Friday, 31 May 2013

FG owes insurers N3.56b group life premium

Chuks Udo Okonta

Insurance companies that underwrote the Federal Government’s last year’s group life policy are yet to be paid about N3.56 billion, Inspen has learnt.

A broker who pleaded not to be named, said the government has paid about N5.13 billion which is 59 per cent out of the total sum of N8.7 billion, leaving N3.56 billion – 41 percent unpaid.

 President Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) Mrs Laide Osijo, at the council’s members evening in Lagos, has called on the government to settle the outstanding payment, adding that the delay or nonpayment of the outstanding is unhealthy for the industry’s development.

She said: "I want to appeal to the Federal Government for the release of outstanding premium on group life for the year 2012. As it stands, only 41 per cent of the premium has been paid remaining 59 per cent to be paid.

"This situation has made many insurance companies to discountenance claims under the year in review of the now existent No Premium No Cover. This, as we are all aware, is to the displeasure of some beneficiaries especially to those who died in active service.

"The impression many of them have is that the insurance industry is insensitive to their plights, a situation that creates serious image smear for the industry."

She called on the government to assist the industry to avoid further accumulation of unpaid premiums and claims, adding that such could negate the new premium collection system.

Osijo said the initial apprehension on the workability of the no premium no cover policy is gradually being laid to rest as brokers and underwriters now testify of the gains from the initiative.

Managing Director LASACO Assurance Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, said the nonpayment of the premium is inimical to the industry’s growth. He maintained that there is the need for a review of the premium adding that the present group life premium is undervalued.


FG introduces insurance cover for air travellers

The Federal Government on Thursday said it had developed a new Victim Family Insurance Package in a bid to address the delays in payment of insurance claims by airlines whenever an air crash occurred. The initiative, according to the government, becomes necessary following complaints by relatives of victims of the June 3, 2012 Dana Air crash in Lagos that they have not been compensated. Speaking at a press briefing and stakeholders’ forum on aviation safety in Abuja, the acting Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Joyce Nkemakolam, said the VFAP would serve as additional assistance to families of victims of aircraft accidents. He said the Nigerian Insurance Commission had approved the VFAP, the proposal of which was submitted by a Deposit Money Bank, and that discussions were ongoing between the government and the bank on the implementation of the insurance package. According to Nkemakolam, the government will also create a family assistance centre where relatives of air crash victims will be able to interface with the government and get their claims without passing through unnecessary rigours. He said, "However, passengers are required to pay a premium of N600 only, which will be embedded in the ticket charges. This initiative is something we must do because we discovered that most times, families of victims of air crashes are traumatised. "Many of them don’t know what to do and they don’t know where to run to. So, we came up with the idea of creating a system where these people will be adequately taken care of, counselled and directed on what to do to alleviate their sorrows. It is important to state that this is a major issue that the government wants to address." In her reaction, the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, said the Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012 remained a major blot in an otherwise remarkable two years of her stewardship. She said, "While the nation awaits the final report of investigation into the crash from the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau, I wish to state unequivocally that the ministry has been working round the clock since the incident to ensure that such a sad event never happens again in our airspace. "In the last one year, NCAA has worked closely with Dana Air, relevant insurance companies and the Lagos State Government to ensure the expeditious processing and payment of claims and compensation to families of victims," Oduah said.

Source: Punch

Thursday, 30 May 2013

NCRIB collaborates with Canadian institute

Chuks Udo Okonta


The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) has collaborated with the Strategy Institute of Canada to raise the knowledge power of its members.

During the 2013  international business visit to Toronto, Canada, the Council’s delegation, led by its President, Barrister Laide Osijo were taken through contemporary global dynamics in Captive and Corporate Insurance as well as oil and gas.

Speaking on the roles of captives and the place of insurance brokers within the arrangement, Mr William knocked the bottom off the notion that captives were to edge out insurance brokers, rather he opined that the practitioners were supposed to compliment the arrangement and in so doing ascribe to be ingenious in their delivery.

He said captives had become the norm in most corporate organizations in advanced countries of the world and that they were usually established as a cost saving institutions to increase corporate tax savings and provide high risk coverage.

