N200bn insurance probe: NAICOM to report indicted operators to EFCC

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THE National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has vowed to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, insurance operators indicted in the ongoing probe by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating cash paid out to government officials annually by insurance companies. Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Mohammed Kari made the assertion  in Gombe state. The Ad-hoc Committee recently embarked on the probe of some insurance firms in collaboration with some federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to ascertain the legality or otherwise of their insurance contracts. The Adekunle Akinlade Abdulkadir – led Committee last week queried insurance companies for insuring dysfunctional coaches for Nigeria Railways Corporation, NRC, and is also probing the alleged misappropriation of over N200 billion of public funds in insurance transactions. The committee, at the sitting, uncovered a scheme involving the payment of over N910million to two unregistered insurance brokers. Meanwhile, Kari stressed that NAICOM is collaborating with the Legislators to ensure government’s insurances are properly undertaken. He lauded the efforts taken by the legislators, adding that the result would help restore public confidence in insurance. Kari stressed that the probe will also help to ensure that government’s insurance budgetary provisions are properly utilised. He noted that with the probe, premium budget for next year would be properly channelled. The insurance Commissioner noted that all the parties that engaged in corrupt practices would be reported to the anti- graft agencies for prosecution, adding that a certain chairman of an insurance company has been forced to return N66 million he looted from the firm. He also stressed that some shareholders who allotted shares to themselves without paying for them have also been dragged to the EFCC. On states complying with the compulsory insurance laws, Kari noted that all states government have to domesticate the laws locally like Lagos State did before NAICOM can enforce them. He said, “We are going round the states to enlighten them on areas which they need to domesticate the compulsory insurances. When we visited the Deputy Governor of Gombe state as the Governor was not it town, we made the same plea and he promised that he will also have his office checked and see what was not domesticated. He promised that he will relate to the Governor on the need to do it immediately. “We are hopeful that when we have branch locations directly in the states, we can on daily basis follow them up which is one fundamental development in the opening of branches. However, because of the recession, we have earlier budgeted opening 12 branches but we have reduced it by 50 per cent because the year has already gone. We will ensure we achieve the 50 per cent before the year runs out and next year we can make up,” Kari stated. On the performance of the insurance sector in 2016, Kari noted that the sector started well but due to the recession, the sector could record mixed report at the end of the financial year. He said, “In the first quarter, the sector did very well and suddenly in the second quarter, business kind of slowed down and insurance premium slowed down as well and the flow of premium is a factor of how well the consumers are doing. “After the first quarter of the year, we thought this is our best year ever but then, you could have cancer but you are living without knowing you have cancer. However, the day you are told you have cancer, you will start thinking of death. Our economy has not been good, but the moment the recession was announced, everybody started panicking and businesses were affected. So it is a psychological thing.”