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Insurers lower hurdles, encourage policyholders to come for claims

Insurers lower hurdles, encourage policyholders to come for claims

In a bid to build consumer confidence in insurance, the industry players have begun moves to lower the claims process and encourage customers to take up policies.

The players under the Insurers Committee of the industry believe that lowering its claims documentation process, inviting customers through advertorials to come for claims and increasing awareness creation would boost confidence and encourage participation.

Ben Ujoatuonu, speaking on behalf of the sub-publicity committee after the 14th in the series of the industry’s Insurers Committee Meeting held in Lagos said “Part of the outcome of the meeting is on how we can as an industry reduce claims documentation process.”

“So, underwriters are being encouraged to publish the list of unclaimed claims once in a while in the national newspapers, so that customers who had claims but were not aware or dropped off due to documentation issues can be encouraged to come and claim their monies, he said.

Ujoatuonu, joined by Rasaaq Salami, deputy director, Corporate Communications and Market Development, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and Davis Iyasere, head, Corporate Communications, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) said, the publications would help pass the message to the public that insurers are ready and committed to claims payment.

“Also agreed during the meeting was the need for customer service and engagement, and operators were encouraged to come up with things that will enhance customer relationship, endear them insurance and retain already existing customers, he said.

According to him, the insurers committee has also approved to commence nationwide media publicity on the reviewed motor policy for awareness and education.

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“The target is not just letting the public know that there is a review in the rates for motor insurance, but that there are more benefits including huge sum assureds or claims value, as well as benefit of free ECOWAS brown card cover, he said.

He said this publicity is expected to commence before the May 2023 and it is expected to be enlightening and educative on what the reviewed motor insurance rate is all about.

Sunday Thomas, commissioner for Insurance/CEO, NAICOM had said that insurance companies with outstanding claims would be mandated to publish the names of claimants in two national newspapers.

Thomas noted that the publication would be done before insurance companies close their financial accounts for each year.

He stated that the Commission has demanded the schedule of outstanding claims from insurers, adding that he is keenly following up with the operators on the schedule to ensure that current outstanding claims are paid latest by the end of first quarter.

The Commissioner for Insurance maintained that the decision to publish outstanding claims in the dailies, stemmed from complaints from insurers that claimants are not coming forth with documents to process their claims.

He noted that insurance practice in Nigeria in the past has had its good, bad and ugly moments, stressing that one of such bad and ugly moments that have had significant impact on the image and perception of the industry is the issue of claims payment.

He submitted that indeed the records and statistics of unpaid claims associated with some of the members has not been too good and must be overturned to the benefit of all stakeholders.

“I must quickly acknowledge and salute the efforts of those companies that are alert to their responsibility of prompt claims payment and encourage them to sustain the good practice.

“Insurance practitioners must be seen to be fighting this cause genuinely and collectively for the future of insurance to be as bright as we expect it.

“We must not continue to harbour elements of destruction under our roofs,” he said.

Thomas stated that the issue of non-payment of genuine claims has always put the Commission and the entire industry on the defensive when it comes to discussing insurance in every stratum of the economy, stating that the Commission is doing all it could within the ambit of extant laws to see that the non-settlement of genuine claims is eliminated in the sector and I can assure you that we will not relent, he said

He admonished the Professionals to leverage the positive experiences from the past to build a formidable future for insurance in Nigeria, stressing that the effort must be collective and patriotic.