Loss adjusters have been well captured as the face of the insurance industry. The name fits because the image of loss adjusting sprouts each time claims processing and payment is in the works.
It is apt to say that loss adjusting takes a chunk of the dots whenever the imaging technics of insurance is activated. Loss adjusters input coalesce to form the ultimate low, medium or high resolution of the image of insurance.
That face of insurance, the loss adjuster, warehoused by a body known as the Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), needs urgent face lift according to some notable insurance professionals. These majors in the insurance and broking outfits are united in the need for deliberate action by the principal (insurance companies) to erect new scaffold to upgrade the claim engine structure and make the loss adjusters regain the lost landmark.
The state of loss adjusting in Nigeria took a centre stage at the second webinar organised by First Law & Impact Consulting Limited, and two frontline operators called for industry approach to address the issue at stake. First, was the managing director, SCIB Insurance Brokers Limited, Mr. Shola Tinubu. He has consistently canvassed the view that adjusters deserved better deal than is currently offered to them by insurance companies. He inferred that the spill in the adjusters space is hampering its smooth and optimum operation. This sustained incident, confines the adjusters to less prominent point in the industry. Tinubu said this ought not to be so because the professionals that turn the wheel of quick process of claims are the loss adjusters.
The SCIB helmsman said loss adjusters are an integral part of claims process and payment and a major component of the industry. However, he said they are not visible in the insurance space, “they are actually relegated.” Coming up close he said: “It’s really a major issue. We need them they are part of the claim space.”
Tinubu speaks more on the loss adjusters, by pointing out that they do the interpretation of policy wordings and meet with clients. Explaining further, he said, “They are the face of insurance once the major and complex types of claims come in or any claim that is investigated by them.”
He therefore, advised the industry to review their relationship with adjusters. “Unless we deal with that, we are not going to get the kind of confidence in the system that we want.”
The group managing director, Custodian Investment Plc, Mr. Wole Oshin, shares the same view, saying that underwriters cannot replace loss adjusters or be able to express professionalism the way an adjuster would in making a report.
Oshin said despite adjusters role in closing the investigation gap in claims processing, they have lost ground in the insurance space and “they truly have to come back” pointing out that loss adjusters “were right there” making impact in the past and that cannot be overlooked.
He did not mince words to describe how significant but impaired loss adjusters have become. “Their reports were gospel and they played a major role in terms of claims investigation and made sure claims were paid. That profession is actually endangered and it is a space that we all have to work on.”
The president, Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria, ILAN, Mr. Reginald Egbuniwe, shared the same space with Oshin and Tinubu, in addressing the undulating space loss adjuster have been relegated to.
Egbuniwe, who is the managing director at Grand Metropolitan Associates, peered into the horizon of failed attempts to address the adjusters falling professional remuneration since the current one was signed with the insurers body, the Nigerian Insurers Association in 1992, well over a quarter of a century, and no deal yet in sight.
Still on the memory lane, ILAN president rolled back the years and remarked that, “ILAN has used any and every opportunity to remind insurers that they cannot develop the industry without a fee review that is acceptable to both parties.”
“Earlier attempts by ILAN had been stoutly resisted, however leading insurers recognise the need for a fee structure review but appear to have their hands tied to lack of NIA consensus on going forward with this. Nevertheless, ILAN will keep on bringing this issue to insurers attention,” he insisted.
However, he noted that “there are insurers that have a reputation for paying fees promptly and these few were already settling claims inclusive of fees without prompting from the regulator.”