Nigerian underwriters have continued to experience a boom in the real estate sector as investment in industry increased by N5 billion from N98.11 billion to N103.51 billion within a period of one year.
According to the balance sheets prepared by the regulator, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), five underwriting firms failed to pick interest in the blossoming real estate sector, while Mutual Benefits Assurance has the least investment therein with N56 million.
New Telegraph’s findings revealed that a total of 43 firms invested in various assets including real state, equipment, goodwill, government, short term investment, shares related companies, among others.
Details, however, revealed that Axa Mansard, Zenith General Insurance Company Limited, Regency Insurance Plc, Goldlink and Cornerstone shunned the real estate sector in their investment spread.
According to the breakdown, Anchor Insurance Co. Limited invested N970 million; Consolidated Hallmark, N809.22 million; Custodian and Allied, N3.08 billion; Equity Assurance, N301.40 million; Fin Insurance, N 494 million; Guinea Insurance N1.57 billion; International Energy Insurance, N2.35 billion; KBL, N2.093 billion; Law Union and Rock, N1.37 billion; Linkage Assurance, N92 million; Mutual Benefits, N56 million and NEM Insurance, N442.55 million.
Others are Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Corporation, N4.01billion; FBN, N105 million; Old Mutual General, N988.77 million; Prestige Assurance N2.28 billion; Royal Exchange Assurance, N3.74 billion; Sovereign Trust, N1.18 billion; Staco, N1.52 billion; Standard Alliance, N1.30 billion; Sterling Assurance, N1.06 billion; Universal Insurance, N1.79 billion; Saham Unitrust, N321.49 million; Wapic Insurance N539.93 million, and Unitykapital, N676.20 million.
The list also includes NSIA Insurance, N1.14 billion; AIICO, N990 million; Great Nigerian Insurance, N4.56 billion; Industrial and General Insurance, N15.91billion; Lasaco, N3.34 billion; Leadway, N3.13 billion; NICON, N18.37 billion; Niger, N1.92 billion, and Ensure, N2.42 billion.
Besides, the two indigenous reinsurance firms also invested a total of N18,53 billion in real estate with Continental Reinsurance putting in N2.86 billion while Nigeria Reinsurance committed N15.66 billion into the assets.
NAICOM recently resolved to undertake a verification of the capital resources and assets of all insurance companies in the country in order to ascertain their capital adequacy for the protection of policyholders and other stakeholders.
The commission highlighted issues and requirements that will occupy its time as part of the re-launch process of the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) with special and intensified implementation efforts on enforcement of Compulsory Insurance; diversification of distribution channels; increase in access points for insurance services, micro insurance, Takaful insurance; improvement in data collection as well as promotion of financial literacy.
It noted that verifying the assets of the operators would enable it ensure protection of policyholders and beneficiaries of insurance contracts against unexpected losses of insurance companies, adding that the exercise had become necessary because since the last recapitalisation exercise in 2007, the business environments and the risk profile of all insurance institutions have changed.
“It will entail a verification of the assets and liabilities of all insurance companies. In preparation for this, boards are advised to ensure fairness in valuation of assets and liabilities of their companies when presenting the financial statements for the year ending December 31,, 2016.
“All Professionals that participate in the financial reporting supply chain are expected to ensure their duties in the valuation of assets and liabilities and issuance of opinion on financial reports are discharged creditably in accordance with relevant laws and professional standards,” said NAICOM.
It also lamented the level of expenses of some insurance institutions, saying it was becoming a cause for concern.
“The commission will expect each board to take definite steps to ensure reasonableness of its company’s expenses by ensuring that they are incurred wholly and necessarily for the purpose of the business. Evidence of action in this regard should feature in the minutes of board meetings,” the regulator added.