In his address, the Managing Director of AON Morgan Insurance Managers, Mr Bill Morgan expressed delight at the presence of the NCRIB delegation at the Strategy Institute summit and noted that the experience that was gained by the delegates would translate into their robust professional practice and consequently improve the insurance industry’s contributions to the nation’s Gross Domesti c Product.

Delivering an address, President of the NCRIB Barrister Laide Osijo said the choice of Canada for this year’s visitation was based on the cardinal place occupied by the country in the oil and gas insurance as well as acknowledged  profile in insurance development.

Osijo opined that although the insurance industry in Nigeria had not fully embraced insurance captives in view of certain noxious beliefs about its operation, the lectures delivered on the subject had given delegates a new ray of understanding which they would in turn impact on their members at home.

She stressed that the NCRIB had taken the professional empowerment of its members with utmost seriousness which informed the basis for the yearly international business trips organized in the past to countries such as United States of America, UK, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Canada.   

The delegates had an extensive networking sessions with insurance professionals from all over the world and also paid visits to interesting sites such as the Niagara Falls, among other places


Nigerian Army lauds SA Life over sport sponsorship


Chuks Udo Okonta

The Nigerian Army has showered praises on Standard Alliance Life Assurance Limited for co-sponsoring its maiden Combat Sports Competition held at the old Nigerian Defence Academy premises in Kaduna from May 20-24.

The Vice Chairman of the Competition’s Planning Committee, Maj.Gen. S . U . Yusuf who is also the Nigerian Army’s Director of Training, expressed the good hearts of the Nigerian Army authorities for the underwriting company, noting that "Standard Alliance Life Assurance Limited has always been supporting us anytime we call on them."

While challenging other corporate bodies to emulate the good corporate social responsibility contributions the life underwriting company has been making to military activities in the country, Gen. Yusuf challenged the company not to look back in its kindheartedness.

Explaining earlier the reason behind the company’s sponsorship of military competitions to the Defence Correspondents at the event, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Nelson Egboboh, said "as a major provider of the group life policy to all military personnel, it is our belief that it is not only when they lose any member that we should show our concern. We must also be part of them when they hold events of this nature which bring them together for days of thrills and happiness."

The event was opened by the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika with the Kaduna State Governor, Alh. (Dr.) Muktar Ramalan Yero, in attendance while the finals and giving of trophies to winners on Friday was witnessed by the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada and all the GOCs of the respective Army Divisions.

The respective cups for boxing and other combat sports were competed for by not less than 80 athletes from the different Army Divisions with the Nigerian Army I Division carting away not just more of the cups but the winning cup.

It could be recalled that Standard Alliance Life Assurance Limited co-sponsored the Army Golf Competition held in Zaria in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc, Tom Imokhai, has been picked along with a few other Africans by the European-American University for its honorary doctorate degree award scheduled for May 18 in Togo.

A letter conveying the news from the Commonwealth of Dominica-based University explained that Mr. Imokhai will receive a conferment as Doctor of Arts Honoris Causa in Insurance and Risk Management in lieu of his outstanding contributions and achievements in the insurance sector.

In the same vein, the Institute of Credit Administration, ICA, has appointed Mr. Imokhai as its 2nd Vice President and member of its Governing Council just as he has also received nomination into the nation’s prestigious Business Support Group as a member.

In a congratulatory letter signed by ICA’s Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chris Onalo, the Institute stated that "with your unanimous endorsement as the 2nd Vice President and Council member, your business industry is well reflected in the characteristic objective of our great institute", noting further that "your appointment as the 2nd Vice President has taken effect and will expire February 2015."

On its part, the Business Support Group noted in its letter signed by its Chairman, Oba Otudeko, CFR, that the Standard Alliance Insurance Plc’s boss was considered based on his pedigree and his significance as a major stakeholder within the organized private, stating further that "we are confident that the BSG will benefit from your wealth of experience."

Mr. Imokhai who has been in the insurance business for not less than twenty three continuous years started his underwriting career with Rivbank Insurance Company, Port Harcourt, where he did his Youth Service in 1990 and later joined Guinea Insurance Plc, Lagos, as an Underwriting Officer in 1991.

