Infraction: Underwriters Pay N665.7m Fine To NSE, NAICOM

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Financial fines on insurance companies over infraction have risen to N665.70 million in the last five years following the recent one imposed on 12 of these firms by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for failure to forward their financial details before the stipulated deadline. These fines cover between 2011 and 2015.

According to the NSE X-Compliance Report dated 15 April 2016, 12 insurance companies were recently made to pay an estimated N42.1 million for failure to meet the deadline.

The penalties are for failure to file 2013, 2014 and 2015 financial statements after the regulatory due date.

Some of the insurance companies penalised include Linkage Assurance, Niger Insurance, Lasaco Assurance, Regency Insurance, GNI, African Alliance Insurance and Universal Insurance.

According to the breakdown, Great Nigeria Insurance Plc topped the list of offenders with N16.9 million for failing to file its December 2013 and 2014 results as well as first, second and third quarter results for 2015.

Linkage Assurance Plc was fined N900,000 for December 2014. LASACO Assurance Plc got N400, 000 and was also placed on the watch list of firms operating Below the Listing Standard of the NSE for Non-Rendition of Audited Financial Statements in 2015.

Equity Assurance Plc was fined N600,000.

Others are Guinea Insurance Plc, N7.6 million for first, second, third quarters of 2015 and December 2014 results, while African Alliance Insurance Plc was fined N4.2 million for December 2013.

Also, Universal Insurance Plc got a fine of N5.3 million, while Regency Insurance and NEM insurance were fined N700,000 and N300,000 respectively. Likewise, Staco

Insurance Plc, which got N700,000 and Niger Insurance Plc – N700,000.

Not left out is Mutual Benefit Assurance Plc, which was fined N3.8 million for non-payment of December 2013 and 2014 as well as the half-year result for 2015.

It was also placed under the category of firms that fell short of the minimum listing standards in terms of timely disclosure of their audited annual financial performance and operating or operated Below the Listing Standards (BLS) for Non-Rendition of Audited Financial Statements 2015.

Statistics from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) earlier revealed that between 2011 and 2014, it received about N543.69millio as fines from insurance companies for various infractions of laid down regulations and professional misconduct.

The imposition of fines and other penalties by the commission are some of the measures put in place to ensure that the operators perform optimally to the satisfaction of the policyholders and as well as contributing immensely to the growth of the economy.

The Deputy Commissioner, Finance and Administration, NAICOM, Mr. George Onekhena, had affirmed that the commission had improved the risk-based supervision approach to ensure that companies complied with its rules and regulations.

“Some insurance companies have paid fines totalling about N543.69million for various offences over a period of time,” he said.

According to the commission’s record, the companies paid N81.3million and N206.57million in 2011 and 2012, while the 2013 account and 2014 unaudited report showed that they paid N170.52milion and N85.29million, respectively.

It would be recalled that SEC had also received not less than N80 million from some operators of quoted insurance over delay in forwarding their details to the stock market regulatory body.

Onekhena noted that the companies were, however, complaining of too much supervision, incessant checks on their books and fines by the commission.

He said NAICOM will not tolerate any form of irregularities in the books of insurance companies, adding that in extreme cases, it had taken over the management of a few of them as part of its regulatory functions.

Shareholders in the sector recently expressed their disgust over the fines.

Describing the regulatory institutions as heartless and inconsiderate, they urged them to return the monies so far collected from various insurance companies to them.

The shareholders said it was unjustified for the regulatory bodies to be collecting such huge amounts of money without realising that it belongs to shareholders, who are mostly retirees struggling to survive in face of the prevailing harsh economy.

They lamented that about N128 million had been paid as fine by the company to NAICOM and other regulators in the sector as a result of the company’s regulatory guidelines offences.

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