The last few days were significant for the insurance industry, not only because it supported the federal government in the fight against Covid-19 like many other sectors did, but because its contribution was directly on frontline health workers who have through their role sacrificed their lives for the rest of us.
The contribution was the provision of free life insurance cover for 5000 frontline health workers on Covid-19, which will ensure that in the event of any death their families or dependants will be compensated.
This significant geniture was not taken for granted by the Federal Government, as President Mohammadu Buhari in his second national broadcast on Federal Government response on Covid-19 acknowledged and appreciated the support of the insurance industry in this fight, as significant.
President Buhari said “In keeping with our Government’s promise to improve the welfare of healthcare workers, we have signed a memorandum of understanding on the provision of hazard allowances and other incentives with key health sector professional associations. We have also procured insurance cover for 5,000 frontline health workers. At this point, I must commend the insurance sector for their support in achieving this within a short period of time”.
Sunday Olorunda Thomas, acting commissioner for Insurance who role in ensuring that the industry plays significant role in supporting government in this fight has not only displayed leadership quality, but has also shown that the industry have the capacity to contribute more to the economy.
Thomas said during a television interview that the insurance cover is meant for health workers that the insurance industry is sure of and can identify through government agencies saddled with responsibilities to tackle the pandemic.
He said the cover will enable families or named beneficiary of any medical doctors that dies in the line of duty to claim N3 million; Pharmacists/Nurses N2 million and others N1 million.
The premium which is in the sum of N112,500,000 for the cover has been fully paid by the Nigerian Insurance Industry in line with the principle of No Premium No Cover, stressing that a total of 19 Life Insurance companies have been accredited to provide the Cover.
He said the cover is for a period of 12 months effective April 14, 2020 and that in event of any fatality, the relevant agencies of government will immediately advise the lead underwriter.
The insurance industry players who expressed their excitement over the President’s commendation say they will be prepared to support more until the situation is completely arrested.
Tope Smart, chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), said they are happy that for the first time, their role is being appreciated, nothing that the recognition will further spur them to do more.
Smart said the sector has always played major roles in the economy but this is the first time they are getting a presidential recognition, stating that the industry will look forward to more partnership with the Federal Government in developing the country.
Eddie Efekoha, president, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria in his remarks lauded the Federal Government for its initiatives in combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus nationwide. He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his recognition of the contributions of the Insurance sector to the fight against the Covid- 19 virus.
Eddie Efekoha joined industry stakeholders in acknowledging the President’s compliments, stating that it was a thing of pride that the industry’s impact was being recognised by the highest level of governance in the country.
He attributed it to the collective hard work of all the stakeholders in the sector who have strived hard to ensure the industry is on the right path.
Efekoha also commended the Federal Government on its efforts to ensure that the country wins the fight against the corona virus which has beleaguered nations all over the world.
He said “We are thankful that the Government has not let up on its oars in trying to ensure that the lives of Nigerian citizens return to normal within the shortest possible time. This is indicated in the efforts they have made in terms of Health infrastructure and business stimulus packages since the spread of the pandemic began.
Addressing insurance professionals, Efekoha urged practitioners to live exemplary lives and equally show compassion in their dealings.
He said,” In times like this when we are tested on all fronts; we are urged to stay true to our beliefs as model professionals and compassionate beings. At all times, we are ambassadors of the noble profession of insurance and our actions should serve as a light to inspire and guide others.”
He stated that the Institute was remodelling its operations in the light of the current situation in order to stay true to its core duty of providing a development platform for the manpower needs of the insurance sector.