He left for BAICO Insurance Plc the same year (1991) as Head of Reinsurance Department. While in BAICO, he rose to the position of a Manager and headed various departments like Motor, Marine, Reinsurance and Claims.
Imokhai joined NEM Insurance Plc in 1998 as Senior Manager Technical, later Deputy Controller in charge of Ikeja Operations and rose to the position of Deputy General Manager, Marketing, before joining Standard Alliance Insurance Plc in May 2007 as General Manager, Marketing and Business Strategy. He was appointed Acting Managing Director in December, 2007 and was confirmed as a Managing Director/CEO in 2008.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Insurance (1989) from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology and a Master of Business Administration (Strategic Management) from Edo State University (now Ambrose Alli University), Ekpoma.

He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria and London; member, Nigeria Institute of Management; a fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria and fellow, Institute of Credit Administration (FICA).
Imokhai is an alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School having undergone its 18th Chief Executive Programme. He is also an alumnus of the elitist IESE Business School, University of Navara, Spain, where he was one of the
select-few African high profile chief executives for the Pan-African Advance Management Programme Module.

A recipient of the Patriotic Achievers’ Award, 2009, Credit Personality of the Year, 2009, Insurer of the Year, 2010 and Most Dedicated Professional award, among others, Imokhai has attended several local and international seminars. He is a member of the Apapa Club, Ikoyi Club, Dolphin Golf Club and Navy Sailing Club.


Insurance NGO to steer revolution, boosts awareness




Chuks Udo Okonta

Transparent Protection Limited/Gte (TPL), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that would help deepen insurance awareness is set to be launched on June 18, 2013, in Abuja.

Its Programme Manager, Godson Ibekwe-Umelo, who disclosed this at a roundtable organised for the media and selected civil society groups at Top Rank Hotel in Abuja, said the launch which would hold at International Women Development Centre, would bring all insurance industry big wigs and other stakeholders.

According to him, TPL is coming to steer revolution in insurance sector in Nigeria which to date has remained relatively underdeveloped despite huge potential. He regretted that Nigeria’s Insurance Industry’s contribution by the ratio to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is less than one per cent while the industry is ranked 87th in the world in terms of  penetration.


He said TPL is poised to help reverse this unfortunate trend by proactively mobilizing citizens, especially at the grassroots to take up insurance protection, adding that the organisation will facilitate a platform for guaranteeing settlement of all genuine claims.

Ibekwe-Umelo, said: “With a huge population of between 150 and 160 million people, the insurance sector in Nigeria has potential to become the biggest insurance market in Africa and among the largest in the world.  Regrettably, the sector has remained underdeveloped relative to other countries with similar population advantage.

“Transparent Protection Ltd/Gte (TPL) was established in 2012 to help address the challenges of insurance sector underdevelopment in Nigeria. Towards realizing this goal, TPL has established a robust platform for mobilizing the insuring public at the grassroots for mass patronage of insurance products and ensuring timely settlement of all genuine claims.”

He said the vision of the organisation is to be the foremost not-for-profit organization that is driving insurance development in Africa and that the mission is to facilitate and sustain a complementary platform that guarantees mass patronage for insurance products and ensures settlement of all genuine claims.

He noted that its core values are transparency, accountability, reliability and equal opportunity, adding that its objectives include to increase the level of insurance awareness through consistent grassroots sensitizations, to help accelerate the pace of insurance development in Nigeria through collaboration with relevant agencies of government and other stakeholders, to promote and influence policy making in the insurance sector through civil society advocacy, to initiate and implement programmes aimed at strengthening and sustaining transparency in insurance protection and to provide professional legal and insurance support services to target group

He said the thematic areas the organisation would focus on are: Advocacy, education, mobilization and transparency and governance

“Our gender sensitive board is presently composed of five distinguished Nigerians from the relevant backgrounds. The board’s primary responsibilities include providing policy direction and approving implementation plans and processes of the organisation.

 The management team consists of qualified, experienced and focused men and women committed to the realization of organizational objectives. They are a through bred of professionals with proven track records in the fields of law, insurance, and Community Advocacy.

“TPL’s programmes and activities are packaged under three major Projects and Initiatives namely, Law and Insurance Project (LIN), Transparent Action Policy Project (TAPP) and Insurance Sector Empowerment Initiative (ISEI).

