32 state governors have failed to insure about three million civil servants working in their states, LEADERSHIP can exclusively reveal.
To this end, the 32 states have no concrete group life insurance cover for civil servants in their respective states. This means that the families of the civil servants in the 32 states would be left to their own fate in the case of deaths of any of the workers, as they are not entitled to death benefits claims, meant to sustain the bereaved after the death of their loved ones.
A document recently released by the National Pension Commission(PenCom) listed the affected states to include: Jigawa, Ogun, Kaduna, Delta, Zamfara, Kano, Imo, Kebbi, Sokoto, Ekiti, Kogi, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Oyo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and Edo States.
Others are; Ondo, Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Cross Rivers, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Taraba, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Adamawa States. Findings show that Kano and Lagos States have the highest State workforce with about 152, 000 and 143,000 workers respectively, while other states have in the region of 100,000 workers each.
Market observers said non-adherence to this provision is exposing the families of their workers to imminent danger should anything happens to workers in the concerned states.
Group life cover is a joint regulation of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and PenCom. Section 9 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2004 (now PRA 2014) requires every employer, to which the Act applies, to maintain Life Insurance Policy in favour of the employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee. The policy provides cover to the insured against death.
However, with PRA 2014 failing to prescribe sanctions for defaulters, state governments have cashed on this by evading life insurance of civil servants, especially, with some of them struggling to pay salaries of their workers.
LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that life insurance companies have visited some of the defaulting states to persuade them to buy group life cover for their employees, but it seems most of them are not ready to bear this financial responsibility.
To this end, Lagos, Niger, Osun and Rivers States are the only four states that have so far implemented the group life insurance scheme.
Speaking on this development, director-general, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mrs. Yetunde Ilori said, unfortunately, what the PRA 2014 prescribes is that any employer who fails to insure his employees under group life cover, should be a carrier of his own risk, hence, there is no compulsion.
She said this makes enforcement difficult, calling for a review of this section to make it compulsory on all employers of labour, including, state governments to put in place, group life cover for their workers.
While applauding PenCom for trying to enforce this provision through issuance of compliant certificates to complying employers as well as persuading federal government to make it one of the requirements to bid for federal government’s contracts, she said, different states have been approached by life insurance firms, but nothing much came out of this engagement.
According to her, “Yes, different states have been approached by life insurers, but the enforcement is not like that of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), because it just says that where there is no group life put in place, should there be any death, such employer should take up the responsibilities. I think that is an aspect that should be reviewed.”
On his part, director, Centre for Pension Right Advocacy (CPRA), Mr. Ivor Takor, charged the unions in the public sector to rise up to the plight of the state workers by compelling these state governments to insure the lives of their workers. While fighting for salary increment, he said, the pension and insurance packages of workers should also be utmost.
“it is now obvious to everybody that the state governors cannot do anything for the welfare of the workers unless they are compelled to do it. So, if the public sector unions don’t get up and ensure they implement these things, those states will not do anything,”
Former minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had said life insurance holds the key to wise financial planning and is panacea for poverty among Nigerians at all levels including grassroots dwellers.