Saturday, 31 May 2014

Goldlink boss named Insurance Man of the Year


Olutayo
Chuks Udo Okonta

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Goldlink Insurance Plc, Gbolahan Olutayo, has been named the “2013 Insurance Man of the Year” at the maiden edition of BusinessToday Online Award which held recently in Lagos.

Gbolahan is said to emerge the Insurance Man of the Year amidst strong industry contenders.

According to the Publisher/Editor BusinessToday, Ms. Nkechi Naeche-the organisers of the Award- Olutayo won the Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts and leadership qualities in stabilising the company as well as expanding its portfolio since assuming office in September 2012.

She stated that Goldlink boss deserved the award not just because he got the highest number of votes among the nominees for the Insurance Man of the Year Award category, but also because of the doggedness by which the company scaled through NAICOM regulations and is still standing strong till date.

“I’m really honoured to win this award, for us as a company, we will not fail in delivering our core reason for existence to the Nigerian populace,” Olutayo said.

Photonews: Chief Executive Officers' Retreat of the NCRIB held in Abeokuta

From left: Vice President Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Sola Tinubu, a financial Consultant, Mrs Moji Odanye Odusoga, Managing Director AIICO Insurance Plc, Edwin Igbiti, President NCRIB, Ayodapo Shoderu and Executive Secretary of the NCRIB, Fatai Adegbenro at the 2014 Chief Executive Officers' Retreat of the NCRIB held in Abeokuta.
From left: Deputy President Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Kayode Okunoren, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo; President NCRIB, Ayodapo Shoderu and Chairman African Insurance Brokers Association, Dr Feyisayo Soyewo during the 2014 Chief Executives Officers Retreat of the NCRIB held in Abeokuta, Ogun State.




 

New pension scheme contributes 9.5% to GDP, says PenCom

Anohu-Amazu

By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

 

The contribution of the new pension scheme to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 1.4 per cent in 2006 to 9.5 per cent in 2013, Acting Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, has said.

The new pension scheme has N4.13 trillion in assets.

Mrs Anohu-Amazu revealed this yesterday while presenting a paper with the theme: The Contributory Pension Scheme as a catalyst for economic development in Nigeria at the Eighth Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

According to her, the GDP grows at an average of 30 per cent yearly.

She said the most significant proportion, about 63 per cent of the assets, equivalent to N2.64 trillion was invested in Federal Government Securities.

She said assets were invested in authorised markets with portfolio limits.

She added that it has generated appreciable pool of long term investible funds for the first time in Nigeria.

On the benefits of the administration under the CPS, the PenCom chief, however, noted that pensioners receiving their benefits under the CPS as at March, this year were 95, 840.

Of this figure, 86, 628 pensioners opted for programme withdrawal, while 9,212 opted for life annuity, she said.

She further highlighted the outlook and the next steps of the commission.

She said the enactment of the new bill, the Pension Reform Act 2014, that will facilitate compliance and enforcement, enhance supervisory powers of the Commission, expand coverage of the contributory pension scheme and create enabling environment for investment in the real sector, will be the focus of PenCom.

She said other areas that the Commission will focus on is repositioning of the pension industry for the next decade, building capacity in the industry and engaging the services of skilled and experienced financial advisers for deal structuring.

She said: "The Commission would sustain support for initiatives to provide affordable housing and infrastructure development. We will deploy strategies for increased compliance by employers, ensure participation by the informal sector and adoption of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) by states and local governments.

"We will also collaborate with other regulators and stakeholders in the financial services sector to create enabling environment for investment in infrastructure and housing.

"There will be continual review of extant laws and regulations and reorganisation of the administration of public sector pensions and repositioning of the Pension Transition Arrangement Department (PTAD)."




Source The Nation



Private sector leads pension scheme with N2.7trn contributions


Acting DG PenCom, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu
Chuks Udo Okonta

Contributions from the private sector have continued to expand pension assets, as over N2.70 trillion (63 per cent) has so far been remitted, leaving the public sector with N1.59 trillion (37 per cent).   

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) said pension contributions stand at N4.3 trillion as at the end of April.

Head, Research and Corporate Strategy Department PenCom, Dr Farouk Aminu, told Inspen that there are about 6.07 million Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders registered in the industry with a monthly income flow of about N40 billion ($250 million).

He maintained that the average growth rate of the industry is about 25 per cent per annum for the last eight years and that about 63 per cent of the assets belong to the private sector. He added that though the public sector has more subscribers, the private sector has more funds due to salary disparities.

Chairman PenOp, Misbahu Yola
He said the statistics available to the commission show that about 65 per cent of the registered RSAs are under 41 years, an indication that they will still be making contributions in the next 20 years. He added that this shows that there is great prospect for the industry.

He noted that the industry has almost captured all Federal Government workers in the scheme, stressing that the focus now is on states and private sector. He said only seven states are fully contributing as at present, while 22 have passed their bills and one is yet to do anything.

 

 

NAICOM takes microinsurance to Anambra State


Chuks Udo Okonta

Micro Insurance Scheme will soon be launched in Anambra State, one of the nation’s commercial nerve and home to several micro business outfits, Inspen can report.

Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel, disclosed this recently in Uyo, stressing that the commission and the State government are putting finishing touches on how to kick-start the project.

He noted that the project will be of immense benefits to the state which is one of the commercial hubs of the nations.

He said: “We recognised the need to develop the retail insurance market which has remained grossly untapped considering the vast population of the country. And as part of the Commission’s strategy of Financial Inclusiveness the Micro Insurance Scheme and the Takaful Insurance were launched late last year.

“Every effort is being made to ensure they make the desired impact in the industry. I am please to let you know that on April 23, 2014, the Commission formally launched the Delta State Micro Insurance Scheme at a colourful ceremony in Asaba, the State Capital.

“Efforts are being made to replicate this model in other states.”