“The LIP encapsulates Insurance Support Services, Legal Aid/Public Interest Litigation, and Community Mobilization. The Insurance Support Services programme is a platform for providing pre-insurance contract consumer support, and also relevant technical assistance for pursuing claims settlement. The Legal Aid/Public Interest Litigation programme provides legal support services for members of a target group who have been denied settlement of genuine claims. “The Community Mobilization programme is designed to reach out to the grassroots for creating awareness on the need for insurance protection, and to purchase insurance protection only from registered insurance companies.

“The TAPP incorporates programme for Legislative and Policy Advocacy, as well as for Campaigns and Media. The Legislative and Policy Advocacy programme aims at enhancing, promoting and sustaining transparency and good governance in the insurance industry. The Campaign programme focuses on engendering and strengthening best practice in the insurance industry, while the Media programming and features Radio and TV programmes are designed as a platform for generating informed discussion among stakeholders.

“The ISEI has two elements namely, programme for assisting in building capacity for the insurance industry generally, and for conducting necessary researches and disseminating the report of findings for the benefit of the insurance industry,” he added.

He said TPL is not an insurance company, therefore, it does not underwrite insurance risks and settle claims, adding that it is simply a system support organisation that helps the insurer and insured to more easily understand their rights and obligations under insurance contract.

He said TPL is neither insurance agent nor insurance broker. However it is part of TPL’s mandate to ensure that the insuring public in Nigeria is fairly treated by insurance service providers including insurance brokers and agents. Where necessary, TPL can recommend trusted brokers and agent to members.

“It is important to TPL that insurance institutions in Nigeria play within the rules and to be as much as possible transparent in their relationship with policyholders. TPL has programmes that can help insurance institutions build capacity and apply best practices in their operations.

“NAICOM is the statutory regulator of insurance business in Nigeria. NAICOM sets standards for insurance practice and enforces compliance with insurance laws and regulations. It also has mandate to protect the interest of insurance policyholders. TPL will collaborate with NAICOM to ensure compliance by insurance institutions with insurance laws and regulations. TPL will also support NAICOM initiated insurance industry development initiatives, and in particular, the on-going Market Restructuring and Development Initiative (MDRI),” he said.

Ibekwe-Umelo said is funded by contribution from members, free will donations from individuals and organizations interested in insurance development and fees from consultancy services.

He maintained that the organisation provides you with advisory services prior to purchase of insurance policy and supports you to make genuine claims in the event of unjust denial by the insurer.  Stressing that the range of professional services rendered by TPL is available only to its members and that TPL membership is open to Nigerians and non Nigerian residents who have interest (directly or indirectly) in insurance business in Nigeria.

He noted that two classes of membership exist namely, individual and corporate membership. Corporate membership registration attracts a fee of N50, 000 only, while individual membership registration is for N5, 000 only.

He said registration can be done either on-line or by visiting any of the organisation’s offices in Lagos and Abuja, adding that for on-line registration, people should click on “Registration on our website.

He said upon registration, people will be issued with a membership registration number, and that issuance of registration number is therefore an evidence of registration and this becomes the person’s identity for future communications with the organisation.














Tuesday, 28 May 2013

‘How to resolve rancour among underwriters and agents’


The cold battle between some underwriters and their agents portend great damage to insurance industry development if not checked. President Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Dr. Wole Adetimehin, in this interview with Chuks Udo Okonta, said the institute will rise to this challenge by urgently evolving training programmes, that will bring companies executives, their branch managers, head of marketing and agents’ association to tackle the beef.


What is the industry doing to encourage relationship among operators?    

