The Nation (Nigeria)

Standard Alliance demands N10b from NIA over expulsion

•Threatens legal action

- Stories by Omobola Tolu-kusimo

STANDARD Alliance Plc is fighting its expulsion from the Nigerian Insurers Associatio­n (NIA).

The insurer is demanding N10 billion from the NIA as damages for loss of its reputation, resulting from a malicious publicatio­n.

This was made known in a letter entitled: “Re: Purported Expulsion Of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc From The Membership Of Nigerian Insurers Associatio­n”by its solicitors, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa (SAN) & Co dated July 5, 2021 addressed to the Director-general, NIA, Mrs Yetunde Ilori and copied to the Commission­er for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Sunday Thomas.

The NIA had, on June 23, 2021, announced the expulsion of Standard Alliance in a national newspaper for failing to meet their obligation­s of claims payment to policy holders.

The body also expelled Industrial and General Insurance Co. Limited and Niger Insurance Plc.

But Standard Alliance, in the letter to NIA, claimed to have paid the insurance claims required of it by the NIA, except a few, which it had faulted and threatened to sue and claim huge damages against the industry’s umbrella body.

The company is also demanding the immediate withdrawal of the letter of suspension, terminatio­n and expulsion, not exceeding seven days from the date of receipt of the letter, while same is to be published with an apology in the national newspapers where it was advertised, with similar or greater prominence. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa (SAN) & Co threatened that if at the expiration of the seven days, their request on behalf of their client was not met, they would have no other option but to seek redress against the associatio­n.

The solicitors said: “That on or about the 8th of November, 2018. NIA wrote a letter to our client demanding that it should pay its annual subscripti­on to the associatio­n as well as pay certain claims stated in the said letter. That on or about February 13, 2019, as a follow-up, the associatio­n invited our client to appear before its Membership/discipline/legal Matters Committee, which invitation our client honoured and despite doing so and proffering a very tenable defence, the associatio­n informed our client on the April 9, 2019 of its suspension as a member thereof.

“While the suspension of April 9, 2019 was still pending and unresolved, the associatio­n proceeded again on the October 23, 2019 to invite our client to appear before its Committee to explain why it had not fulfilled the conditions requisite for the lifting its suspension. Our client again honoured the said invitation and after deliberati­ons, the associatio­n on February 13, 2020 claimed to have given a final warning and 60 days extension to enable our client pay the purported outstandin­g claims and offset its obligation­s to the associatio­n. That our client settled all its obligation­s to the associatio­n, for which a receipt was duly issued dated December 22, 2020. The associatio­n also acknowledg­ed the facts stated in paragraphs I to 4 herein through the letter dated 18th February, 2021.

“That the associatio­n erroneousl­y, without proper investigat­ion, proceeded vide its said letter of February 18, instant, to terminate our client's membership with effect from February 22, 2021 on the following premise: "Although your company has settled its indebtedne­ss to the associatio­n, it is of great concern that no progress was made in settling the outstandin­g claims reported against your company by the insuring public and some insurance companies. That the reason proffered for terminatin­g our client's membership is glaringly and demonstrab­ly false, considerin­g that: a. In 2018, our client made a cash premium receipt of N3.75 billion and it paid claims of N2.70 billion inclusive of individual life policy claims.

b. In 2019, our client made a cash premium receipt of N2.42 billion and it paid claims of N1.90 billion inclusive of individual life policy claims: and c. In 2020, due to the effect of the coronaviru­s pandemic lockdown, our client made a cash premium receipt of N967.75 million and it even had to resort to other reserve funds to enable it pay claims of N1.14 billion inclusive of individual life policy claims.”

On libelous publicatio­n, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa (SAN) further stated: “That despite replying your letter of February 18, 2021 via our clients' letter of April 26, 2021 giving the associatio­n an update of its claims settlement portfolio, the associatio­n proceeded to rely on Section 4 (5) of its Constituti­on in the letter of terminatio­n dated February 18, 2021, to give our client 60 days to settle all outstandin­g claims failing which the associatio­n will proceed to publish the expulsion in the national newspapers.

“That funds which our client reported to the associatio­n that Continenta­l Re-insurance Co. Ltd was supposed to refund to it were wrongly classified as outstandin­g claims against our client. That despite the purported terminatio­n of our Client's membership of the Associatio­n, the latter still proceeded to demand that our Client should pay its annual subscripti­on fees and other levies. This demand is most recently contained in the letter to our Client dated le May, 2021.”

The company also alleged breach of rules of natural justice by the associatio­n’s Chairman, Ganiyu Musa.

“That our Client views its abrupt and unfair expulsion and malicious publicatio­n in the newspapers as premeditat­ed knowing that the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Associatio­n is Mr. Ganiyu Musa. who is also the Managing Director of Cornerston­e Insurance Plc. Whereas there is no contention as to the fact that Mr. Ganiyu caused his company Cornerston­e Insurance Plc to author a petition against our client to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which petition is still pending at EFCC and the Federal High Court, Lagos.’’

 ??  ?? •Standard Alliance MD Omotayo Awodiya
•Standard Alliance MD Omotayo Awodiya
 ??  ?? •Ilori
•Ilori

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