Inspenonline Media on Friday awarded seven insurance firms, one pension fund administrator and the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) for their contributions in the sectors and the economy.
The Award ceremony, which took place at the 2015 Nigerian Insurance & Pension Awards organised by Inspenonline Media in Lagos, saw Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited winning the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) of the Year award; FBNInsurance Limited, the 2015 Insurance Company of the Year, while its Managing Director, Mr. Val Ojumah was awarded the 2015 Inspenonline Insurance Man of the Year.
Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc got the Corporate Brand of the Year Award, even as Corporate Social Responsibility of the Year award went to Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc and Royal Exchange Plc.
Plum Insurance Brokers Limited went home with the Insurance Broker of the Year award, while the Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN), for the second year in a row, won the Best Professional Group of the Year Award, with Excellence Award going to Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), on behalf of Lagos State Government.
Speaking on the motive of the award, which started four years ago, the Editor, Inspenonline, Mr. Udo Chuks Okonta, said the award was designed to celebrate organisations and individuals who have helped to reshape activities in the insurance and pension industries and by extension, the economy.
This year award, according to him, was organised by setting high standards to judge the operation of companies and state governments that have helped to foster growth and developments in insurance and pension business operations.
To achieve this, he said his organisation gave the public the opportunity to select those to be celebrated by calling for votes.
To him, “Having harmonised the votes which came from different parts of the world, we benchmarked the scores with the set standard to arrive at the winners we are celebrating today. The award, which is in seven categories, had 25 nominees of which eight winners emerged, even as a state (Lagos) government was recognised for its contribution to the growth of pension business in the country.”
On the theme of the Award ceremony, which is ‘Robust Pension key to better life after work’, he said the topic was chosen to help proffer solutions to the challenges presently confronting the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in the country.
He said the Federal Government has accumulated over N140 billion pension liabilities in recent times, even as some states were unable to remit contributions for the past two years, whilst some private sector employers are finding it difficult to remit or embrace the scheme.
The Guest Speaker at the event, who is also the Director-General, Ondo State Pension Commission, Mr. Jaiyeola Olowosuko, said the Group/Life Insurance that workers enjoy while in service can also be implemented after service to make the CPS more robust, by amending the pension scheme to include a medical and insurance, so that the insurance takes care of them in their old age at a premium already paid while in service.
Proffering solutions to the challenges of the CPS, Olowosuko called on the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and respective employees to ensure the perfection of documents which must start a year before retirement, while the necessary documentations with PenCom should equally be done on time so that upon retirement, there is no delay for any retiree to access his or her pension entitlement.
According to him, “The necessary clearance with various employee should be done a week before Retirement. We have seen instances where a worker’s Retirement Savings Account (RSAs) is robust and yet 3 to 6 months after retiring, the money is not accessed. This is not good for life after service (working).”
He charged PFAs and PenCom to begin to think outside the box as well as partner with mortgage firms in a bid to build houses for contributors through their pension contributions.