Wednesday, 31 December 2014

PenCom endorses call for use of pension assets for housing devt

The Director General, Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, has said that any effort geared towards increasing housing development through mortgage financing for the purpose of ameliorating housing deficit in the country will always receive the commission’s support.
Anohu-Amazu said during a public function in Lagos recently that housing deficit remains a major problem facing Africans, adding that in Nigeria, this cuts across all the states of the federation with many people living on the streets while most workers cannot afford decent homes.
The DG noted that some resorted to borrowing from banks at very high interest rate to build their homes only to lose these houses to banks for being unable to repay the loans with accumulated interests in full.
It is obvious that Nigerian workers, represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), are in support of using pension funds to provide houses for them. They say this is the best way to deploy pension funds to benefit contributors directly.
She noted that instead of borrowing from banks at exorbitant rates, lending pension money to contributors could help in providing soft landing to the public who choose the contributory scheme as a way of saving money.
Underscoring the need for pension fund managers to channel pension asset to finance housing for workers, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenyan Retirement Benefits Authority and Chairman of the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS), Dr. Edward Odundo, observed that houses are expensive when mortgage institutions and other intermediaries build to sell to workers.
For this reason, Kenyan workers are allowed to borrow from their retirement savings to build houses at friendly interest rates, using accumulated savings as collateral.
To this end, it is being argued that pension stakeholders in Nigeria should make it possible for retirement savings account (RSA) holders to borrow from the scheme to meet specific infrastructure needs.
Odundo said that a contributor who has N10 million in his RSA and needs N5 million to build a house should be allowed to borrow from his accumulated savings instead of going to the bank to borrow N5 million to build a house at 30 per cent interest rate, or buy a house worth N5 million at N8 million from mortgage institutions.

First Islamic Insurance Company launched in Somalia

The first Islamic insurance company has been launched in Mogadishu following decades of instability and civil war in the horn of African nation.

The Takaful and Re-Takful Islamic Insurance Company opening Ceremony was held in the Somali capital with cheerful representatives from key Somali financial institutes including well known business people and federal government officials.

Speaking at the Ceremony managing director of Takaful Company Mohamed Abdi said the company was established to serve Somali people through Sharia law conduits saying Takaful have a business relations with international Islamic insurance companies across World.

“Takaful is ready to collaborate with other Somali financial institutes in the country, Somali people should trust us “Mohamed Abdi said. He thanked Somali Federal government officials for endorsing Takaful Company.

Acting Somali Transportation minister Sacid Qorshel has called Somali people to welcome Takaful saying new companies will boost up country’s trade and infrastructure. In Somalia insurance banking system sector was collapsed when former Somali president Siyad Bare ousted from post in 1991.

Source: Somali Current

At least 7.1M signed up for 2015 Obamacare plans so far

By Jason Millman 
At least 7.1 million people so far have enrolled in 2015 health plans through Obamacare's insurance marketplaces, according to a pair of federal reports issued Tuesday.

As of Dec. 26, 6.5 million people signed up for coverage in federally run exchanges — that includes new enrollments, people actively re-enrolling and existing customers who allowed their coverage to automatically renew, according to the Department of Health and Human Services' weekly enrollment update.

A second HHS report, which provides the most comprehensive look at the new enrollment period so far, found that 633,000 people selected coverage in the 14 states running their own health insurance marketplaces as of Dec. 15. That's in addition to those who signed up through the federal exchanges, for a total of roughly 7.1 million.

However, HHS said most states haven't reported complete information about the number of re-enrollments, meaning the actual enrollment count is likely higher.

About 3.4 million people had actively selected an exchange plan in the 37 states relying on enrollment platform as of Dec. 15, the federal deadline to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1. About 87 percent of those people qualified for premiums subsides, and about 52 percent were purchasing coverage through the federal-run marketplaces for the first time this year. The remaining 48 percent were returning customers who either selected a new plan or actively re-enrolled in existing coverage.

By comparison, just 106,000 people had selected exchange health plans in the first month of enrollment last year, when severe technology flaws threatened the launch of the law's coverage expansion. This current enrollment period has run much more smoothly, though some customers are still experiencing problems on a smaller scale.