Friday, 30 May 2014

Brokers use ‘billions’ of data points to profile Americans

By Craig Timberg

Are you a financially strapped working mother who smokes? A Jewish retiree with a fondness for Caribbean cruises? Or a Spanish-speaking professional with allergies, a dog and a collection of Elvis memorabilia?

All this information and much, much more is being quietly collected, analyzed and distributed by the nation’s burgeoning data-broker industry, which uses billions of individual data points to produce detailed portraits of virtually every American consumer, the Federal Trade Commission reported Tuesday.

The FTC report provided an unusually detailed account of the system of commercial surveillance that draws on government records, shopping habits and social-media postings to help marketers hone their advertising pitches. Officials said the intimacy of these profiles would unnerve some consumers who have little ability to track what’s being collected or how it’s used — or even to correct false information. The FTC called for legislation to bring transparency to the multibillion-dollar industry and give consumers some control over how their data is used.

Data brokers’ portraits feature traditional demographics such as age, race and income, as well as political leanings, religious affiliations, Social Security numbers, gun-ownership records, favored movie genres and gambling preferences (casino or state lottery?). Interest in health issues — such as diabetes, HIV infection and depression — can be tracked as well.

With potentially thousands of fields, data brokers segment consumers into dozens of categories such as "Bible Lifestyle," "Affluent Baby Boomer" or "Biker/Hell’s Angels," the report said. One category, called "Rural Everlasting," describes older people with "low educational attainment and low net worths." Another, "Urban Scramble," includes concentrations of Latinos and African Americans with low incomes. One company had a field to track buyers of "Novelty Elvis" items.

"The extent of consumer profiling today means that data brokers often know as much — or even more — about us than our family and friends," FTC Chairman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "It’s time to bring transparency and accountability to bear on this industry on behalf of consumers, many of whom are unaware that data brokers even exist."

The brokers gather the information from public records and private sources, such as advertising networks that follow a consumer’s online activities, traditional media companies that record a subscriber’s billing history or the loyalty programs that track a shopper’s purchases at a grocery store.

The individual profiles are largely sold to marketers, determining what ads and offers consumers see online, or to banks that use the data to verify the identity of customers. Laws prohibit using such information to set insurance rates, make job offers or measure creditworthiness, although the FTC expressed concern about potential abuses.

FTC officials, who based their report on documents gathered by issuing subpoenas to nine data brokers in December 2012, found "a fundamental lack of transparency" in the industry but no evidence of illegal activity. Ramirez said the FTC does not know how many data brokers exist.

The profiles they produce could affect what products are offered to consumers and how well consumers are treated by customer service, officials said. A "financially challenged" couple, for example, might see ads for subprime loans while their affluent friends are offered premium credit cards and vacation options. Some consumers might face long waits when they call companies with complaints, while others receive speedy, responsive service.

The collection of data about health-related issues also concerned the FTC. Brokers had categories for people interested in weight loss or high cholesterol. One tracked whether consumers preferred brand-name drugs or looked for medical information online.

Stuart P. Ingis, general counsel for the Direct Marketing Association, which represents nearly 2,000 companies that collect and distribute consumer data, said the industry helps prevent consumer fraud and improves the effectiveness of online advertising — the main revenue source for free services, such as e-mail and social-networking sites.

He said the FTC’s inability to find documented abuse of personal information suggests that data brokers should continue operating through self-regulation rather than new government intervention. "You’d think if there was a real problem, they’d be able to talk about something other than potential" abuses, Ingis said.

The report included several legislative proposals intended to help Americans learn what data has been gathered about them and to correct errors. Consumers would be able to opt out of data-gathering about themselves.

Ingis said that the FTC’s proposals, such as a requirement for a centralized portal for consumers who want to know what information data brokers collect about them, are unnecessary and cumbersome. "I’m not sure that there’s a problem that requires a law here," he said.

The Software & Information Industry Association, whose members in some cases collect and share personal data, endorsed the FTC’s call for greater transparency but warned that new legislation would struggle to keep up with the pace of innovation online. "It just gets very challenging because of the dynamic nature of data," said David LeDuc, senior director of public policy for the group.

But FTC commissioner Julie Brill urged Congress to act, and said Americans should learn more about how their data is being collected and used. "Consumers can’t manage this process by themselves," she said. "It’s too big. It’s too complex. There are too many moving parts."

Data-broker firms typically have no direct dealings with the public, relying on third-party sources or trading information with one another. Of the nine companies subpoenaed by the FTC — Acxiom, CoreLogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, PeekYou, Rapleaf and Recorded Future — seven share information with one another, the FTC report said.

Among the most striking findings in the reports, officials said, was the extent that data brokers connect the online and offline behaviors of consumers. This process, called "onboarding," allows markets to load offline information — from magazine subscriptions, store loyalty cards or government records — into cookies that digital advertisers use to target consumers for pitches. Cookies, which are a small bit of computerized code stored in a computer’s Web browser, allow advertisers to feature a single product across many Internet services.

The issue of data collection has generated increasing attention in recent years — and especially since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed how intelligence agencies vaccum up information collected by the private sector. The White House issued a report on the collection and use of Big Data on May 1.

Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) proposed legislation in February that largely tracks with the FTC’s goal of greater transparency for the data-broker industry.

Yet privacy advocates see little hope of action on Capitol Hill. "There’s no political pressure on Congress, really, to act. The data-broker lobby is incredibly powerful," said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

He noted that political campaigns routinely use information collected by data brokers to tailor their election and fund-raising messages to targeted groups. "They’re not going to vote against their political self-interest," he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement: "This report’s intentions are good, but waiting for Congress to pass new regulations isn’t going to help protect Americans’ privacy rights anytime soon. The FTC needs to start using its existing authority to root out bad practices now."

