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How N323 billion annuity business affects underwriting

Underwriting companies in the nation’s insurance industry are cutting down on their uptake of N323 billion annuity business as they now considered it volatile and susceptible to inflation trends.

Investigations revealed that three life underwriting companies had drastically reduced their uptake of annuity and had resolved to focus more on retail operations.

This showed that payout on annuity is eating deep into the capital of the said companies, as one of them lamented that annuity business has forced the organisation to post negative results for over two financial years.

Another company said paying annuitants for life has not been favourable to its operations, adding that inflation often wipes out the premium paid by annuitants.

This development seem to be coming at a time the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) is imploring retirees to embrace annuity as a way of staying happy and guaranteeing steady income in retirement.

The unhealthy development will also affect members of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUCN), whom some of their leaders have being encouraging to take annuity, against programmed withdrawal, because of the payment structure, which allowed annuitants received pension benefits as long as they live.

According to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the insurance sector life annuity fund portfolio stood at about N323 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2019.

The information, which was revealed by the Head, Commissioner for Insurance Directorate, NAICOM, Rasaaq Salami, showed that the figure represented a growth of 17.46 per cent compared to that of 2018, which was N 275 billion.

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“Within the same period under focus, the cumulative total Retiree Life Annuity (RLA) payouts stood above ₦122 billion as at end of the second quarter of 2019,” he said.

According to him, the RLA market has been in existence since the advent of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

Salami said the RLA portfolio has recorded 73,554 contracts purchased for a total premium of ₦342 billion as at end of the second quarter of 2019.

“This depicts 13.02 per cent and 6.21 per cent growth in count and volume, respectively, ” he said.

The growth during the last three years for RLA business, he said, averaged 34.28 per cent and 35.12 per cent in count and volume respectively.

He noted that the RLA fund portfolio growth averaged 27.46 per cent, notwithstanding the RLA cumulative total payments of N122 billion.

“The graph of the annuity payouts, premium receipts and portfolio fund balance depicts a clear representation as the difference between the cumulative premium amounts received and fund balance is small compared to the cumulative annuity payouts earlier stated.

“The above indicates growth in the RLA business and a positive future outlook for the business in Nigeria, ” he said.

The RLA is an insurance product and one of the available retirement benefit options for retirees.
The product can be purchased from a Life Insurance Company licensed by the NAICOM and authorised to sell RLA under the regulation of retiree life annuity.

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