HHS has been providing weekly enrollment snapshots over the past month, but Tuesday's monthly report provided the most detailed breakdown to date of who's signing up for exchange coverage in the second year of the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion, with another major Supreme Court decision on the health-care law looming in 2015.

Of the 3.4 million people selecting health plans through the federal enrollment Web site, 24 percent were between 18 and 34 years old, while 30 percent were between 55 and 64 years old. The young adult enrollment rate was up just slightly from 23 percent compared to the first three months of last year's enrollment season, HHS said.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of federal exchange enrollees have so far selected "silver" health plans, which cover 70 percent of medical expenses. About 8 percent of enrollees identified of as Latino, which is slightly up from 7 percent reported during the first three months of last year's enrollment period. Eleven percent of enrollees identified themselves as African-American, down from 14 percent during the same period last year.

Of the 37 states using the enrollment platform, Mississippi had the highest percentage of new customers (58 percent) choosing 2015 health plans, while Alaska, Maine and North Dakota shared the lowest (39 percent). About 673,000 people have already signed up for 2015 coverage in Florida, the most of any state.

The administration seems likely to hit its own goal of enrolling 9.1 million people in 2015. That's significantly lower than the 13 million originally projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The enrollment period is scheduled to end Feb. 15, just a few weeks before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a lawsuit challenging the legality of subsidies provided through the federal-run exchanges. If the Supreme Court accepts ACA opponents' argument that the law only authorizes subsidies in states that set up their own exchanges, that would invalidate financial assistance to millions of enrollees in states relying on

Despite the lawsuit's high stakes, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell last week wouldn't say whether her department is preparing contingency plans in the event the administration loses the Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell. A decision is expected in June.

"The idea that Congress intended for people of New York to receive these benefits for affordable care but not necessarily the people of Florida — we believe we have the right position," Burwell said.

IGI, NICON Refuse to File 2014 Quarterly Returns

Daily Independent

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has revealed that both Industrial & General Insurance Plc (IGI) and NICON Insurance Limited did not file quarterly financial returns with the commission in 2014.
While all insurers and reinsurers are required to, within 30 days from the end of each quarter, file financial returns as at the end of the quarter with NAICOM, failure to render quarterly returns constitutes a ground for cancellation of insurers licence in line with section 8 of the Insurance Act 2003.
NAICOM also informed that out of the 59 insurance companies in the market, eight companies were yet to submit their financial returns for the third quarter of 2014, to the commission.
The defaulting insurance companies are Anchor Insurance Company, Great Nigeria Insurance, Industrial & General Insurance Plc (IGI), Mutual Benefits Life Assurance Ltd, NICON Insurance Limited, Staco Insurance Plc, Universal Insurance Company Ltd, and UNIC Insurance Plc.
The insurance regulator, however, pointed out that five firms are under regulatory intervention. The affected companies are Alliance & General Insurance, Alliance & General Life Assurance, Goldlink Insurance Plc, Investment & Allied Insurance Plc and Spring Life Assurance Plc.
NAICOM further confirmed that 46 other insurance firms operating in the country filed their first, second and third quarter returns with the commission.
As all insurers and reinsurers are required to, within 30 days from the end of each quarter, file financial returns as at the end of the quarter with NAICOM, late filing of quarterly returns attracts a fine of N5000 per day for each day of default.
An insurer who refuses to submit to NAICOM on or before the end of the next quarter is deemed to have failed to render quarterly returns.
All contraventions on which penalties have been imposed in any accounting year are required to be included in the audited annual accounts to be presented at the annual general meeting.
In case of general insurers, the quarterly returns are expected to include: statement of premium transaction by class of business, statement of commission by class of business, statement of claims by class of business, statement of management expenses, quarterly balance sheet, revenue account, profit and loss account.