Source Washingtonpost.com

Insurance fraud worth £3.5m uncovered every day, figures show

ABI says £1.3bn of fraudulent claims were made last year, with bogus motor claims being the most expensive and common

 

Insurers have exposed a record £1.3bn worth of fraudulent claims last year as the industry stepped up its war on cheats.

The amount, released by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), marks an 18% rise in value on 2012 and equates to £3.5m worth of insurance frauds being uncovered every day.

The ABI said there had also been a "significant" increase in people phoning up to report suspected fraudsters, indicating a growing acknowledgement that this was not a "victimless" crime.

In 2013, 118,500 bogus or exaggerated insurance claims were detected – more than 2,000 a week.

Fraudulent motor insurance claims were the most expensive and common to be exposed, with 59,900 dishonest claims worth £811m detected last year.

While there was a small fall in the number of detected frauds, their value had increased. The average fraud detected across all types of insurance products was worth £10,813.

The ABI said various industry initiatives were helping to "turn the screw on cheats". The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) was created in 2006 by the industry to tackle organised cross-industry insurance scams.

The IFB is supporting police forces and insurers across the UK to investigate 110 "crash for cash" scams where motor accidents were deliberately staged, which on their own represent approximately £120m of financial exposure to insurers.

Investigations by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, an ABI-funded dedicated specialist unit of the City of London police, have so far led to 470 arrests and 85 prosecutions since it was set up in 2011.

The ABI also said calls from members of the public reporting suspected insurance frauds into the IFB's "cheatline" rose by 32% to 6,060 in 2013 compared with the previous year.

A spokesman for the ABI said there appeared to be a "growing acknowledgement that (insurance fraud) is not a victimless crime, it's affecting people in their pocket".

He also pointed out that staged car accidents carried a safety risk to innocent members of the public. Sometimes, fraudsters would deliberately slam their brakes on so that an innocent motorist would hit them from behind, or they would flash their headlights to pretend that they were going to let a driver out of a junction and then deliberately hit them.

The rise in the average value of insurance scams could be seen as a reflection of the high-end nature of frauds by organised gangs that were increasingly being uncovered, the ABI said.

Since 2007 the value of dishonest general insurance claims being uncovered has more than doubled, with the number detected increasing by 30% during the same period.

Fraud is estimated to add up to £90 to the cost of everyone's general insurance policies.

Aidan Kerr, the ABI's assistant director, head of fraud, said: "The message is clear: never has it been harder to get away with committing insurance fraud; never have the penalties – ranging from a custodial sentence and a criminal record to difficulties in obtaining financial products in the future – been so severe."

The ABI said some recent examples of cheats being exposed included:

• Sixty people, including seven members of the same family, being convicted of a crash-for-cash staged accident fraud which involved more than £514,000 being claimed from 25 vehicle crashes alone

• A professional golfer who claimed £8,000 on his income protection policy for a knee injury that he said left him unable to work, but was caught on camera giving golf lessons. He was ordered to do 140 hours unpaid community work

• A woman was jailed for 22 months following a series of invented street robberies for items including laptops and designer clothes

• A vet was jailed for two years for inventing veterinary claims totalling nearly £200,000 for treating non-existent pets.

One insurer, AA Insurance, said that it identifies more than 100 attempts at fraud every week.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance said: "These figures are encouraging because they reflect the growing success of the insurance industry in the war against fraud, rather than more fraud taking place."

He said: "This should send a strong signal to anyone thinking of trying it on.

"While you might not end up in prison, if an insurer finds that you have attempted to falsify a claim you'll find it difficult to obtain insurance cover in the future. Insurers don't like dishonest customers."

Source Theguardian.com

Inadequate data debased insurance contributions to GDP



Rebase Nigeria GDP
Chuks Udo Okonta

Insurance operators inability to articulate and provide adequate data of their operations may be responsible for the slide from 0.7 per cent to 0.6 per cent of the insurance industry’s contributions to the (Gross Domestic Product) in the recently rebase exercise which placed Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa.   

At a forum recently organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), operators noted that the industry’s contributions were underestimated, adding that the industry has in recent times made significant progress.

They also agreed to go back to their drawing boards to correct the abnormally by doing the needful. They called for proper documentation of the industry’s data, which will bring about proper valuation of the progress made in the sector.

Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel, who is also not comfortable with the rating, said going forward, the Commission would consolidate on the gains made so far and ensure proper implementation of compulsory insurance products to be able to enhance the industry contribution to GDP.

“You are all aware of the recent rebasing of the economy which now makes the Nigerian economy the largest in Africa and 26th largest economy in the world. This has placed enormous responsibility on the industry. With the old based economy, the sector barely contributed 0.7 per cent to GDP. With the rebasing, the contribution of the sector to GDP has been further weakened. This therefore calls for more dynamic strategies to enable the sector make meaningful contribution to the GDP,” he said.

NAICOM tackles unethical conducts, launches call centre


Daniel
Chuks Udo Okonta

This may not be the best of times for insurance operators who believe unethical practice should be the norms, as the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) will soon launch its call centre that will enable the public report erring operators directly to the commission.

NAICOM is also creating a window for the public to name and shame defaulting operators via its planned media campaign, which enable the public report their grievances on a live programme on radio.

Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel said the commission is assiduously working to set up nationwide call centres to addressing misdeeds by some operators.

He said the exercise will enable operators live above board as they would not want their names to be ridiculed in the public.

"By first week of June, NAICOM will unveil the first ever Insurance Call Centres to listen and address complaints from Nigerians on insurance claims and settlements.

"I can assure you that through the call centres, we will listen and follow up complaints to make sure that insurance companies do not default in paying real claims," he said.

He noted that the Commission remains committed to providing leadership to ensure sanity, good ethical practices, development and growth in the industry.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Blow your pension and the state won't pick up your care bill

Spending all your pension may mean you end up struggling to pay for long-term care in older age.

