NIGERIAN INSURANCE COMPANIES IN AN AGE OF REGULATION
The purpose of this research is concerned on the impact of the government policies in regulating the activities of insurance companies operating in Nigeria. The government responsibility to supervise, regulate and control the activities of insurance companies and intermediaries is to protect the interest of the insuring public and to save them from exploitation by unreliable insurers. Because of the intangible nature of insurance product, the government wants to make sure that those engaged in it must be competent person who will fulfill their promise and pledges when the need arises.
Also because of the complexity of insurance business, it is necessary that the government regulate it to protect the policyholders. Also because of violation of public trust that occurs in insurance transistors, the government has found it necessary to regulate insurance industries so as to control such violations. The project attempts to appraise the effectiveness of government policies in regulating the insurance companies in Nigeria. The insurance industry in Nigeria has acute shortage of high level of manpower for most classes of insurance, also many Nigerians suffer financial loss due to lack of knowledge in insurance.
Due to this problem, government should introduce programs regarding to insurance to the public as to highlight them on the benefit accrued to insurance due to constant financial loss they encounter as a result of lack of insurance knowledge.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
“Risk is a phenomenon which has been in existence since the beginning of the world. Risk exists whenever the future is unknown” (Lemon 1989: 17). This means that the word implies some element of doubt about the future and the outcome may be worse than what it had been at the moment. This man in his daily operations could be viewed as a risk manager, in that man does his best possible to reduce, eliminate, avoid, retain or share risk where they are present.
Though there were some forms of risk management before the advent of insurance companies in Nigeria such as the extended family system, age grade association and others. Insurance in its modern form was introduced into Nigeria by British.
In 1921, the Royal Exchange Assurance Company was established and it was the first insurance company to open full branch in Nigeria. In 1949, three other companies emerged. In 1958, Africa insurance company. By 1965, the number of insurance companies rose to 70. In 1977, the Nigerian Reinsurance company was established as a federal government owned insurance company. Nigeria was however under the British colonial rule up to 1960 when she gained her political independence and as a developing country. From 1960 to date a lot of insurance companies came into operation. Insurance is a modern method of sharing loss or spreading risk lightly over a great number of people so that the few unfortunate ones or persons who sustain or suffer loss do not heavy financial loss as a result of their misfortune to the community. The insured pay premium into a common pool outcome of which the unfortunate few who suffer loss are compensated.
The secondary function of insurance companies includes:
- Provision of loans for building on the security of a life policy.
- Encourage and promote commercial enterprise men and industrialist
- The accumulated sum of money by insurer reinvested to state approved securities and this helps to provide the state with a steady flow investment funds with which the state can provide development and promotions to the local industries which will be of benefit to the community.
Insurance is a contract whereby a person called the insurer or insurer agrees in consideration of money paid to him or her known as premium by another person called the insured or assured to indemnify him against loss resulting to him on the happening of certain events. However, it was known that risk exist whenever the future is unknown and therefore insurance exist primarily to combat the adverse effect of risk.
The purpose of insurance is to compensate or indemnify the victim for his financial loss. It should be noted here that the insurance neither eliminate the loss nor stops the disaster from happening, what insurance does is to soften the blow in a purely financial sense by offering monetary compensation to the victim whereby placing him in the same financial position after loss as he was before though within the terms of the policy.
Reinsurance is the transfer of insurance business from one insurance company to another. The original insurer who obtain the insurance contract from the insured or assured is called the direct insurer or the ceding company. Re- insurance arose form the need of the original insurer to spread the risk he has undertaken. Under reinsurance contract is between the ceding company policies. Therefore in the event of a loss, the insured cannot enforce the reinsurance contract.
However, the effect of re- insurance contract on the ceding company includes:
i. Reinsurance reduces the probability of the ceding company’s ruin by assuming his catastrophe risk.
ii. Reinsurance stabilizes the ceding company’s balance sheet by taking on apart of his risk of random fluctuation risk of change and risk error.
iii. Reinsurance increases the amount of capital effectively available to the ceding company by freeing equity that was tied up to cover risk.
iv. Reinsurance enlarges the ceding company’s underwriting capacity by accepting a proportional share of risks and by providing part of the necessary reserves.
