By Henry Uche mercy4henryuc@gmail.com

The world is in a precarious state, as risks and hazards posed by recent events and incidents across the globe call for concerted effort for one to sit up and tighten the belts by embracing insurance as a shield to cushion the impact of any negative eventuality.

From his inaugural address, the new chairman of Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) Mr. Olusegun Ayo Omosehin, emphatically affirmed that “Partnerships and Stakeholders’ Engagement” is key to expanding the frontiers of Insurance. He vowed to tackle indiscipline in the sector and enjoined management of insurance companies to convert the myriads of trouble ravaging the world into opportunities to redefine and reposition themselves as partners for the prosperity of Nigeria, among other discourse hereunder.

Excerpts.

My state of mind as new NIA Chairman

I am very happy and grateful to God. It is a rare privilege and a great honour to lead the Association particularly at this time in our history as a nation. And I do not take it for granted.

NIA in retrospect

The Nigerian Insurers Association has come a long way and the modest achievements recorded over the past five decades have been made possible by the solid foundation laid by our founding fathers which has been sustained by successive leadership of the Association as well as the unflinching support and commitment of member-companies.

Tasks before insurers

Currently the country is caught in between the impact of a myriad of global issues ranging from supply chain disruptions, post-COVID-19 adjustments, talent and work-place evolution, and climate change; to local issues such as socio-political and economic downturn, escalating security challenges, inflationary pressures, volatile foreign exchange rates, and impact of catastrophic events (a good example is the current wave of floods across some parts of the country) amongst others. The outcome of all these is escalating risks: risk to our individual lives, businesses, and our future as an industry. Closely following that is the state of geo-political rivalries across the globe – Russia/ Ukraine war and its far-reaching implication on the global supply chain, energy prices, as well as people thousands of miles away; and socio-political issues – the case of the Headscarf death in Iran.

On the economic front, inflation is a global situation currently plaguing both developed and developing countries, the US has seen two consecutive quarters of economic contraction and the volatility facing most countries due to the strengthening of US dollar and other factors remain troubling.

What do you see in the midst of this precarious state of the world

In the midst all these are new opportunities, both globally and locally, open to us in infrastructure, healthcare, technology, agriculture, mining, power, education, and human capital management all with the potential to disrupt the trajectory of our lives and businesses forever. We should therefore take advantage of these opportunities, which has never been available at this scale and magnitude in decades, to redefine and reposition ourselves as a partner for the prosperity of our country.

I have stated earlier that as an industry, we have an opportunity to re-appraise the state of our industry and chart a new course for it. Moving intently from our brand image towards our brand identity. To strengthen it and to position ourselves to contribute more impactfuly towards the cultural and socio-economic development of our nation.

Mandate and advice to colleagues, others

As Insurers, together with our other counterparts in the financial services sector, we must be the catalyst that serve as the guardrails protecting the delivery of the future of Nigeria by supporting the innovative process in this new and changing world to deliver our prosperity. We have the tools. The dreams of innovators, of parents for their children, of aspiring businessmen seeking to change their world around them cannot continue to be truncated permanently by forces both known and/or unknown.

Strategies to reposition association

Our role remains clearly defined and yet to be fully occupied. By embracing the new and emerging world and the associated challenges, steer the ship of growth and innovation quickly to provide the buffer required for the economy to thrive, not impeding it by clinging on to the past. The change we seek must start with us as an industry. Resolving the current challenges will require thinking different and extraneous to what created these current challenges in the first place. Our ability to self-regulate and be bold and courageous in enforcing our market conducts is vital if we must take our rightful place amongst the pillars of economic growth and development in Nigeria.

How do you intend to hit the ground running  in this turbulent time?

We must understand the importance of protecting our collective dreams and aspirations and positioning ourselves appropriately to earn the trust of our nation. A lot of work has been done in this regard by successive leadership of the Association leading to national recognition for our industry, but much more is still required to be done. This will be trust earned through our demonstration of capacity, competence, integrity and conscientiousness.

You said, “Expanding the frontiers of Insurance through Partnerships and Stakeholders’ Engagement”  is the theme of your tenure, buttress.