Eight Insurers Fail to Submit 2013 Accounts to NAICOM

Daily Times
Less than 24 hours to the end of the year, eight insurance companies are yet to submit their 2013 International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) based accounts to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the commission disclosed.
Just like the previous year when eight insurance companies failed to submit their 2012 IFRS based accounts to NAICOM after the end of 2013, seven of the affected insurance companies were equally found wanting in this regard in 2014.
The eight defaulting companies in 2013 were: Alliance & General Insurance Company Limited, Alliance & General Insurance Life Assurance, Goldlink Insurance Plc, Industrial & General Insurance Plc, Investment & Allied Assurance Company, International Energy Insurance Plc, NICON Insurance Ltd and Spring Life Assurance Plc.
Again, the eight defaulting insurers in 2014 are Alliance & General Insurance, Alliance & General Life Assurance, Goldlink Insurance Plc, Industrial & General Insurance Plc, Investment & Allied Insurance Plc, NICON Insurance Ltd, Spring Life Assurance Plc and UNIC Insurance Plc.
This development took place in spite of the fact that section 26(1) of the Insurance Act 2003 stipulates that every insurer shall not later than 30th June of each year submit to NAICOM, a balance sheet duly audited showing the financial position of the insurer and its subsidiaries at the close of the preceding year together with a copy of the relevant profit and loss account which the insurer is to present to its shareholders at its annual general meeting.
The affected insurers have been paying a fine of N5, 000 per day for each day of default.
In view of the fact that section 26(3) of the Insurance Act stipulates a fine of N5, 000 per day for each day of default, NAICOM believes this has not deterred insurers from failure to render annual returns as expected. The commission was therefore considering more stringent penalty in the proposed amendment to the Insurance Act.
As at the time of filing this report, out of the 59 insurance companies operating in the country, 46 have got approval for their 2013 financial reports.
Apart from the eight insurance outfits that have failed to submit their 2013 accounts to the commission in contravention of the law, the accounts submitted by five companies were queried by the commission and responses were being awaited. The affected companies are Universal Insurance Company Ltd, UnityKapital Assurance Plc, Great Nigeria Insurance, African Alliance Insurance and International Energy Insurance Plc.

Insurance Industry Attracts U.S.$750 Million Investments on New Banking Model

Despite fears been nursed in some quarters over the future of the Nigerian economy, the nation's insurance sector has in the last one year attracted about $750 million in foreign direct investment.
Analysts believe the major driver behind the massive investment in Nigeria has been the decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reverse universal banking licenses, which forced banks to divest insurance subsidiaries unless they opt for the holding company structure.
The CBN had in August 2010 directed banks under its supervision to divest from their subsidiaries including insurance companies to enable them concentrate on their core banking business. In the alternative they were asked to set up holding companies and bring all their subsidiaries under this umbrella.
In the circular on the Review of Universal Banking Model, CBN's Director of Banking Supervision, Mr. Samuel Oni recalled that the apex bank in 2002, through the Universal Banking Guidelines, authorised banks to engage in non-core banking financial activities either directly as part of banking operations or indirectly through designated subsidiaries.
Leading global insurance companies took over Nigerian insurance firms in the last six months; a move experts say is strategic given growing middle class.
A breakdown of the acquisitions showed that South Africa's giant Old Mutual took over Oceanic Insurance, Sanlam Insurance bought FBN Life Assurance, NSIA Participations took over ADIC Insurance and Greenoaks Global Holdings acquired Union Assurance. Last month, France's Axa announced that it had acquired a 77 per cent interest in Mansard Insurance, formerly GTAssurance, for €198 million.
Analysts at FBN Capital stressed that global under writers are trooping to Nigeria because of the positive demographics and rising household incomes across Africa, sometimes dressed up as the emergence of the middle class. "The new national accounts with a base year of 2010 were helpful in this respect. The same investment rationale can be applied to banks, retail, telecoms, and consumer goods manufacturing and advertising, "they said. The analysts added that South Africa's Sanlam views Nigeria as one of its star markets in Africa, having breakeven after little more than two years in Nigeria.
"It cited figures showing that insurance penetration stands at about 10 per cent in South Africa yet less than 2 per cent in Nigeria. It might have added that the authorities are supportive, and we give the example of the requirement for all companies with at least five employees to provide life cover. Foreign companies can own insurance firms in full, and we can see their becoming the dominant players in the industry within this decade. This is obviously not the case with banking, "they said.
THISDAY findings showed that the industry has been growing since the universal banking reversal. A report by the industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), showed that the sector recorded a total of N258 billion in gross premium income for 2013 and expects N1trillion for 2018. Recently, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala projected N5 trillion gross premium income for the sector within 10 years.
The NAICOM data for 2013 showed that Leadway Assurance Limited achieved the largest gross premium income raking in N41.8 billion. The next four are all quoted on the NSE: AIICO Insurance Plc made N22.8 billion, Custodian and Allied Insurance N20.5billion, Continental Reinsurance N13.8 billion and Mansard Insurance Plc N13.6 billion.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Number of Uninsured Kansans in 2013 Unchanged from 2012 - See more at:

By Cheng-Chung Huang, M.P.H. and Sheena Smith, M.P.P.
Public Health via Kansas Health Institute 

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show an estimated 348,097 (12.3 percent) Kansans didn’t have health insurance in 2013, which is not a significant change from 2012 (12.6 percent). Kansas had lower uninsured rates across all age groups compared to national rates for 2013.

The Kansas Health Institute has developed a fact sheet that details this information.

The 2013 American Community Survey also found that:
  • Fewer Kansans (56.7 percent) obtained health insurance through their employers in 2013, a significant decline since 2009 (59.6 percent). Over the same time period, public coverage increased from 24.8 percent in 2009 to 27.7 percent in 2013.

  • Young Kansas adults (age 19-25) are more likely to be uninsured than any other age group, however, the percentage of young adults in Kansas without insurance has decreased significantly from 26.8 percent in 2009 to 21.4 percent in 2013. This is at least partly due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which allows young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parent’s health insurance policies.
  • 44,130 (6.1 percent) Kansas children were uninsured, lower than the national rate of 7.1 percent.
  • Hispanic Kansans were almost three times more likely than non-Hispanic Kansans to be uninsured (27.8 percent versus 10.3 percent).
  • Non-White Kansans were more likely than White Kansans to be uninsured: (White (11.3 percent), Black/African American (18.0 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (19.4 percent), and Asian/Native Hawaiian (15.1 percent).

Among the nearly 350,000 Kansans without health insurance in 2013, almost half (43.9 percent) could be eligible for Medicaid if the program is expanded in the state.

Expansion would cover adults earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (or $32,913 per year for a family of four).

“This report from the U.S. Census Bureau contains 2013 data and, therefore, covers the year before health insurance was available through the marketplaces created by the ACA,” said Scott Brunner, KHI senior analyst and strategy team leader. “The 2013 findings establish an important baseline to help determine how effective the ACA marketplace and government subsidies are in providing affordable coverage and reducing the number of uninsured Kansans.”
- See more at:

California judges sue Calpers pension system over contributions

By Tim Reid

 A group of judges is suing California's public pension system Calpers and the state of California over claims their pension contributions have been almost doubled unlawfully.

Under state pay grades, the six California Superior Court judges each earn more than $181,000 a year. The lawsuit filed on Dec. 23 says their pension contributions should be lowered by about $13,000 a year.

The six, who were elected in 2012, claim a pension reform law signed by Governor Jerry Brown which took effect Jan. 1, 2013 has raised their pension contributions to 15 percent from 8 percent of their salary. They say the 8 percent contribution was set in stone and should not have been raised by the new law retrospectively.

The California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, said the lawsuit was so recently filed it was too early to comment on it. Calpers is America's biggest public pension fund, managing assets of $300 billion.

Last January, a former California appeals court judge sued on behalf of 1,600 judges. He contends that California judges are owed pension increases and back pay because their salaries, frozen for five years, did not keep pace with increases to other state workers under state law.

If that lawsuit prevails it could wipe out a $97 million reduction in the state's pension liability that had been gleaned from lower state salaries for other employers, according to Calpers's chief actuary Alan Milligan in comments made earlier this year.

Judges in both lawsuits have sued defendants including Calpers and John Chiang, the California state controller. A spokesman for Chiang said the controller was named in the lawsuits because his office processes the pension payments, but that Chiang had no role in calculating the payments.