By Michelle McGagh

The easing of the pension rules brought in the Budget mean every retiree will be able to take all of their pension savings as a lump sum but the changes run alongside reforms to long-term care that may make this a bad idea.

Following the Dilnot Report a £78,000 cap on care costs will be implemented in April 2016 as will an increase in the care threshold. Those with assets worth less than £17,500 will receive free care and those with assets above this level will pay for part of their care on a sliding scale up to £123,000, after which a person will receive no state help.

In order to determine your assets the local authority will look at how much capital you have such as cash in the bank and investments – known as means-testing. If it is over £17,500 then you will pay a proportionate sum towards your care. However, pensions are also taken into account and if you have a monthly income, from a workplace pension or annuity for example, it will be used to offset some of the cost of your care.

Brian Tabor, founder of independent financial adviser Carematters in Hertfordshire, said ‘self-funders’ – those who have been means-tested and have to contribute towards their long-term care costs – will see their pension used to pay for care whether they take it as an income or they take it out as a lump sum.

‘Assume you have a £50,000 pension fund and it is providing you with £300 a month through drawdown, that £300 a month is going to be used to reduce the amount the local authority pay [towards your care],’ he said.

‘If you have £100,000 [in your pension] and take out the whole amount – biting the [income] tax bullet – you have a £60,000 lump sum [that would be used when calculating your assets].’



Blowing the lot

This means that whether a pension is taken as income or as a lump sum it will be eaten up by care costs. There are fears that this could push people to use the relaxation of the drawdown rules to access their entire pot and spend all the money, depleting their assets and meaning they will be entitled to free care if they need it – which one in four will.

This is a concern that has been raised by the Treasury Select Committee in its response to the Budget.

‘The interaction between increased choice in how to use pension saving and the reformed long-term care model is of great important to the welfare of retirees and to the public finances,’ it said.

‘It is not clear how the two sets of reforms will interact. On the one hand, it may be that the pension reforms will assist pensioners in planning for their long-term social care needs…on the other hand, the pension reforms might tempt people to exhaust their pension pot to avoid being liable for the costs of their own long-term social care.’

Chancellor George Osborne has said he will review how the pension reforms could affect care spending, although there has been no confirmed consultation or plans to amend the Dilnot reforms.

Osborne told the committee: ‘The current social care means test does not take into account… the changes to the flexibilities around pensions and so we need to change the social care means test to take that into account. I am absolutely clear that we want to make sure that this does not have an impact.’



Deliberate deprivation

Tabor warned retirees planning to spend all their money and take advantage of the free care on offer to the poorest in the country that doing so could mean they end up entitled to nothing.

Spending all your money and expecting the state to pick up your care bill is known as ‘deliberate deprivation’ and if a local authority believes you have deliberately deprived yourself of funds to escape a care bill it can refuse to pay for your care.

Tabor called on the government to examine the interaction of new pension freedoms and care rules as there was concern that retirees would unwittingly fall into the deliberate deprivation category.

‘Deliberate deprivation is when the local authority believes there is no other reason to give away or spend money other than to deprive yourself of assets for long-term care costs,’ he said. ‘The local authority will not say "we can prove you have done this" they say "we think you have and you have to prove you did not". They make an assessment that you can challenge.’

If the money is spent within the six months before a person goes into care then ‘deprivation is automatically assumed’, said Tabor, adding that for periods longer than that the assessment was 'subjective’. If a person falls foul of the rules, the local authority can refuse to pay for long-term care and demand any money, assets or property that have been disposed of be returned to cover care costs.

He added that as people lived longer and more individuals needed care local authorities would try to control their budgets and clamp down on deliberate deprivation. Those who received domiciliary care or other medically-related benefits, such as the disability living allowance, would be particularly hard hit, he added.

‘[The local authority will ask] if you are receiving domiciliary care or some benefit which is medically derived, like disability living allowance and they will say a poorly person should assume they would need care,’ he said. ‘[The local authorities] are getting more aggressive and they are chancing their arm more.’



Source City Wire

Santam appoints Dave Keeling as head marine insurance subsidiary

Santam, South Africa's leading short-term insurer has announced the appointment of Dave Keeling as Head of Associated Marine.

Associated Marine is Africa's largest marine insurer in terms of product range and footprint, providing technical and reinsurance support to various African insurers. The company has branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Keeling brings a wealth of expertise to Associated Marine garnered over four decades in the industry where he has held a number of leadership positions. "Dave is a heavyweight. We are proud to have Dave among our leadership team," says Quinten Matthew, Santam Executive, Specialist Business, who describes Dave as the right man to take the company's maritime insurance business to its next level of growth.

Dave Keeling himself says, "To take up the reigns of Associated Marine is an honour and a challenge which I look forward to."



Source 4-Traders

Takaful Insurance customers to get second surplus payout

By DAVID HERBLING

In Summary
Takaful Insurance of Africa announced the payouts Tuesday as it also revealed plans to enter new regional markets.
To be eligible for the surplus, policy holders must have taken a policy in 2012, don’t have outstanding premium payments and have not made any claims.
Plans are in place to enter Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania by the end of this year.
 

Policyholders of Sharia-compliant insurer Takaful who did not make any claims on their covers last year are set to receive pay cheques totalling Sh11 million.

Takaful Insurance of Africa announced the payouts Tuesday as it also revealed plans to enter new regional markets.

The insurer will share out the proceeds from its underwriting profits made in 2012 from general insurance business in line with Islamic laws on covering risks.

This is the second payout to policy holders following last year’s distribution of a Sh15.6 million surplus.

To be eligible for the surplus, policy holders must have taken a policy in 2012, don’t have outstanding premium payments and have not made any claims.

Hassan Bashir, chief executive of the company, disclosed that last year the highest amount received by a policy holder was Sh254,000 while the lowest earned Sh1,000.

Takaful was licensed in March 2011 by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) as a composite Sharia-compliant insurer.

