The House of Representatives has beaten the executive to come up with a far reaching insurance bill. The bill which has commenced the legislative process was presented as a private member’s bill by Rep Darlington Nwokocha, chairman, House Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters.
The introduction of what is designated, Insurance Bill 2020, which incorporates some new clauses, as well as revisions to existing clauses, was in the form of stealth appearance. Insurance professionals only got to know after the second reading at the National Assembly. Following after, the various arms of the industry assembled to digest the bill now in the works and try to influence it to suit its operations without sacrificing the interests of others.
The insurance operators, Businesspost.com.ng gathered, after getting information on the Insurance Bill 2020, directed further enquiries to the National Insurance Commission. The purpose, to get further adequate brief on the bill, and were aptly informed that the bill is a private member’s bill. The operators were told that the bill is without input from the regulator. At least, up and until the time operators made moves to know the genesis of the bill which is different from the Consolidated Insurance Bill. It would be recalled that the Commission had finished work on the draft bill to be known as Consolidated Insurance Bill and exposed it to the operators for further inputs.
The stakeholders were jolted that instead of the executive bill, a private member’s bill is in the burner. It was not within their scope of expectation. The regulator and operators had endorsed a Consolidated Insurance Bill, after far reaching inputs were made by the various trade bodies encapsulating their view of a robust insurance legislation. With all that preparation concluded, it was set for presentation to the National Assembly. However, executive indecision seem to have branded the bill unqualified for legislature drill and therefore, loosing the steam of urgency it needed to berth at legislature chamber. With the new development, it was gathered that the Commission would take advantage of the bill to ferry the new layers of paid up share capital for insurance and reinsurance companies to recapitalise, into the bill originating from the House. Besides lifting and inserting the new paid up share capital into the new bill, NAICOM will decide to kill several birds with one stone, by submitting several sections of the regulator/industry crafted own bill that are missing in the House initiated bill and, lobby that they be included in the bill under legislative process currently. The recapitalisation exercise is now ongoing, and compliance is in phases.
The private member’s sponsored bill has now moved to the committee stage and the various arms of the industry will be at the National Assembly for scheduled public hearing on the bill on 14th and 15th of December 2020.
The Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria says the president Mr. Reginald Egbuniwe, is set to present its submissions to the House committee. It’s the House that has mid-wifed the up and until now 124 sections insurance bill.
In his narrative of the bill, Egbuniwe said: “A new insurance bill which has come into existence as a private member’s bill has recently undergone its second reading at the National Assembly. This bill designated, the Insurance Bill 2020, incorporates some new clauses, as well as revisions to existing clauses.”
The loss adjusters delegation to Abuja as part of the insurance industry bricks to build the platform to influence the legislative process, was captured in the ILAN’ president report at the AGM: “Your council has reviewed the new bill and is presenting a submission before the National Assembly to defend revisions made by Council which reflect our desire to be recognised and protected within the new Act.”
The National Assembly said the bill seeks to make comprehensive legal framework for the regulation and supervision of all manner of insurance businesses in Nigeria. It also seeks to repeal:
a) Insurance Act Cap 117, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004
b) Marine Insurance Act, Cap IV13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004
c) Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance Act), Cap M22, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
d) National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria Act, Cap N54, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and
e) Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation Act, Cap N131, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
However, the referred to, more frequently, called, Consolidated Insurance Bill, a proposed executive bill, a joint effort by the National Insurance Commission and the trade associations of the insurance market, is still hibernating in the proposed bills file of the Federal Ministry of Finance, after the insurance industry has finished making input, preparatory for onward transmission to the National Assembly by the executive through the National Insurance Commission.