By Adedapo Adesanya
The Insurance Consumers Association of Nigeria (INSCAN), which includes motorists, has called on the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to reverse its directive on the increase of third-party motor insurance premium in Nigeria.
NAICOM recently issued a policy directive on the increase of third-party insurance policy in Nigeria by 200 per cent.
INSCAN, in a letter signed by its National Coordinator, Mr Yemi Soladoye, demanded the reversal of the directive, saying it amounted to a deliberate breach of the fundamental Principle of Utmost Good Faith and other decent regulatory principles guiding Insurance practice.
“We hereby write with respect to your Circular No.: NAICOM /DPR/CIR.46/2022 dated Dec. 22, 2022, increasing the third-party motor insurance premium in Nigeria by 200-400 per cent for different categories of motor vehicles.
“And by implication, giving only one week’s notice to the insuring public of Nigeria to comply.
“We demand the reversal of the directive as it amounts to a deliberate breach of the Fundamental Principle of Utmost Good Faith and other decent regulatory principles that guide insurance practice,” it said.
The INSCAN recalled that enough time was given to the public for feedback and adjustments to be made on the recent cases of currency redesign as well as the cash withdrawal limit introduced by the CBN.
It said the almost 20 million Motor Insurance Consumers in Nigeria deserved more than a week’s notice for compliance, describing the duration as a great insult to the collective intelligence of Nigerians.
The association said it had read over 500 public comments by Nigerians on the directive, saying the reputation slowly built for the Nigeria Insurance Industry was being eroded by the series of condemnations.
It said that practitioners, as well as the various arms of the central government of Nigeria, were being unfairly treated.
It quipped, “How much has your commission paid out to victims and customers of Proscribed Insurance Companies over the past 20 years as required under Section 78 of the Insurance Act 2003 to justify an astronomical increase in premium amount?
“Where is the report of an ad hoc committee required to be set up under Sec. 52 of the Insurance Act 2003, stating the imperative of increasing Insurance Premium by a whopping 200 per cent?
“We also know that the referred Sec. 52 of that Insurance Law does not confer arbitrary powers on you because Insurance is a business affected by Public Policy and otherwise it becomes legalised robbery,” it said.
The association said that the predictable outcome of the directive would be a substantial increase in the number of fake Insurance Underwriters in Nigeria.
You are definitely aware of the fact that even at the current N5,000 MTP Premium, many Nigerians still patronise the fake underwriters.
“And this is not because these Nigerians cannot afford the N5,000 but because they don’t see any benefit be it under your genuine or the fake cover,” the association said
It said that the directive would garner more money to the pockets of NAICOM and insurance operators and more hardship to Nigerian insurance consumers.
“To what extent have the interests of the Policyholders of the Insurance Underwriters, whose licences you revoked in the past year, been protected?
“How much have you paid to the various Fire Brigades in Nigeria as Fire Service Maintenance Fund as prescribed under Sec. 65 of the Insurance Act 2003.
“But still, you are quick to increase the Premium burden on the largely dissatisfied Insurance Customers in Nigeria,” it said.
INSCAN lamented the increment without due consideration for the feelings of the consumers, particularly in Nigeria, where the good customers who didn’t make claims are never rewarded.
The association said that failure to reverse the obnoxious directive would put NAICOM on record as the regulator with the highest level of impunity and insensitivity in Nigeria.
It stated that NAICOM’s policy directive was not subjected to civilised trade practices, professionally-accepted insurance principles, transparent customer-oriented regulations and humane attention to the economic situation of most Nigerians.
The association said that consumers were further convinced that the motive behind the directive was self-serving, arrogant and detrimental to their interests.
It said NAICOM was established to protect consumers, demanding a reversal of the policy pending proper consideration of the grey areas of the directive.
Passengers Stranded as Abuja-Kaduna Train Derails
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train were stranded on Friday in the Kubwa area of Abuja when the train conveying them derailed.
According to reports, the incident happened a few distances to its destination at about 3:20 pm and left the passengers frustrated.
Today’s derailment occurred barely a week after 300 stranded passengers on the Warri-Itakpe train missed its track in Kogi State.
In the latest incident, there were no reports of casualties, though the exact reason for the derailment is still sketchy.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which manages rail transportation in the country, was yet to give an update on the situation.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari revamped the rail system in the country. Loans were taken from China to build rail tracks to ease the movement of people from one point to another.
Airtel Supports Police for Safety of Lagos Road Users
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of its commitment to support the activities of the police in ensuring the coordination and safety of Lagos road users, Airtel Nigeria has donated some traffic booths.
According to the Commissioner of Police for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Abiodun Alabi, the booths will be placed in strategic locations across the state to serve as an inspiration to other organisations to support the police in the discharging of their duties.
At a brief ceremony to hand over the items at the Lagos State Police headquarters, Ikeja, on Thursday, January 19, 2023, Mr Alabi thanked the telecommunications service provider for the gesture, recounting previous support over the years.
Some of which included the donation of phones to all police commissions in Lagos, donation of patrol vehicles, renovation of Zone 2 Command, renovation of Lekki Phase 1 Police post and the provision of CCTV cameras, etc.
“On behalf of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Alkali Baba Usman, and the Lagos State Police Command, I would like to thank Airtel for their support to the Nigeria Police over the years and for this particular donation of traffic booths for our traffic officers through its corporate social responsibility.
“Not everyone or every organisation appreciates what the police does for society; therefore, we are pleased to see that Airtel recognizes and supports our effort to carry out our duties optimally,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director of Corporate Communications at Airtel Nigeria, Mr Femi Adeniran, said, “Over the years, Airtel Nigeria has worked closely with the Lagos Police Command, and we have collaborated on several initiatives with a positive impact towards making Lagos a safer and more secured State to live in and do business.
“We are firm in our resolve to drive the vision of Airtel Africa towards sustainability consistently, and we consistently work to demonstrate this in our deeds through our CSR interventions.
“We are always glad to support the police force in the great work they do daily because we understand that once there is security, people can live and make ends meet without fear, and that is the only way we can say that we have a good society.”
Traffic Gridlock: Lagos Directs Petrol Stations to Close by 4pm
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Petrol stations located along the major roads in Lagos will now operate from 9 am to 4 pm daily, the Lagos State government has directed.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, explained that the move was to curtail the traffic gridlock witnessed around such fuelling stations in the metropolis.
The incessant scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, in the city and other parts of Nigeria has caused vehicles to queue for the product, causing a clog in vehicular movement.
Most of the queues are seen around petrol stations belonging to major oil marketers because of their pump price. At the moment, most of them sell at the official price of N169 per litre, while other fuelling stations sell between N240 per litre and N260 per litre.
The quest to buy cheaper fuel has forced most motorists to queue for many hours at stations selling the official pump price.
To address traffic caused by the queues and ensure the free flow of vehicular movement in the metropolis, the state government has moved to “regulate the activities of major and independent petroleum marketers operating along major roads and traffic-prone areas within the state,” according to the statement.
Mr Oladeinde said the state government was not happy with the “indiscriminate activities of motorists queuing to buy petroleum products and often impeding the free flow of traffic on some roads.”
He said the government has now decided to ensure that, “petroleum marketers whose filling stations are situated on major highways and areas susceptible to traffic will henceforth be allowed to operate only between the hours of 9 am to 4 pm daily, pending when the fuel shortage crisis subsides.”
The Commissioner added that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Transport Operations Compliance Unit (TOCU) and other law enforcement agencies have been charged to ensure a seamless flow of traffic across the State.
Mr Oladeinde urged “all major and independent petroleum marketers operating across the state to comply with the directive to avoid sanctions.”
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