The judges' action was earlier reported by legal news service the Courthouse News Service. (Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman)

Source: Reuters

WAPIC Insurance Profits From Transformation

AFTER more than half a century of operation, recent strategic institutional actions are beginning to open a new phase in the history of Nigeria's oldest insurance company, Wapic Insurance. The firm which is arguably sub-Saharan Africa's strongest insurance franchise had operated at sub-optimal level for decades, and offered stakeholders lesser than they deserved as a result of unfair valuation of its stocks but this trend has been reversed by the ingenuity and vision of its new management team.
Analysts had attributed the dreary performance of the institution to a number of reasons which include weak brand image, unexciting offerings and quality of management. However, these issues were not considered seriously because of the limited level of competition amongst operators in the sector unlike its first cousin, banking. But Insurance Analysts are resolute in their views that the sector holds higher potential than the banking sector and could contribute more to the economy, if properly driven and managed.
Even, a particular school of thought believe that insurance companies may soon own banks, just the way it is in developed economies across the globe but anchored the possibility of this development on increased level of competition amongst operators, innovative offerings, visionary leadership and experienced board.
For analysts, the transformation of Wapic Insurance as a result of its coming under a new management implied a renaissance of the Nigerian insurance industry. This view is also validated by stakeholders' expectation from the new management under the watch of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede who chairs its board - which is to break away from the history of underperformance that previously characterised the organisation.
In less than two years, analysts' insights and permutations are crystallising into an interesting story for the Nigerian insurance industry and Wapic Insurance shareholders in particular. Operators are finding new meanings to insurance services as a result of increased level of competition prompted by the vision of the current leadership of the firm.
More importantly, the innovation the sector has witnessed since the transformation of Wapic Insurance has positively impacted perception insurance services in the West African sub-region and created a sense of pride for insurance professionals who now have a better appreciation of their roles and contribution to the development of the Nigerian economy.
Perhaps, this development might suggest that insurance operations, like in other parts of the world, is gradually occupying its rightful place in the Nigerian financial services sector but a more probable evidence is the recent rating of Nigeria's oldest insurance company, Wapic Insurance, after more than 50 years of operations, by AM Best, the global full-service credit rating agency dedicated to servicing the insurance company.
While this rating affirmed Wapic Insurance's financial strength and importance to the insurance industry in the West African sub-region, the rating could be noted as one of the immediate impacts of the company's transformation as a result of its acquisition by Access Bank Plc, and eventual repositioning for optimal performance under the watchful eyes of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, a business leader reputed for his uncommon management acumen and an accomplished turnaround manager.
The rating agency which commenced operations in 1906, noted that " the financial strength rating (FSR) of B- and the issuer credit rating of "bb-" were assigned to Wapic Insurance Plc. The ratings were assigned a stable outlook". By this, Wapic Insurance becomes one of the only 3 insurance companies rated in Nigeria.

Canadian fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan snaps up 48% of Birmingham Airport

More British infrastructure passed into the hands of Canadian pensioners yesterday as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan increased its stake in Birmingham Airport to 48.25 per cent. Its purchase of a 19.25 per cent stake is in addition to the 29 per cent it already owned. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The majority stake in Birmingham Airport remains in the hands of several West Midlands local authorities, although Ontario TPP will be the largest single shareholder. The fund hopes to leverage Birmingham’s location and 9.5 million passengers in order to compete more effectively with London and Manchester.

Surprisingly, despite its location, Birmingham Airport is the seventh largest air hub in the country, with fewer passengers than Luton or Edinburgh. Ontario TPP first invested in Birmingham in 2001 and increased its stake in 2007, when the Macquarie Group pulled out.

Although it may sound sedate, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is one of the most actively managed and aggressive pension funds in the world, with assets in excess of $140bn (£90bn). It looks after the retirement funds of almost 310,000 teachers. Through its Infrastructure Group, it already owns $11.7bn of infrastructure assets across the globe. These include airports in Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen, plus the Channel rail link and Camelot, operator of the UK national lottery. It also invests heavily in private equity, technology and real estate.

Petrobras says probe may implicate pension fund; cuts off contractors

The headquarters of Brazilian oil company Petrobras is seen in Rio de Janeiro November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
The headquarters of Brazilian oil company Petrobras is seen in Rio de Janeiro November 14, 2014


(Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras on Monday said a growing corruption scandal may implicate its employee pension fund and has led to a freeze on payments to 23 contractors allegedly involved in the scheme.
Petros, the 66 billion real ($24 billion) employee-pension fund of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, was singled out by an internal investigation, Petrobras said in a statement.
The law firms that are conducting the internal investigation "have found possible links to the facts that have been investigated" regarding the pension fund, according to the statement.
It did not give details of any possible links.
The investigation was launched after Brazilian prosecutors alleged that Petrobras executives conspired with construction companies to inflate the cost of contracts and then kick back proceeds to executives, politicians and political parties as bribes and campaign contributions.
In a separate statement, Petrobras said it was blocking payments to 23 companies implicated in a police investigation into the alleged kickback scheme.
The list includes Brazil's largest construction firms Odebrecht SA, Camargo Correa and Andrade Gutierrez, as well as Italo-Argentine conglomerate Techint and Sweden's Skanska AB.
The other companies on the list were: Alusa, Carioca Engenharia, Construcap, Egesa, Engevix, Fidens, Galvão Engenharia, GDK, IESA, Jaraguá Equipamentos, Mendes Junior, MPE, OAS, Odebrecht, Promon, Queiroz Galvão, Setal, Tomé Engenharia, and UTC.
The blacklisted companies are banned from bidding and receiving contracts for Petrobras work, the company said.
The move will reduce the number of companies Petrobras is able to work with in its $221 billion five-year investment plan - one of the largest in the global oil industry - as it looks to exploit giant oil reserves off the coast of Brazil.
Petrobras said it aims to revise its planned investments for next year as it tries to avoid a cash squeeze in the midst of the corruption scandal and lower crude oil prices.
(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Jeb Blount and Ken Wills)

PenOp's electronic collection of remittances may take off in January

From left: Chairman Subcommittee on EPCCOS and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Pension Fund Custodian, Bayo Yusuf;  PenOp Executive Secretary, Susan Oranye; Head Manager Business Process Outsourcing/ Portal Management Nigerian Inter- Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Samuel Oluyemi and Portal Manager NIBSS, Prosper Ofualagba, at the ongoing two- day retreat for National Association of Pension and insurance Journalists organised by PenOp today in Lagos.

Chuks Udo Okonta

The planned January take off date for the Electronic Pension Contribution Collection System (EPCCOS), seems not to be feasible as The National Pension Commission (PenCom) is yet to give its final nod to the initiative.

Inspen gathered that pension operators are still trying to perfect the system to make it seamless when it finally take off.

A source who knows said: "It is still being structured for take off. We are yet to hear from PenCom concerning the take off"

The system according to Executives of Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria PenOp is presently being tested with 500 selected organisations that have embraced the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

The Chairman Subcommittee on EPCCOS and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Pension Fund Custodian, Bayo Yusuf, said  the platform is free and will enable employers to comply with the scheme without any difficulty.

He said the initiative is an industry platform developed to drive seamless pension contribution remittances and schedules collection, adding that the system will bring about seamless remittances; minimize reconciliation issues; timely crediting of employee’s RSA and Straight Through Processing (STP).

He said with the system, employers have to upload contribution schedules prior to payment; and that the platform will generates unique reference number and amount payable based on schedule uploaded; the platform will also validate employer code and PIN digits for correctness and make payment using any of the employer’s e-banking facilities.

Yusuf said PFCs, are to download schedule uploaded by employers; validate payment with schedule uploaded; generate reports and ensure usage of Platform by employers.

On the roles of PFAs, in the new system, he said they are to download schedule uploaded by employers; validate payment with schedule uploaded; generate reports and ensure usage of Platform by employers.

He said the National Pension Commission (PenCom) is to download schedule
uploaded by employers; generate reports and regulate and ensure standards are

He noted that the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), which is the platform developer and host, would ensure complaint management and security of data.

Yusuf maintained that the platform will eliminate employers’ burden of multiple schedule generation; ensures timely crediting of employees Retirement Savings Account (RSA); minimal contribution reconciliation issues and a self-service platform

He said the portal can be accessed through

PenOp Executive Secretary, Susan Oranye, the initiative is one of the several steps the operators have evolved to strengthen the scheme, adding that the Pension Reform Act 2014 has really expanded the frontier of the scheme, hence the operators will continue to work assiduously to meet set objectives

Monday, 29 December 2014

NICON says appointment to underwrite student welfare scheme followed due process

Chuks Udo Okonta 

Contrary to recent reports in some newspapers on the appointment of NICON Insurance Limited as the sole Underwriter of the Students Welfare Insurance Scheme, the appointment actually followed due process at the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, the underwriter has said.

Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs of NICON Insurance Limited, Ade Adesokan stated in Lagos that the new scheme, which is the intellectual property of NICON Insurance Limited, was presented to the Federal Ministry of Education and due process was followed before its appointment as the Underwriter.

