By MADUKA NWEKE
A whopping sum of N7 billion, meant for group life insurance premium for Federal Government workers, has been handed down to over 300 brokers that were picked for the purpose. Daily Sun checks reveal that over 300 brokers, who were appointed by the Head of Service for this year’s government group life insurance, last Monday, received the N7 billion as confirmation to the insurance policy.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, said the premium valued about N7 billion ought to be paid to the 300 brokers privileged to be appointed earlier than now. Following delays in settling the premiums, some brokers but called on the government to ensure the premium was released early in the year to forestall issues arising from claims settlement. An expert urged the government to pay attention to insurance development by ensuring that premiums are paid as and when due, adding that insurance is a necessity which must be considered first among other priorities.
He said: “Delay in payment of premium is bad for the development of the industry. It is an irony that the government, which ought to encourage insurance growth is the one flouting its law, thereby constraining the market. If huge premium is paid as at when due, it would go a long way in growing the industry. “The government is not doing well; it should see insurance as a necessary expenditure that must be paid as other expenditure head. Insurance should not be treated as an after-thought, because we live in a world of risks.
Government should note that by paying premium, it is not doing underwriters a favour, but a necessary concern that must be met.” It would be recalled that there were anxiety in the industry over the payment of claims to government employees that died in the Dana air clash, due to the non payment of group life premium. Former Chairman Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and Managing Director Lasaco Insurance Plc., Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, who spoke on the position of insurers said ‘No Premium No Cover’ clause would not deter insurers from settling the claims of the civil servants who died in crash.
He said though the federal government was yet to pay the group life cover for its employees; insurers would settle claims arising from the mishap and collect the premium later. “On the issue of Head of Service, I know the laws says No premium No cover, but I am not aware that the law criminalises the issue of granting cover without premium,” he added. To the best of my understanding and belief, it is a gentle man agreement, when premiums have not been paid, that cover exists.
And it has been a serious problem because the federal government is the major insurance buyer in this country and they observe that provision of the law in the breach of it, because of the administrative network. Insurance companies have been in the habit of collecting their premium in arrears.
I am sure no insurance company will raise the clause no premium no cover at this point in time for the civil servants that died in the air crash,” he said. He noted that the insurers and government would find a common place to resolve the issue to ensure that the victims get their benefits.