Just as I mentioned when I was delivering my acceptance speech on June 17, 2011, for many years, if we have had this kind of bonding, that is being put in place,  it could have been as robust, meaningful and effective, as the one I contemplated  and I have actualised by His grace. What was in place many years, has been, the various arm of the industry, approaching and sorting out issues with our regulator one-on-one, whether the interest of the other arms are affected or would be affected, there has never been any recognition of that possibility. At the end of the day, in the past, we often have conflict of interest. The Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) would have sorted itself out, whether the interest of brokers is taken care of nobody bothers. The other day, the Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), would approach the regulator with issues, they would be trashed out, whether the   Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), has been stepped upon, nobody bothers. But under this new concept or initiative, we can be seen as putting all the arms of the industry together under one umbrella. And at regular intervals, we would be speaking with our regulator. I remember at the time of my investiture, I said, some group or forum that can be likened to Bankers Committee. That was what I was trying to replicate. And issues and challenges affecting industry operators, no matter the arm of the industry you are representing can be tabled, analysed, and well sorted out. We would be saving time, unnecessary dissipation of energy without achieving much and collectively, with one voice, we can make pronouncement. I want to let you know that the objective behind this concept has been well embraced by the various arms, including our regulator. The Commissioner has endorsed this initiative. The name we have agreed to give it is Insurance Industry Consultative Committee (IICC). The executives of the various arms have met, to reappraise the modalities, the objective, constitution  of membership, regularity of frequency of meetings, chairmanship of the body, administration of the body, who qualifies to be member of the committee and all these, have been peacefully resolved and conveyed to the commissioner who endorsed the initiative. Because the various arms have their executives, they would be members of the Insurance Industry Consultative Committee (IICC). Before coming to meetings, they would have met at their council, issues bothering on their operations and practice would have been harnessed and packaged for the committee meeting that would normally be chaired by the commissioner. Because this is an initiative of the institute, the reigning president and all past presidents of the institute would qualify as automatic members of the committee. For the other arms, their current presidents and the immediate past presidents with their executives would be members of the committee. At the time the commissioner for insurance was endorsing this initiative, he said he gladly let room for willing chief executives from any arm of the industry that could create time and willing to attend meetings. I do not want to say that, that added value came from his experience when some of our chief executives officers would for one reason or other fail to attend meetings. He said he has thrown it open and allow everybody to come. Going by his experience, he has the reservation whether they would come.  And if they come, would they speak their mind? But if they have channeled all that they have as issues bothering their practice through their executives and we are locked up in hall or syndicate room, such issues can be trashed out. And such avenue would leave room too, for the commissioner to intimate the industry practitioners with up and coming rules, guidelines, new laws or developments and we would surely take such opportunity to chip in our feelings, contributions, before these rules, laws and guidelines become operational or effective. That in a nutshell explains the reasons and objectives underlined the bond being promoted.

What is the institute doing to enable operator maxiamise benefits of local content policy?

I would say this has remained recurring challenge facing our industry. It is more prominent with the underwriters. Nobody can fault the underline reason of the local content policy initiative and it is meant to cut across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy. But in appraising the benefits so derived from the insurance sector, we are all having the fears as to what conclusion or report card we would give at this time. This is because from all facts available in real and concrete terms we are yet to begin. Yes, there has been some participation here and there, but it is still far from the real intention and I think the industry should be addressing these challenge in a more pragmatic manner and one of such strategies, would be to really come together, sit down a evolve practical solution. The whole idea or approach of everybody going about it alone can hardly resolve this challenge. At our level as an institute, the challenge to us is to promote training modules and curriculums that would open or widen the mindset of practitioners as to what to do. Capital base of companies have grown considerably, in fact, beyond imaginable scope. But beyond capital, there is a lot more that is expected. You do not underwrite or shoulder risks with your capital. You can only provide infrastructures that would propel you to underwrite. What needed to be developed is the capacity to absolve. And I can tell you, that the experience has been fairly good in the oil and gas. But if and if stakeholders can come together under pool formations, just like we have been canvassing, at many levels capacity would grow. We would even go beyond the shore of Nigeria to absolve risks. Stakeholders out there should be advised to shun independent approach to doing things and align more effectively to the fundamentals of insurance practice globally which is pooling and sharing of risks. Primarily, in our market, we should evolve the concept of pool formation and working together, that is the only way we can grow our capacity.

What is CIIN doing about upgrading its chapters?          