The company saw its gross surplus double to Sh53.7 million in the year ended December 2012 compared to Sh26 million a year earlier; buoyed by gross underwritten premiums that grew more than two-fold to Sh428.2 million in the period.

Plans are in place to enter Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania by the end of this year. The practice of distributing a portion of surpluses to eligible policy holders is one of the defining features of Sharia-compliant insurance, which Takaful said it would take advantage of to attract new business.

READ: Sharia insurer gets approval to underwrite life policies


"Takaful (Islamic insurance) involves a mutual co-operation between members of a pool who safeguard each other against defined risks and share the surplus where the fund is profitable," said Mr Bashir.

Mr Bashir said the company will invest Sh87 million ($1 million) to launch operations in Somalia in the next two months, and is awaiting regulatory approvals to enter Uganda and Tanzania.

"We have a licence to begin operations in Somalia. We have already studied the market, trained staff and put together a team to open in four regions of Somalia."

"We are awaiting regulatory approvals to enter Tanzania and Uganda," said Mr Bashir, adding that the firm has a Sh430 million ($5 million) budget to set up in each of the two markets.

Kenya is emerging as the region’s Islamic financial services hub, with two fully-fledged Islamic banks, and re-insurers such as Kenya Re offering re-takaful and a number of lenders such as Barclays, Standard Chartered, KCB, National Bank, Chase offering Sharia-compliant banking products.

Source Business Daily


Probe into claims that insurers given access to full medical records

 

An investigation is to be launched into claims that leading life insurers are being routinely handed access to full sets of patients' GP records

By Laura Donnelly


Data watchdogs are to investigate claims that Britain’s leading life insurers are being given full access to GP records containing information such as patients' mental health and relationship histories.

The Information Commissioner is to examine concerns that insurers are breaching data protection rules by routinely accessing medical records, including details about contraception, mental health and relationships.

Insurers are supposed to seek consent from customers before requesting relevant health information from their doctors.

Traditionally, this has meant that GPs provide a report outlining any health details which they believe are relevant to life cover.

But doctors’ groups believe that companies are breaching data protection rules, by increasingly using such consent to seek full disclosure of records, including detailed personal information.

Insurers Aviva and Legal & General said that for the past 12 months, they have been seeking full medical records for their clients, while insisting they disregarded any details which were not directly relevant to their assessments.

The firms said that although they made blanket requests, GPs were instructed to withhold some types of information – such as if patients had undergone tests for diseases such as HIV, which had proved negative. If details were passed over regardless, they would be ignored, the firms said.

Yesterday the Information Commissioner said it intends to investigate the matter, to determine whether companies are working within current legal safeguards.

The Medical Protection Society, which represents 290,000 medical professionals, said it had found been a steep rise in concerns about data requests by insurers, with about 2,300 calls from medics over the past year on the subject.

John Canning, of the British Medical Association, expressed "grave concern" and said he believed many customers were providing consent without realising how much information might be released.

He said: "A GP will hold all your medical history, containing details such as contraception use, termination of pregnancies and relationship issues that would have no bearing on an insurance policy. Our concern is that the consent obtained by insurers isn’t always understood by the person applying for a policy."

The investigation by the Information Commissioner comes amid increasing concerns about the rules governing medical data.

In February an investigation by The Daily Telegraph found that the NHS hospital medical records of 47 million patients had been sold for insurance purposes.

Following the disclosures, health officials said the sale should not have been allowed, and would now be barred following a tightening up of the rules.

Plans for a national database of GP records have been delayed, following a backlash from doctors leaders’ and patients groups, who raised concerns that the scheme had been poorly communicated, and that there were insufficient safeguards in place about the way the data will be used.

The initiative had been due to start extracting data in March, but has now been delayed until next year, and will first be piloted at a number of GP practices.

On Friday a national conference of doctors said the scheme should be drastically changed, so that patients’ data could only be used if individuals had "opted-in" to the scheme.

Under the current national plan for GP records, information from records will be taken unless patients specifically opt out from it.

Aviva and Legal & General said they had begun using "subject access requests" to obtain full histories from doctors for their customers because it was much quicker than getting a tailored medical report.

The Association of British Insurers said only relevant information should be provided by a GP. A spokesman said insurers would ignore all information which they judged "to be not relevant to its ability accurately to underwrite the customer".

Source The Telegraph


Traders urged to use insurance cover funds

LOCAL entrepreneurs were challenged to effectively use insurance cover by the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), to access alternative sources of funding as they strive to expand their investments.

Vice-President Mohamed Gharib Bilal, opening the 14th ATI Annual General Meeting in Dar es Salaam, appreciated the key role that ATI has played in availing the public and private sectors with access to financing sources.

"With the rapid economic expansion and needs for large investments in infrastructure, donor funding is becoming insufficient to meet the massive investment needs, while domestic revenue is insufficient to cope with the financing requirements," said Dr Bilal.

Ten countries, including Tanzania created ATI in 2001 to fill a market gap in trade and investment risk mitigation in Africa, as well as address the misperception of most international lenders that the continent was unsafe for lending due to political and trade risks.

Other ATI founding countries are Benin, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar.

By providing insurance against non-honouring of sovereign obligations, the covers have given comfort to multilateral financial institutions, development and commercial banks as well as capital market vehicle enabling them to extend funding to a number of governments in ATI's member countries.

For example, ATI has in the last few years enabled governments to issue sovereign bonds and raise capital from bond markets and from private lending institutions in excess of one billion US dollars.

Similarly as the country was in great need for foreign direct investments (FDI), ATI has been addressing the risk perception that the continent was unsafe for lending through its risk mitigation solutions and with governments' initiatives, it has created conducive investment and business environment.

In Tanzania, for example, ATI has provided cover to a number of local and international lenders enabling them to extend a 225 million US dollars facility to Tanzania Electric supply Company (TANESCO) for financing capital expenditure for various power plants.

