into a higher yield environment should rate reversals occur.”

The advice regarding shunning Treasury instruments appears to be in order, considering that treasury bill rate has been declining, with the latest figure — November 2020 — 0.03% as per the CBN monthly interest rate data.

Further checks from the Debt Management Office website, indicates that the latest figures for Eurobonds and Diaspora bond fall short of the fixed yield at issue for all the different categories of bonds in issue.

What you should know

Latest figures from the CBN’s monthly interest rate indicate that:

  • Treasury bill rate has been on a steady decline for six months, down to 0.03% since the last rise (2.47%) in May 2020.
  • Fixed deposit rates (one, three, six and twelve months) have also been declining – the latest figures for these indicate that in November 2020, one-month deposit rate was 1.92%, 2.9% for three months, 2.84% for six months, and 4.89% for 12 months.
  • Compared with the corresponding period in 2019, the figures indicate that these rates fell by 75%, 66%, 71% and 49% respectively.

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