The insurance sector is made up of a large number of companies with varying sizes, among which the NAICOM was established. The government uses this commission to regulate the insurance industry. The government uses this commission to regulate the insurance industry. It was established in 1997 by NAICOM decree N0. 1 of 1997. Prior to the establishment of National insurance commission, the insurance business regulation and supervision were done by the insurance department of the Ministry of finance.
The national insurance supervisory board (NISB) was established in 1991 to take over the supervision of insurance from the director of insurance. National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is the head by the commission finance and administration and deputy director for insurance technical.
NAICOM Decree 1 of 1997 stated the functions of NAICOM as follows:
- To ensure the effective administration, supervision regulation and control of insurance business in Nigeria.
- Establishment of standards of the conduct of insurance business in Nigeria.
- Approval of rate insurance premium to be paid of all classes of insurance business.
- Regulation of transactions between insurers and reinsurance in Nigeria and those outside Nigeria.
- Ensuring adequate protection of strategic government assets and other properties.
- To act as adviser to the federal government on all insurance related matters.
- Approve standards, conditions and warranties applicable to all classes of insurance business.
- To protect insurance policy holders and beneficiaries and third parties to insurance contract
- To publish for sale and distribution to the public, annual reports and statistics on the re- insurance industry.
- To liaise with and advise federal ministries, extra ministerial departments, statutory bodies and other government agencies on all matters relating to insurance contained in annual technical agreements to which Nigeria is signatory.
- To contribute to the educational program of the chartered institute of Nigeria and the West African insurance institute.
- To carry out such other activities connected or incidental to its other functions under the decrees.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The insurance industry in Nigeria has acute shortage of high level manpower for most classes of insurance and reinsurance business. The Nigeria insurance industry does not enjoy the required public goodwill and reason for this has to do with the damage done to practice of the profession by the get rich entrepreneur who goes about the business of insurance with the little regard to the principle of the profession. As a result of this, the government has come up with so many policies aimed at the study though will save the insurance industry. The extent to which all those government policies affect insurance companies and provides solution to ensure the survival of these insurance companies is another thing. The research therefore, is indicated to examine the impact of various control measures as promulgated by government to regulate the activities of the insurance industry.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research is essential in a direct investigation on the impact of government policies on the insurance industry in Nigeria.
- To look into the factors hindering the performance of insurance companies through the various government regulatory policies.
To determine the impact of those government policies on the insurance companies and the insuring public.
Since the insurance industry is the second largest deposit mobilization institution in the country, it therefore encourages saving which plays an important role in the social and economic well being of the country.
To evaluate the performance of the industry therefore, is necessary for the growth of the economy.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
i. To enlighten the Nigerian populace about the benefit that they could drive by taken up insurance cover.
ii. To guide the policy makers when they are enacting laws concerning insurance.
iii. Ascertain the need or otherwise for government intervention through regulatory body in the insurance industry.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
i. To determine the impact of government policies in regulating the activities of the Nigerian insurance industry.
ii. The study therefore will concentrate on the Nigeria insurance industry.
1.6 DEFINITION OF THE TERM
i. INSURER/ASSURER: This is the insurance or assurance company that issue out policy to the policy holder.
ii. INSURED/ASSURED: This are policy holders in the insurance business
iii. PERIL: This is known as a prime cause or what gives rise to the loss.
iv. PREMIUM: This is periodic consideration payment by the policyholder to the insurance company which will necessitate compensation by the insurer to the insured.
v. POLICY: This is a written contract of insurance which is issued to the policy holder.
vi. REINSURANCE: This is an insurance company re-insuring again a risk that had already been insured to another insurance company.
vii. CEDING COMPANY: This is the direct insurer or the original insurer who is re-insuring the risk to another insurer.
viii. UNDERWRITING: This is a process by which an insurance company determine whether or not on the basis it will accept an application for insurance.