The Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Olorundare Sunday Thomas, has commended the Chairman Heirs Insurance Limited and Heirs Life Assurance Limited, Tony Elumelu, for his resilience, doggedness and determination to add value to the operation of insurance industry in Nigeria.
The NAICOM boss made the commendation in Lagos on Tuesday during the formal launching of the two new insurance institutions promoted by Heirs Group to change the nation’s insurance landscape for better.
Thomas said that he was optimistic that Heirs Insurance Limited and Heirs Life will add value and help to build a new insurance sector that is poised to de-risk other sectors of the national economy.
According to him, “the timing of this launch could not have been more auspicious in view of the fact that the NIACOM have been rolling out various developmental initiatives aimed at deepening insurance penetration in the country, with the level of capitalization of Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life, I have no doubt that the Nigerian insurance m arket is poised to write big ticket risks, we want to minimize outflow and conserve foreign exchange for national development,” the NIACOM commissioner said.
He advised the new companies to conduct its businesses within the confines of the Commission’s corporate governance guidelines and other directives. “Let me quickly state that the Commission expects the affairs of these companies will be conducted in consonance with extant insurance sector corporate governance guidelines and other directives.
The independence of the board and its committees including ensuring adequate disclosure and transparency and strict compliance with regulatory requirements are expected.”
He however said test while collaborative efforts to reposition and rebrand the industry has become imperative, the Commission is now more determined to ensure professionalism, high ethical standards and to protect the integrity of the Nigerian Insurance Industry .
“It is important to this end that your dashboard with the commission must be unblemished through strict compliance with a regulatory requirements. I congratulate the board, management and staff of both companies and wished them the very best in future. I want to say thank you for coming into our industry making a difference, impacting on the economy of Nigeria and helping us in deepening the insurance sector is what we expect,’ the NIACOM boss affirmed.
In his address at the occasion, the Chairman of Heirs Group, Tony Elumelu, said that both firms will boost the insurance industry contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, the entrants of the two companies is set to change the nation’s insurance landscape for better.
Said he “To the general public , we believe that our economy is the biggest economy in Africa, yet insurance to GDP is almost insignificant we need to work with the regulators, the finance minister with all stakeholders to make sure that insurance to GDP in the country becomes respectable like in South Africa and on other economies where insurance companies own even banks, here it is not the case, we need to, we can’t remain like this.”
He said that both companies have entered the industry to provide simple, accessible and affordable insurance services and products, “Nigerians want an Insurance company with services that can be offered on a platter of excellence and superior service delivery, customer service that is digitally driven and above all they want an insurer at their side, affordable but reliable insurance products is what Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life Assurance will bring to our people.”
He thanked the insurance industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for granting both companies their license to operate both in the general and life businesses
“You have contributed in making this possible and I want to say to you as our regulator and our other stakeholders that we have a track record of governance, best traditions of compliance and promise to make sure that when you look back both in service and even when you are retired, you will be very proud of the license you granted us, we will uplift your commitment to highest regulatory and governance standards you will be proud of us,” he assured.
He said “We come with a strong tradition and track record not just of governance but of business success and business turnaround and most importantly wealth creation for all. We believe that prosperity should be democratized, we believe that success for us in this business will not just be for the profit we make for shareholders, but will be the impact we made, how we helped to develop the community and create jobs for our people, our own role in helping to eradicate poverty , these are things that defines success for us and are things we are used to.”
In is remark, the governor of Lagos State, Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, applauded the effort of Tony Elumelu aimed at improving the economy.
He said “I think the least we can do is to reposition ourselves as a government and as a people especially in the private sector. When we have businesses being set up to add freshness in our economy, the least we can do as a government is to offer encouragement,” we need to encourage the private sector because they are the real engines of growth, ” the governor added.
He added that horn meant alone cannot do everything and tat try need private sector support to boost the economy. “And the private sectors are the real engines of growth, they are the ones that can create opportunities for our businesses, they are the ones that can indeed grow the GDP. I’m aware that the insurance industry had a bit of a shake at the end of last year because they asked all operators to increase their share capital . I’m aware that both Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life are one of the most liquid and well capitalized insurance companies in the country right now.”
He called on all efforts to be on deck to develop Nigeria’s insurance industry to meet the levels as it is in other advanced economies in the world to ensure a significant contribution to the nation’s GDP.
He also acknowledged the efforts of the commission , “it is important for us to thank them for holding forth, because at some point in time that sector was shaky. but with Mr. Thomas and the assurances he’s given us and the direction they have set in the last year or so for that sector, I think the dark days are behind them and we have seen a lot of improvements and better acceptability in that sector, we can assure you that as a government, we would continue to be an insurance complaint government because we fully understand how critical to de-risk all of the variables and be able to stand,” he said.