NAICOM boss challenges NIA leadership on critical changes to drive insurance business

The Commissioner for Insurance /CEO, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Olorundare Sunday Thomas, has challenged the new leadership of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) to draw out strategies that will bring critical changes to drive insurance business in the country.

In his key note address at the Investiture ceremony of Olusegun Omosehin, the 25,the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) held in Lagos, said that God grants him the grace and wisdom to lead his team to build on and expectedly, surpass the achievements of his predecessors in office.

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Specifically, he challenges the new leadership on the vexed issues of settlement of claims.

Besides, the new team to deploy the principle of self-regulation, to take a critical look into this and other similar issues that are capable of remarketing the industry.

He told them “As we are all aware, the Insurance industry still has a long way to go to attain the desired position it should be occupying in the circle of the financial services sector. I must say that I have no doubt in the ability and capacity of the new leadership at the NIA to work with other arms of the industry to deliver on this long held aspiration.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we are here this evening to celebrate, wine and dine with Omosehin and his team as the new leaders of NIA and therefore, this is not a forum for long speeches. That notwithstanding, I may want to assist the new chairman in his agenda-setting by challenging him and his team with some areas of thought.

We are not unmindful of the challenges operators in the industry have had to contend with in adapting to drastic changes that are designed to accelerate development and growth of insurance business. The current dynamic socio-political and economic environment in the country obviously calls for realignment by all stakeholders to tackle these inherent challenges. There is the need for a firm handshake with all arms to engender fruitful collaborations and cooperation for the collective interest of all.

I want to also challenge the new leadership on the vexed issues of settlement of claims. I urge the new leadership to deploy the principle of self regulation to take a critical look into this and other similar issues that are capable of demarketing the industry.

You will all agree with me that though the sector is beginning to experience improvement in terms of patronage and claims payout, the perception of the industry by majority of the public is still not what it should be. This is unacceptable and it is high time we changed the narrative collectively as an industry. We must all see this business as an interest that we must all protect and I again challenge the new leadership of the NIA to take on this task.

In his inaugural speech, the NIA boss said “In the light of the foregoing, I have chosen the theme of my tenure as: Expanding the frontiers of Insurance through Partnerships and Stakeholders’ Engagement.
Under this broad theme, we shall focus on the following four (4) key strategic areas:

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 Organization (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, the 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.

Insurance Awareness & Partnership with the Media. There is no doubt that we are convinced 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. To this end, 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.

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. Today, 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.

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.
– 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.
– 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.

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.
I want to acknowledge that we will need the maximum support and cooperation of other key industry stakeholders including the industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (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.

Let me assure our regulator, NAICOM, that we shall work closely with them 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.


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