L-R: Immediate Past Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mr. Eddie Efekoha; Chairman, NIA, Mr. Tope Smart, and past Chairman, NIA, Mr Godwin Wiggle, during the investiture of Mr. Tope Smart as the Chairman, NIA in Lagos on Wednesday. September 12, 2018.
BY NKECHI NAECHE—The newly elected Chairman of Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Mr. Tope Smart has said he would focus on protection of Interest of Members Companies; proper positioning of the Insurance Industry; improve the standard of professionalism; to put in place a befitting edifice for NIA and deepen Insurance Penetration during his tenure to reposition insurance industry.
He disclosed this at his investiture ceremony in Lagos, that the 5 point agenda are collectively referred to as 5Ps.
These 5 Points Agenda according to him will give the direction of my service to the Association for the next 2 years.
He added that the theme of his tenure as the 23rd Chairman of the Association is ” NIA First, Insurance First.”
He posited that the choice of the theme was informed by the need to confront lack of general awareness of insurance; the battered image and more often than not, the industry is made to play a second fiddle to some other professions, is these are the challenges facing insurance Industry.
He said “I will ensure the protection of the interest of member companies. In order to achieve this, I seek the cooperation of everyone and appeal to all of us to be united and stand together. This way, we can take the Industry to greater heights.
“As I mentioned before, there is a huge gap between where we are supposed to be and where we are today. The question is who are the agents to fill the gap? The answer to this question is not difficult. We are the one. We must begin to do what is right. How can we do this?
There are various ways. “Deployment of good technology to drive our operations, development of human capital, reaching the unreached – setting and working towards a financial inclusion target for the industry, putting in place, an excellent customer satisfaction mechanism, increase insurance awareness through many channels, build capacity for the industry are some of the ways by which we can properly position the industry.
“Many of you will agree with me that the level of professionalism in the industry is very low compared with global best practice. The rates charged more often than not for risks presented for insurance do not correlate with such risks. There is need to have a total departure from this practice. Risks survey, inspection and business procurement procedure are most times, sometimes relegated to the background. We need to address this in order to take this Industry to the next level. The NIA will collaborate with all other stakeholders in the Industry in order to tackle these various issues.
“As many of you are already aware, plans are on to build a befitting edifice for NIA. The building when completed shall be called NIA Towers. I must commend the effort of the Past Chairmen, particularly, the immediate Past Chairman of the Association for the good job he has done in this area. The flag off of the project has already been done. We are awaiting approval from the relevant authorities for us to commence work in earnest.
“In my opening remarks, I talked about the low level of Insurance penetration, particularly when compared with other markets in Africa. Presently, for a population size of about 200million, Industry penetration is less than .5%. You will all agree with me that this is not good enough. We must collectively work together to increase the penetration level. In this regard, NIA will work with all arms of the Industry such as Brokers, CIIN and NAICOM to achieve this.”
He said although the task ahead is quite challenging, but “I believe very strongly that with the help of God, and the support of everyone of you we shall achieve success.”
He however said that as members of Insurance Community, “we shall continue to come to the table with strong engagement and education. There must be a paradigm shift. People must begin to see Insurance not as a product, but as a process.”