Following the recent difficulty that emerged from the industry’s inability to proceed with the submission process after submitting the appropriate paperwork for renewal through the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) portal, about 9,000 registered agents are now facing problems renewing their licences, consequently slowing agency activity in the nation. The Insurance and Pension Editors of Nigeria (IPEN) members revealed this during a recent visit to the Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN) Secretariat in Fadeyi, Lagos.
According to Mr. Odewunmi Kazeem, the president of ARIAN, out of the 10,000 registered insurance agents in the nation, around 1,000 were able to renew their licences using the portal that the sector regulator provides. Mr. Jegede Olatunji, the president’s vice, who speaks on the president’s behalf, said that the regulator had stopped accepting manual submissions for licence renewal in 2022. As a result, the president directed all agents to utilize the regulator’s portal to submit the necessary documents in order to renew their licences.
Inability to renew licences forced many providers out.
He reported that they followed the process and met all standards but that the application was still not going through and that a complaint had been filed with NAICOM, to which a response had yet to be received. Because firms were afraid of being sanctioned by NAICOM, he acknowledged that this development had a detrimental impact on their respective businesses. As a result, providers were not paying fees on businesses generated by the impacted agents.
In light of the industry’s current predicament of low penetration, he pointed out that some agents have already left the insurance industry for more stable fields like real estate because they can’t handle the pressure. He pleaded with NAICOM to take action before the problem grew and drove away more agents who were responsible for driving the retail insurance sector of the market. If the current scenario continues, the very survival of this type of agent profession is at risk.
Regulator intervention is needed, require to avoid damage in the sector.
Furthermore, he affirmed that he has confidence in the current Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, and believes he has been the primary force behind the country’s growing market. All possible means of achieving this goal should be enabled. Presently, there is little difference between legitimate insurance agents and their fraudulent counterparts, making life difficult for licenced agents. Several of them have lost the businesses they were managing because they could not renew their licences. He emphasized that the sooner the regulator can interfere, the better for them.
Mr. Chinomso Eze, the national adviser for ARIAN, stated that the organization had written to NAICOM almost eight months earlier and is still waiting for a response. He also mentioned that the president of ARIAN had personally contacted the regulator on the matter. In a similar vein, the national treasurer of ARIAN, Jeremiah Okpako, acknowledged that the organization would be prepared for any involvement mandated by the regulator so long as it will fix the existing difficulties.
IPEN will assist ARIAN in increasing penetration.
Lastly, Mr. Chuks Udo Okonta, the president of IPEN, made a commitment that his organization will assist in its strategy to increase increase penetration in the nation. He also noted that in this regard, IPEN’s and ARIAN’s goals are complementary. While urging Insurance Agents of Nigeria to foster a fruitful media relationship with the new body as it carries out its civic responsibilities, he revealed that his organization was formed to revitalize coverage and pension reporting by giving greater attention to the problems faced and solutions found for insurance and pension service consumers.