More than ever before, our chapters executives are been challenged to be a lot more focused on their objectives of having a professional body and expanding out. That era is gone when anybody canvass to be chapter chairman or executive only for the purpose of making his curriculum vitae more robust or becoming a local champion over there.  They are now all expected to develop an annual strategic action plan that would be approved by the national headquarter. The plans would be rigorously monitored for practicable and resourceful actualisation. They would now also, take the privilege and opportunity of attending council meetings of the chapter chair, and when they come, reports from branches would be taken and if they have anything they too can raise. The Nigeria landscape is quite large and there is very little we can do from the national headquarter, except we grow our chapters.  We have appreciated the need to collaborate more with our chapters, without unduly having to deny them of the need empowerment to be able to function. Schools, colleges and universities are growing all over the place, local governments are almost attaining the status of a state, and we need to grow our membership and take insurance further down to the grassroots. If our chapters are virile, very well established, all these can be delivered in good time.  Mandatory Continuous Professional Development (MCPD), the way we normally do it is to carry it through the six geographical zones.

What is the institute doing about insurance curriculum in schools?

We have not been folding our arms, because we have the roles and responsibility when it comes to training and education of insurance in the country. If the government is saying that insurance should be offered in secondary schools in the country, without unduly giving us the matching order, that we should provide faculty, facilitators, textbooks, and all what not, we know what is expected of us. As we are talking now, I know a number of the industry persons that are writing textbooks that would suit the secondary education level and the higher institutions. As we have it as a challenge, the benefits to the industry and the professional body is quite visible, because it is going to provide employment opportunities for people. Our approach to growing and developing the profession in this country, within the next decade, would surpass what is found in Europe. I cannot say that of America, for we are tailored to what is obtained in Europe. Our approach and the way we are going with it would transient what is found in Europe. Because in practical terms, more than 50 per cent of Nigeria polytechnics are offering insurance, at the university level, they have gone beyond first degree; they are offering it at post graduate level. You do not come across such developments even in Europe. I recounted an experience of universities looking for external examiner, and they went and search all over place, a few of the universities offering post graduate programmes, in the United Kingdom has had to relied on industry practitioners as facilitators of the programme. They had to partner to actualise such programme. I am saying this authoritatively, because we have children that have benefits from the programme. At the institute level, we would work a lot more, on encouraging our members to develop text books while making them, available to engage in lecturing or teaching at the secondary school level. The institute would continue to give support in all their school programmes, we would give text books, deliver lectures and promote this profession. We also have plans to partner with all the states ministry of education that could fast track the facilitation of this directive from the federal ministry of education. And one of those things that would help them in the implementation is what we are doing. We would tell them that we have textbooks, that we have lecturers that are willing that will drive the courses.

What CIIN is doing about concentration of insurance companies in Lagos and Abuja?

Our robust platforms of chapters are one strategic move that would help actualise the need for spread. We are also keying into the current development of micro-finance products. In literary terms, these are development of personal lines that is taking insurance to the grassroots. We have our barriers, we have obstacles, take it or leave, and we just have to surmount these challenges, because a great number of percentages or proportion of our population is semi literate. Some of them do not even have bank accounts and we are talking of e-transact. But the practical approach would be to do the two side-by-sides, we want to do e-transact and the manual, we have to encourage them to key into e-transact. The Central Bank of Nigeria under their regulation, they have encouraged the banking institutions to break, you either want to be a national banking institution, state, mortgage or retail banker. We really have challenges, because unlike in the past that you see branches spring up all over, right now, I think they are managing. For insurance, we would never relent in helping the government of the day know, that whatever result, whatever progress, development, we are going to achieve in this economy, a lot has to done in improving infrastructures within the system. When the right infrastructures are there, unemployment would go, people would get better payroll at work, productivity will be a lot better, insecurity would reduce drastically, crime rate and all sort. We would not relent in joining our voices with other pressure groups in telling government to provide good leadership and provide functional and sustainable infrastructures. All we are canvassing would work out naturally when there is good governance.

What CIIN is doing about emerging risks?   

By our roles and responsibilities under our charter, we should be seeing at all time packaging the right curriculum and develop programmes for all stakeholders. Our global exchange programmes has always focused on these areas.

I remember when we were in South Africa, we had brain storming sessions and in that particular entourage, we had a reasonable number of insurance executives, we had solid sessions, met with companies, on underwriting of terrorism, kidnapping and other political risks.