It has also facilitated the development of a 104 US dollars gas fired power at Ubungo and Nyakato in Mwanza.

ATI covered an international syndicate of lenders who extended 250 million US dollars to Tanzania for financing various infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Adam Malima, said ATI has tremendous impact into the country's financial services, where banks have been trying to find solution to the challenge of increasing lending to Small and Medium sized companies.

"Although SMEs are vital the country's economy, but they have been lacking the necessary collateral and experience that would normally be required to secure a traditional bank loan," he said.

The ATI Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Israel Kamuzora, said the agency has attained a high level of business growth.

Currently, the board is working with the World Bank and shareholders to review a number of internal limitations in a bid to safeguard capital and minimise losses.

"In 2013, ATI approved an initiative in which the European Investment Bank (EIB) will partner with the ATI to develop unique expertise in energy related transactions in African.

The agency will benefit from a grant of two million Euro in the form of technical assistance for capacity building," he said.

The ATI Chief Executive Officer, Mr George Otieno, said demand for infrastructure development in the ATI member countries is a reason behind 144 per cent increase of profits to 1.5 million US dollars (about 2.4bn/-) last year, compared to 0.6 million US dollars (about 960m/-) in 2012.

The increased demand for ATI's products thus is linked to a growing demand from capital intensive priorities, such as in the energy sector, in many of ATI's member countries and also by a combination of prudent financial management and stepped up marketing efforts



Source allAfrica



NY fines insurer $327G for slow Sandy response

By JOE RYAN

State regulators have fined Narragansett Bay Insurance Co. $327,400 for forcing homeowners to wait weeks for adjusters to visit their damaged homes in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

The state Department of Financial Services began investigating the Rhode Island company in 2013 after policyholders on Long Island and elsewhere complained of having their inspections delayed by missed appointments and unreturned phone calls.

"When a natural disaster like superstorm Sandy strikes, insurers must respond rapidly to help their policyholders recover and rebuild," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

Under New York law, insurance companies must send adjusters to inspect properties within 15 days of a claim being filed. After Sandy, which hit Oct. 29, 2012, state officials trimmed that deadline to six business days for certain claims.

A Narragansett spokesman declined to comment on the allegations or the settlement. The company handled roughly 54,000 homeowners' claims in New York State that year, including about 45,000 in Nassau and Suffolk counties. About 10,000 of the statewide claims were related to Sandy.

As part of the settlement, Narragansett has agreed to amend its procedures and demonstrate within 60 days that it can meet the state's deadlines.

"When an insurance company drags its feet, that can leave a homeowner or business in a crushing limbo," Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky said. "New Yorkers expect and deserve better. Insurers must stand ready and able to get policyholders back on their feet as quickly as possible during a disaster."



Source News Day



Govt moots insurance scheme for farmers, use of GM technology to increase yield

Vishwa Mohan,

Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh is open to the idea of using genetically modified (GM) technology to increase farm productivity, saying the government will go for it "if it is absolutely necessary".

After taking charge of his ministry, Singh on Wednesday hinted at the possibility and spelt out his plan to launch big-ticket schemes in the farm sector including a nation-wide "rural irrigation programme" and a "new insurance scheme" to protect farmers' income in case of crop failure.

Singh's stand on GM technology is in tune with his party's position over this controversial issue as the BJP doesn't categorically oppose the move. It, however, makes it clear that the transgenic foods will not be allowed "without full scientific evaluation on its long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers" - the stand taken by the previous UPA government.

Sticking to BJP's manifesto which spoke about "protection and promotion of cow and its progeny", Singh, an old RSS hand and five-time MP from East Champaran in Bihar, said his ministry would work to conserve "indigenous breeds of cows".

In his first meeting with officials, he is learnt to have asked them to prepare a roadmap to implement the "doable" suggestions as reflected in the BJP's manifesto including amendments in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and cooperative laws within "two to three months" (100 days).

"I held a meeting with ministry officials and we have decided that we will bring 'Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sinchayee Yojana' similar to the 'Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana' which was launched by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government," Singh said.

Without giving any time-frame, he said his government is very serious about launching it. He said 44% of the country's cultivable land was bereft of irrigation facilities, affecting a majority of small and marginal farmers across the country.

Emphasizing on having an effective crop insurance policy, Singh said his ministry has decided to bring 'Kisan Aya Bima Yojna' which would take into account average income of farmers in the last 5-7 years while devising a compensation scheme.

If the government launches such a scheme, it will be a much needed improvement over the existing scheme which does not treat an individual farmer as a unit while providing compensation against insurance. The present scheme takes village or group of villages as a unit while deriving at compensation formula and therefore it invariably tends to benefit big and medium farmers.

"The Centre will bear the burden of premium for insurance of average income. Farmers will take interest in agriculture only when their investment is guaranteed," Singh said.

The minister also said the government would soon take a decision on the proposal to fix minimum support price (MSP) of kharif crops. Besides, there is a long-term plan to fix the MSP at 50% more than the cost of production, he added.

Addressing his maiden press conference, he also emphasized on setting up more central agriculture universities in different parts of the country.

Asked what he would do for his home state of Bihar, Singh said, "If India develops, Bihar will also develop."



Source The Times of India


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR INSURANCE, FOLA DANIEL AT THE INTERACTIVE SESSION FOR INSURANCE CORRESPONDENTS AT Le MERIDIEN IBOM HOTEL, UYO AKWA IBOM ON MAY 23, 2014.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR INSURANCE, FOLA DANIEL AT THE INTERACTIVE SESSION FOR INSURANCE CORRESPONDENTS AT Le MERIDIEN IBOM HOTEL, UYO AKWA IBOM ON MAY 23, 2014.
 


