The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has given insurance firms in the country one more year to meet the recapitalisation obligation that was recently set for them.
Apparently, it became imperative for NAICOM to set a new deadline for the recapitalisation process, considering how the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the activities of most companies, including the insurers. Bloomberg quoted the insurance regulator to have said that “the incidences of COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult to proceed with the Dec. 31, 2020 recapitalization deadline.”
In the meantime, the insurance companies are expected to meet at least half of the capital requirements by the end of 2020. The final deadline to fully recapitalise is September 2021.
Recall that Nairametrics had reported in April about NAICOM considering the extension of the recapitalisation deadline. Now, it has finally happened. And this is the third time an extension has been implemented since the recapitalisation programme was first announced in May 2019. Prior to this time, NAICOM had extended it from June 30th, 2020 to December 31st, 2020.
The recapitalisation programme is requiring life insurance firms to meet a minimum paid-up capital of N8.0 billion, up from N2.0 billion previously. In the same vein, general insurance companies are required to raise their minimum paid-up capital to N10.0 billion from N3.0 billion previously.
The regulatory capital for composite insurance was raised to N18.0 billion from N5.0 billion previously while reinsurance businesses are now required to have a minimum capital of N20.0 billion from a previous N10.0 billion.
Insurance companies have been struggling to meet these requirements. There were also wide-spread speculations over possible mergers/acquisitions in the insurance sector. At the moment, only the top insurance firms have been able to meet the capital requirements. The deadline extension is, therefore, expected to help them comply.