Fifty Seven insurance companies in Nigeria have said that intervention so far made by the industry in support of fight against COVID-19 was voluntary and part of industry Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, already incorporated in their humanitarian intervention practice since inception.
The Companies were distressed by allegations that they are being compelled to contribute N10 million each towards the fight against Coronavirus pandemic, while every year they vote money under CSR to support the system.
The companies under the umbrella body of the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) said the claim that their regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) compelled them to make the donation was only put in public domain to embarrass the insurance industry.
NIA Chairman, Mr. Tope Smart who made this known in an interview with journalists expressed sadness over the report.
Smart who is also the Managing Director of NEM Insurance Plc, explained that the association decided to align with the private sector to support the efforts and initiatives of the Presidential Task Force, State Governments, Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to contain the spread by contributing to a fund to provide N1 million life insurance cover and procure testing kits and protective materials for the use of medical personnel saddled with the responsibility to the tune of about N100 million.
He said: “What happened is that we called a press briefing where we announced that we are providing N1 million free life insurance cover for each health personnel and allied professionals in the country who are attending to victims of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and also procure testing kits, protective materials worth over N100 million.
“But the Acting Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas later called us that the Commission would want to join us to boost our plan, by also making contributing to the fund that we have set aside in other to increase the benefits provided under the planned scheme.
“We welcome the development and at that point, we allowed the Commission to take the lead. We were happy that it then became an industry based project where other stakeholders in the industry can join the NIA”.
He noted that on their part, they had earlier agreed to intervene in two folds.
“We had arrangements to procure testing kits and protective materials for the use of medical personnel saddled with this responsibility. The materials were to be delivered to the NCDC.
“Also in line with our profession as risk managers, we agreed as an association to arrange a special life insurance cover for all health personnel and allied professionals who are attending to victims of COVID-19. We decided to provide Death and Permanent disability benefits to the frontline staff who are exposed to a lot of risks”, he added.