The Nigerian insurance industry contributions towards the management of COVID-19 pandemic has risen to N17 billion.
These donations provided by both individual insurance companies and collectively as an association came in the form of free life insurance cover, testing kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health personnel at the frontline of managing the infectious bug.
The need for such support is to boost their confidence and empower them not to be overwhelmed by the hazards or risks they are exposed to.
To this end, the sector currently has given 7,000 health workers in Nigeria free life insurance to the tune of N17 billion.
Donations by the industry
Recently, the industry supported the Federal Government with N11 billion free life insurance for 5,000 frontline healthcare workers combating the respiratory illness.
During his presentation to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the acting Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, disclosed that the sum assured payable to the families of any of the workers that die in the line of duty include N3 million for medical doctors ;N2 million for pharmacists/nurses and N1 million for others.
Thomas said the premium, which is the sum of N112.5 billion for the cover, has been fully paid by the industry in line with the principle of ‘No Premium No Cover’.
He added that a total of 19 life insurance companies have been accredited to provide the cover with FBNInsurance Ltd as lead underwriter, to whom all claims will be referred to and the cover is for a period of 12 months with effect from April 14, 2020.
Earlier, a coalition of six insurance companies in the country partnered with the Lagos State government to provide N5 billion cover to health workers and volunteers in the state.
The six companies, Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Custodian & Allied Insurance Plc, Lasaco Assurance Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc, Tangerine Life Insurance Limited and Ark Insurance Brokers Limited, noted the policy covers; the medical, disability/incapacity and term life insurance for up to 1000 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers and volunteers.
Similarly, LASACO Assurance Plc, offered N1 billion free cover to health workers in Osun State.
According to LASACO, the 200 frontline health workers involved in the containment of the disease in the state would enjoy insurance cover to the tune of N5 million each to cover death/permanent disability and medical/hospitalization expenses.
PMB’s recognition elates operators, stakeholders
President Muhammad Buhari on Monday during a nationwide broadcast, applauded the insurance industry for its role in helping to combat the pandemic in the country.
Buhari said: “In keeping with our government’s promise to improve the welfare of healthcare workers, we have signed a memorandum of understanding on the provision of hazard allowances and other incentives with key health sector professional associations.
“We have also procured insurance cover for 5,000 frontline health workers. At this point, I must commend the insurance sector for their support in achieving this within a short period of time.”
This commendation thrilled operators and stakeholders of the industry as some of them took to their social media pages to express their happiness, while imploring the government to use the period of the pandemic to ponder on the roles the sector can play in national economic recovery as being done in other countries.
Reacting, the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Tope smart, said the sector has always played major roles in the economy but this was the first time the industry would be deservedly recognised at the peak level of governance in the country.
Smart who said the commendation will further inspire the industry to do more, promised that it would constantly collaborate with the government in various developments.
On his part, the President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Eddie Efekoha, attributed the commendation to the collective hardwork of all the stakeholders in the sector who have strived hard to ensure the industry is on the right path, adding that; it was a thing of pride that the industry’s impact was being acknowledged by the President of the country.
Efekoha also commended the Federal Government on its efforts to ensure that the country wins the fight against the Coronavirus.
He said: “We are thankful that the government has not let up on its oars in trying to ensure that the lives of Nigerian citizens return to normal within the shortest possible time. This is indicated in the efforts they have made in terms of health infrastructure and business stimulus packages since the spread of the pandemic began.
This is very key as the ability of every sector to continue to hold out during this period is heavily dependent on the government’s capability to ensure that the economic activities of the country do not completely grind to a halt.”
While expressing optimism that the worst would soon be over, he implored citizens to abide by the rules and regulations put forward by relevant agencies as well as urged insurance professionals to lead exemplary lives and equally show compassion in their dealings.
He said the institute was remodelling its operations in the light of the current situation in order to stay true to its core duty of providing a development platform for the manpower needs of the insurance sector.
Also commenting, the President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, Dr (Mrs) Bola Onigbogi, affirmed that the commendation was a tonic for the sector to do more in the fight against the dreaded disease.
Onigbogi added that aside the covers, the industry would soon emerge with more unified support as a responsive sector of the economy to help government handle the pandemic and assist the victims.
Also speaking with Daily Sun, insurance Consultant and Expert, Ekerete Gam-Ikon, said, indeed the recognition impressed and excited him but the celebration need not slow the industry down in her efforts to connect with other sectors of the economy.
He advised the industry should be seeking for admission into relevant bodies that are assigned to consider ways of stabilizing the economy post COVID-19. Also, the commendation is able to open up access to other governments at state and local government levels.
He said: “I have previously stated that this is the most opportune time for the insurance industry in Nigeria to tell the insuring public that it exists for all. The industry needs to communicate more and effectively. When you believe in what you are doing, you will tell the world!
“So, I am expecting to see a well-articulated multi-year strategic plan from the sector to the federal and state governments on how they will partner to protect our wealth.
“Importantly, this might be the time to relaunch the industry Rebranding Project. The industry is usually too focused on premium generation forgetting that the market is not in the condition that premium will just drop. I am sure you know that it is the corporate social responsibility that earned the industry the recognition because, If the industry was waiting for the federal government to pay the premium for the cover, it might have taken a longer time.
“It is actually a call to duty which the industry needs to manage rather wait again to be called.”