Adesokan, the Company’s Spokesperson also affirmed that the NICON Insurance Limited was democratized and privatized in 2006 and duly acquired by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR as the Core Investor.

According to him, the appointment of the Company as sole Underwriter was based on the recommendations of the Committee put in place by the Tender Board of the Ministry where other insurance companies were screened.

His words, “Despite the fact the scheme is an intellectual property of NICON Insurance Limited, other insurance companies also participated actively before the Company was finally appointed as the Underwriter."
“The Committee also noted that it was only NICON Insurance Limited that has Regional and Branch Offices in all the 36 States of the Federation where the Unity Schools were presently located”.
“The Committee also affirmed that only NICON Insurance’s branch network that could access the Unity Schools all over the Federation within an hour.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the scheme was packaged under the normal Group Life and Personal Accident insurance cover”, Adesokan added.
According to him, “the statute that established NICON Insurance has not been repealed by any Act of Parliament; therefore the Company could insure the Assets and Liabilities of the Federal Government”.
“Other competitors in the insurance market should always think outside the box not relying on NICON Intellectual Property to reap where they did not sow”, he stated.
Concerned with Students’ welfare and continuity of their studies nation-wide, NICON Insurance Limited in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Education recently in Abuja packaged the Students Welfare Insurance Scheme, he added.
The scheme which is aimed at bringing succor to students that may lose their parents or sponsors either through accident or by natural means. It was packaged for Students of 104 Unity Schools throughout the country, he stressed.
“The Students Welfare Insurance Scheme for Unity Schools is a combination of Group Personal Accident and Group Life Assurance Schemes,” Adesokan added.
According to him, in the case of accidental death of a student, the sponsor named in the policy would be entitled to N500, 000.
In the event of the death of the sponsor or guardian of a student, the pupil would be entitled to the payment of school fees up to the year of graduation from the secondary school up to a maximum of N500, 000 per annum.
In case a pupil accidentally sustains permanent disability, he/she will be entitled to N500, 000 as compensation. For accidental medical expenses, a pupil would be entitled to N50, 000 for medical treatment.
If a student is involved in accidental death, the company would pay N50, 000 for burial expenses, he said.
The NICON spokesperson stated further that some conditions are also to be fulfilled before a student could enjoy the benefits.
These include duly completed claim form signed by the pupil or sponsor and countersigned by an authorised officer in the Principal’s office; and production ofmedical certificate of cause of death (for death benefits only).
Others are medical report confirming extent of disability (for permanent disability benefit only); certificate of burial (for burial expenses benefit only) and evidence of actual medical expenses incurred e.g. receipts of payment for drugs purchased and other medical treatments.

Capital Express Assurance gross premium up 22% to N3.4bn

Life underwriting specialist, Capital Express Assurance plc, says its gross written premium rose by 22 percent from N2.8 billion in 2012 to N3.42 billion in 2013. “Net premium income on the other hand dipped by 11 percent from N2.79 billion in 2012 to N2.49 billion in 2013.”
The chairman of the company, Babatunde Adenuga, who disclosed this during its 31st annual general meeting in Lagos, said that its underwriting profit also rose by 114 percent to N735 million in 2013 from N344 million in 2012.
Adenuga said its net claims incurred stood at N1.46 billion in 2013 from N1.82 billion in 2012, saying growth prospects remained modest for the firm due to the high uncertainties surrounding commodity prices, rising cost-push factors, increased volatilities in the foreign exchange market and tight monetary policy stance.
These notwithstanding, and assessments within the Central Bank of Nigeria suggest that the Nigerian economy was projected to remain strong, driven largely by increased growth in agriculture, trade and services, while activities in the oil sector are projected to recover in 2015.
The chairman observed that the insurance sector had begun to witness a lot of emerging opportunities on the current government legislation, which has supported the prospect of growth in the industry.
This legislation, he said, had triggered strategic mergers and acquisitions, interests from foreign investors as well as increased competition in standard among players in the industry.
According to him, the high level of competition in the insurance industry was expected to improve the low patronage of insurance products, improve the level of knowledge of the public in insurance as well as improve the level of confidence and poor perception of the public of insurance, among others.