Protocol

 

It gives me great pleasure to yet again warmly welcome you to this interactive session meant to engender better working relationship between us and gain deeper understanding of the workings of the insurance sector, nay the National Insurance Commission.

We have used this forum consistently in the past five years to raise public awareness on the key initiatives of the Commission aimed at further opening up the insurance market, and by extension increase the sector’s contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation. 

Indeed, we have seen the impact of this annual gathering in the rich and robust reports about insurance in the media today based on sufficient knowledge gained from this forum. That is not to say that we have not had some pockets of misinformation and misrepresentation of facts either out of ignorance or sheer deliberate mischief in the media, but fact is no matter how minimal, there has been some value-added.

Thus, one of the objectives of our gathering here today is to apprise you of recent initiatives of the Commission to further enhance your understanding of developments in the insurance sector. You are all aware of the recent rebasing of the economy which now makes the Nigerian economy the largest in Africa and 26th largest economy in the world. This has placed enormous responsibility on the industry. With the old based economy, the sector barely contributed 0.7% to GDP. With the rebasing, the contribution of the sector to GDP has been further weakened. This therefore calls for more dynamic strategies to enable the sector make meaningful contribution to the GDP.

The Commission incepted the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) in 2009 to among others enforce compulsory insurances and eradicate fake insurances in the country. This initiative has been vigorously pursued by the Commission across the six geo-political zones of the country.

I am glad to let you know that even though the N1 trillion target is yet to be attained, considerable progress has been made given available statistics. There has been massive awareness about the compulsory insurances within and outside the industry. This is evident in the number of policies written by companies under this class of insurance between 2009 and 2012 which rose sharply from 72,180 to 152,181 a whopping increase of 111%.

Considerable progress was equally recorded in the volume of premium written under this class of insurance during the period. It rose sharply from N14.93 billion in 2009 to N28.68 billion in 2012, an increase of 92%.

Equally encouraging is the fact that the underwriting companies appear to have risen to their responsibility of claims settlement under the compulsory insurances’ scheme. This is evident from the impressive rise in the volume of claims paid during the period.

Going forward, the Commission would consolidate on the gains made so far and ensure proper implementation of these compulsory insurance products to be able to enhance the industry contribution to GDP.

An emerging fact under this class of insurance is the interest currently being shown by various governments. It will interest you to know that a group of underwriters have come together to enforce the Motor Vehicle Third Party Liability Insurance in Imo State in collaboration with the State Government and the scheme is working very well. Another group of 19 underwriters are enforcing the Occupiers Liability Insurance in Enugu State in collaboration with the State Government. And the Commission is working to get more states to embrace these models.

We also recognized the need to develop the retail insurance market which has remained grossly untapped considering the vast population of the country. And as part of the Commission’s strategy of Financial Inclusiveness the Micro Insurance Scheme and the Takaful Insurance were launched late last year. Every effort is being made to ensure they make the desired impact in the industry. I am please to let you know that on April 23, 2014, the Commission formally launched the Delta State Micro Insurance Scheme at a colourful ceremony in Asaba, the State Capital.


Efforts are being made to replicate this model in other states. The Commission has set up an industry steering committee for Micro Insurance under the chairmanship of Mr. O. S. Thomas, Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Insurance Association (NIA).
The Takaful Insurance project is also being pursued with great vigour. A good number of companies have indicated their interest in this line of insurance. A recent survey reveals that Muslims in the country are willing to buy Takaful products and are in dire need of such alternative to conventional insurance. This is an indication that there is a ready market for this line of insurance business and the Commission is determined to bring such Muslim faithful within the financial community in line with its financial inclusion strategy.

 Let me re-emphasize that as a regulatory body, our primary responsibility is to protect policyholders and safeguard investments. We have tried to ensure this in the provision of adequate regulations and effective supervision of the industry over the years.

Suffice it to say that the Nigerian insurance industry has witnessed considerable metamorphosis in recent times owing to the new reforms embarked upon by the Commission. Some of these reforms include but not limited to the introduction of Risk Based Supervision, migration to International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) from the Nigerian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (NGAAP); Market Conduct Reforms, Claims Settlement Reforms, Financial Inclusion, Combating financial crime etc, all geared towards developing the industry and improving the general perception about insurance.

 I must also mention that the successes achieved so far in this drive by the Commission may not have been possible without the unflinching support of the industry operators. Where necessary, the Commission has not failed to open lines of discussion with the operators, especially through the NIA, NCRIB, ILAN and ARIAN on issues affecting them before arriving at decisions.

We are aware that insurance is a business of selling promises. But when these promises made to policyholders and investors are not kept, it then becomes NAICOM’s business to intervene and ensure these promises are kept.

In doing this, there is always going to be tension, apprehension, disagreements, etc between the regulator and the stakeholders. This is healthy if only to engender transparency, good corporate governance, better management and appreciation of the laws governing the business.

Let me inform you that notwithstanding the resistance from these entities, the Commission remains committed to providing leadership to ensure sanity, good ethical practices, development and growth in the industry.

And I think the media has a major role to play in this regard. I believe the media should be able to collaborate with the Commission in raising sufficient insurance awareness, sensitization and education on insurance, financial literacy, benefits of insurance, claims processes and rights of the policyholder.

So far we say thank you but we crave for more support. The economic growth which is central to the government cardinal agenda will be enabled faster and in a sustainable manner, if insurance is developed as a driver of economic emancipation.

 Commission commenced the implementation of section 50 (1) of the Insurance Act 2003 on January 1st 2013 to put a stop to the vexed issue of delayed or non-payment of claims.

The on-going implementation of this law has significantly improved the cash flow of insurance institutions in the country. It is expected that this positive turn of events would impact on the capacity of operators to settle claims promptly, thus removing a major sore point in the relationship of insurance consumers and service providers.