Yes this broad theme shall focus on the four (4) key strategic areas:

1. Market Discipline, Market Development & Respect for Market Agreements.

During my tenure, we will collaborate with all players to enforce market discipline among member companies. As a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO), the Association works through the peer pressure to promote best practice among operators. We will work very hard as leaders of the Association to build trust and lead by example, so that some of the issues relating to soft market practices and general indiscipline in the market are promptly dealt with. We shall ensure adherence to high ethical standards for our market which has been the pillars upon which the association was formed. Specifically, NIA under my chairmanship will work with other stakeholders to: Ensure enforcement of all compulsory insurances through effective collaboration with relevant agencies..

Implement progressive market development initiatives and agreements.

Explore new areas of business collaboration to expand the market.

Collaborate with the regulatory community particularly our primary regulator, NAICOM, on market impacting regulations such as Risk-Based Supervision, among others

2. Another strategic area is Insurance Awareness & Partnership with the Media. We know that insurance awareness level is still very low among the populace. I will work with all stakeholders to increase the awareness campaigns so that we can have more people in the insurance net.

We will actively pursue the insurance awareness and publicity project under the auspices of the Insurers’ Committee. We invite all stakeholders in the insurance industry to join us in this journey as we seek to entrench insurance culture and expand the dragnet in line with the central theme. We shall be deliberate in forging a stronger partnership with the Media to significantly improve the image of the insurance industry in Nigeria and ultimately increase insurance awareness.

3. Human Capacity Building:

In other to serve the market better and respond to the dynamics of a changing world, we will explore training opportunities to build capacity in critical areas of insurance business. We need to invest in human capital across the industry, embrace talent that would be beneficial to our core objective. We need to grow our talent pool from within and embrace openness in our industry. We shall partner in building actuarial capacity for the overall benefit of the market.

We are faced with security challenges such as kidnapping, banditry and outright terrorism. We are also contending with the after-effects of climate change such as flooding and related risks. We will take learnings from other markets that have the requisite experience in these areas of insurance business to improve our underwriting practices in these critical areas. 

4. Leverage Technology, Digital & Innovation:

The time has come for the industry to be deliberate in our investment in technology and innovation. Specifically, we shall seek to leverage all the advantages that technology would provide in our quest to improve accessibility, affordability, adequacy, awareness and the availability of the right insurance products and services to the right customer. 

We shall embrace openness and willingness to collaborate with intra and extra-industry stakeholders (including Fintechs, Insuretechs, etc.) to drive customer centric models for penetrating the market. We shall upgrade the digital capabilities of the NIA Secretariat to meet and respond to the growing demands of our public. All these should culminate in Product and Process Innovation that meets our customers’ multi-dimensional needs.

How prepared are you for challenges?

We must bear in mind that the world has evolved and so has our country. The ways and means of our economy, business environment, social fabric, norms, and communication. Whilst this provides massive opportunities for us, it also means that risk profiles have evolved. If we are to serve it adequately, we must evolve along – in our thinking, in our approach and in our intent.

Other ways to tackle insurance challenges 

We will maximum support and cooperation of other key industry stakeholders including the industry NAICOM, the Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB); the Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN), and others, in achieving our goal of a prosperous insurance industry.

Synergy plan

We shall work closely with the regulator, NAICOM, in all areas, particularly in unpacking solutions that works for a developing market like Nigeria and in ensuring compliance with all extant regulations that will promote the growth and development of our industry. I promise to work closely with other stakeholders including the government to maximize the benefits derivable from the provisions of the Insurance Act 2003 and other related legislations. We shall invite other trade groups to join hands with the NIA for us to have a coordinated approach to resolving issues.

Meeting policyholders expectations

We shall encourage members to deploy innovation to increase acceptability, accessibility, availability, adequacy and affordability of insurance products and services. Because only then can we fulfil our promise of protecting the lives and dreams of our customers.

Your pledge to insuring public

I can assure that the flag shall continue to fly higher under my administration. My tenure would build on the legacies of my predecessor and focus more on areas that require improvements. All I ask for is from all stakeholders, encouragement, and prayers as we embark on this journey. Together we shall take the insurance industry to greater heights!

The post With our 4 strategic goals, we’ll revamp insurance industry–Omosehin, NIA new Chairman vows appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

Source: news