Lagos, Nigeria December 17, 2019 – Foremost Underwriter, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance (CHI Plc) has received approval-in-principle from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to operate CHI Micro Insurance Limited, a new Micro Life Assurance subsidiary.
The positive development is coming on the heels of a recent disclosure by the company’s Chairman, Mr. Obinna Ekezie, to shareholders during the Extra Ordinary General Meeting held to approve additional capital raise for the Company, that the Micro Insurance subsidiary is scheduled to commence full operations in the first Quarter of the year 2020.
He had told the shareholders who gathered to approve the additional capital raise plan of the Company that “the CHI Microinsurance Limited is on the verge of being granted an operational license by NAICOM, after having met all the regulatory requirements and paid the statutory deposit to the Central Bank of Nigeria”.
With the approval by NAICOM, the Micro Insurance Life subsidiary is thus set for full operations. This approval is considered a demonstration of confidence by NAICOM in the capacity of CHI Plc to successfully operate a Micro Life Assurance business, having successfully delivered on its General Insurance business line.
Responding to the positive development, the Managing Director/CEO of CHI Plc, Mr. Eddie Efekoha, who doubles as the current President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), said the operational license would further help in the effort to deepen the retail segment of the insurance market. “We are set to take off”, he said, “having put in place a robust network of retail and agency team that have contributed and continue to contribute immensely to the growth of the parent company. The future is in retail business and micro insurance if we are to reach the mass of the Nigerian people with quality, reliable and affordable insurance solutions. This low-income segment has remained largely untapped and we are ready to give it our best shot”.
According to Efekoha, the business office for the microinsurance company has since been acquired and ready for occupation by the new team. The business will leverage on technology and strategic partnerships to give its customers an exciting insurance services experience.
Micro insurance is defined as the type of insurance developed for the low-income segment of the population. Such insurance is expected to be low valued with simple features, easy to understand and whose delivery/distribution channels must be efficient. The Insurance Industry Regulator, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) had in 2018 released a set of Guidelines for Micro Insurance Operation in Nigeria. The document clearly set out various steps for registration of micro insurance operators, and their modus operandi.
In order to ensure a more extensive reach amongst the population especially at the grassroot level, the regulator classified the operators into three categories – unit (local) state and national operators. Minimum Capital Base for Micro Insurance Operators was pegged at N15m for Life operators at the Unit level and N25m for General Business operators while N200m and N400m minimum Capital Base was fixed for Life and General Business operators respectively at the national level. These are part of efforts by NAICOM to boost insurance penetration through as many Micro Insurers as possible that are expected to operate in the over 700 local government areas of the country. With the ostensibly affordable capital requirement, – there is an envisaged departure from the current concentration of underwriters in a few urban areas with focus on big ticket transactions and move into the hinterlands.
The maximum sum insured for any policy being underwritten by the micro insurance operators is pegged at N2m while time limit for payment of fully documented claims is 48 hours, according to the guidelines.
With the approval by NAICOM to commence operations, CHI Micro Insurance Limited is set to deepen the insurance penetration by ensuring that those who had never considered themselves able to afford an insurance cover can now do so. The insurance premium can be as low as N1,000 to upwards of N5,000. The products will be tailored to meet the needs of the customers.
Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, the parent company, has already established itself as a company that delivers on its promises and pay claims promptly. This same high quality customer fulfilment will be extended through its new CHI Micro Insurance Limited, life assurance subsidiary.