Conclusion: the Nigerian insurance sector has great potentials for massive growth. You will agree with me that the population size of the country, if adequately harnessed, gives an added advantage to the insurance industry to further develop its market. This is what we intend to achieve with the various initiatives incepted by the Commission in recent times. I am encouraged that all of these and many other initiatives assure us of an evolving insurance model, a better insurance industry, a growing market and a brighter future. We will definitely appreciate the unflinching support and cooperation of all of you in this drive.



Thank for listening.

 


Fola Daniel

Commissioner for Insurance 


MMI : aims to strengthen its presence in Africa, eyes expansion into India

South African financial services group MMI Holdings is targeting to export its short-term insurance offering to the other African countries where it operates and eyes expansion into India in the medium to long-term, Business Day reported, quoting the company's CEO Nicolaas Kruger. MMI intends to start exporting its short-term insurance offering in its next fiscal year, starting on July 1, taking one country at a time. It has operations in Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana, but offers short-term insurance only in Tanzania and Kenya.

MMI is awaiting regulatory approval for a ZAR 330mn purchase of Kenyan short-term insurer Cannon Insurance. In the nine months to end-March, MMI's total new business recurring premiums rose 12% y/y, while the combined new business flows resulted in a 15% increase in respect of the year-to-date present value of premiums (PVP) for the group.

Source Emerging Markets

Insurance agent arraigned for N1.5m fraud

A 54-year-old insurance agent, Olusegun Olaifa, was on Monday brought before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State for allegedly defrauding a customer of N1.5m.

Olaifa, an agent with AIICO Insurance Plc., who did not disclose his residential address is facing a charge of fraud.

The Prosecutor, Cpl. Uagbale Oje, told the court that Olaifa committed the offence between Nov. 26, 2013 and March 31 at the head office of AIICO Insurance Plc., Plot 12, Churchgate St. Victoria Island, Lagos.

The prosecution said that the agent collected N1.5m as premium for an insurance policy from one David Fadairo, a customer of AIICO Insurance Plc.

Oje alleged that the accused, however, did not remit the money into the account of the insurance company but rather, converted the money to his personal use.

He said that after the theft was discovered by the complainant, the accused absconded to Isokoko area of Agege, Lagos, where he was eventually apprehended by the authorities.

Oje said the offence contravened Section 285 (8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 285 (8) prescribes 10 years imprisonment for any officer of a company convicted of stealing company’s property.

The agent, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Magistrate, Miss M.O. Ope-Aigbe, granted the accused bail in the sum of N1.5m with a surety in like sum.

She adjourned the case to June 13 for trial.





Source Punch



 

Mimiko tasks insurers on credibility

Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has charged insurance practitioners to work towards instilling confidence of Nigerians in the profession as one of the major drivers of the nation's economy.

Governor Mimiko gave the charge in his office in Akure during a courtesy/condolence visit by members of the Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN), on the demise of his mother-in-law.

Governor Mimiko, who appreciated the delegation led by its patron, Chief Oladipo Bailey, for the visit, however identified sharp practices and un-organised agents as some major impediments to the growth of the profession in the past.

Dr Mimiko advised stakeholders in the business to sustain the current level of transformation so that Nigerians can derive more satisfaction from the services rendered.

He then assured them of his administration's partnership with the institution in the area of engaging graduate youths in gainful employment.

In his speech, Chief Bailey noted that insurance business serves as a major source of employment to graduate youths.

He said being an insurance agent provides ample future opportunities for graduate youths, especially in the present socio-economic situation of the country and pleaded with the state government to intensify effort in the orientation of youth for the challenge.





Source Daily Independent




How we safeguard over N4.3trn pension contributions – PenCom


Chinelo Anohu-Amazu
Chuks Udo Okonta

 

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has reiterated that 

Safety mechanisms have been built into the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to safeguard the over N4.3 trillion contributed by workers.

 

The Acting Director-General National Pension Commission (PenCom), Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said this at a forum organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos. She noted that one of the safety valves and beauty of the scheme is the separation of the function of management from that of Custody of pension assets, adding that government contribution is a charge on the consolidated revenue fund, unlike in the past.

 

She also enumerated that there is guarantee of assets in custody by owners of the Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) and mandatory statutory reserve requirement by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

 

She said there are also meticulous investment limits and risk rating, daily monitoring of pension fund investment, ensuring that fit and proper persons are put in place for pension funds management, strict corporate governance and disclosure requirement.

 

Anohu-Amazu said adept attention is taken to ensure that pension assets are not

used to meet the claim of any creditors or be sold, or granted as loan, statutory

reserve Fund: PFAs required to set aside 12.5 per cent of profit after tax  to absorb any losses, strict compliance to rules and regulations by operators: requirement for appointment of compliance officers, scheme is strictly regulated and supervised by PenCom

 

On how the mechanisms are enforced, she said the commission regularly carries

out public enlightenment, collaboration with other regulatory authorities,

imposition of regime of sanctions and penalties, engagement of recovery agents.

 

Others she said are institution of criminal and civil actions, as appropriate for

infractions through Federal High Court, National Industrial Court,

investment and Securities Tribunal.

Photo News: CIIN fitness walk

Kola Ahmed (CIIN DG), Eddie Efekoha (CIIN COUNCIL MEMBER), Fatai Lawal
(CIIN PRESIDENT) and Sikiru Oyefeso (CIIN COUNCIL MEMBER)  during the warmup Session  for the
2014 FITNESS WALK/ROADSHOW organized recently by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, in
Lagos.
Kola Ahmed (CIIN DG),  Eddie Efekoha (CIIN COUNCIL MEMBER), Fatai Lawal (CIIN PRESIDENT),
Sikiru Oyefeso (CIIN COUNCIL MEMBER) and Edwin Igbiti (AIICO Plc) during the warmup Session 
for the 2014 FITNESS WALK/ROADSHOW organised recently by the Chartered Insurance Institute of
Nigeria in Lagos.