I want to believe that, quite a number of the companies, must be working on evolving suitable packages. I had at different fora, canvassed the need for government provision of intervention fund. This is because, some of these risks, if they become a reality, their effects will be devastating and very catastrophic and the only way at the formative stage is for government to come up with a type of intervention fund, that will provide relief  to insurance companies stakeholders, that will be willing to underwrite these kinds of risks.

I can tell you that we are not relenting on our efforts, and we are not relying only on our own local capacity, we are robbing minds with experts beyond our shores, and when some of these products and packages are coming up, it would be a collaboration of concept ideas and efforts.


What is CIIN doing about agent management and administration?


Let me state in clear terms what has been the roles of our institute on agent management. Under the new or the current operating NAICOM guidelines on the administration and licensing of agents, all prospective agents, are mandated to undergo a proficiency training programme normally packaged by our institute. I want to remark that we have made tremendous progress, but we must pay attention to the various categories of agents out there. We have independent agents, some of them working on their own, representing companies of their choice, we have agents that are engaged by insurance companies and they are strictly in an agreement to work for those companies on whatever terms they have agreed. Third category of agents would normally be sponsored to undergo this proficiency training. The whole essence of the training is to obtain certification from our institute that would be presented to NAICOM before they can be licensed. We have reached an understanding with NAICOM, that our fees would portray human face. If we are out to provide quality training, in fact good skills and knowledge, we need good experts and facilitators, we must provide study materials, and all these would cost money. We have succeeded in reaching a meaningful understanding with NAICOM, such that what an average agent, either self sponsored or company sponsored, would pay is reasonable. They have to pay N12, 500. As a matter of fact the fee is N10, 000. The N12, 500 would qualify them to register as a member of the institute. We have also let room for any company that can put together a large number of agents, that could provide an in-house facility, so that all we needed do is take our facilitators there with our materials and impart the skill and knowledge and that would be considerably less than N10,000. In the last one, two years, the programme has being running very well. The issue of conflict between agents and companies officials is new and strange to us at the institute, but it is not unexpected, there is bound to be conflicts and disagreements and the solution we can proffer at our level, is to capitalise on this challenge, evolve a programme for management and administration for the agency workforce whereby we drag the companies executives including their branch managers and head of marketing in collaboration with the National Association of Agents in this country and bring them together from time to time to training and resolve such issues.

What will become of CIIN when the college takes off?

Right now the college is trying on how it would walk on its own. Without unduly praising ourselves, for once, we are proving all doubting Thomas’s, out there wrong that insurance as a body in the country cannot deliver. We are delivering and we would do more. The first phase of the college has been completed, the second phase is about starting, the job has been awarded and they are moving to site anytime from now. On June 11, the council will be paying an official visit to the site. The whole essence is to showcase what we have been able to do to all stakeholders. We are still working at getting all stakeholders to show more commitment, but what we have on ground is enough to prove that the project is fast becoming a reality. Rectors’ applications have been taken; interview sessions would be conducted any time from now. Curriculum development for takeoff is nearing completion. But the second phase of the job would take us another 18 weeks for them to deliver. That would include the 50-room hall of residence, staff quarters, these are what we have in the phase two of the project and we have 18 weeks to achieve this, and we have mobilised the contractors. But it could be a lot faster, if we get commitment, involvement and support of members. We are not relenting; we would keep pleading canvassing among ourselves so that we can quickly open the doors. The college for some time to come, would remain an arm of the institute, but will have an autonomous management; there would be a rector, registrar, boxer and faculty. Reasons is that it would still be the role and responsibility of the institute to fund until we are satisfied that they can attain their independence and autonomy. The college would report to council but in the long run, they would have autonomy. Even in the short run, they would have all necessary empowerment to make the place function. We are professionals and we would not put any barrier that would not enable them to deliver. My hopes are so high that in decade insurance would be a different thing in this country.                          


Do you have any regret since your assumption of office?

I can tell you all there that there has been no regret. But without being immodest, I would say that there have been challenges. You will all agree that this is preoccupation of modern day’s managers. When there are no challenges, then we do not need scientific managers. But the challenges have been managed in the most effective manner. One of such challenges is getting the commitment of our professional members, as well as corporate institutions. When such commitment and cooperation is total, the result could be overwhelming. We are aware of these in council, and we are evolving appropriate strategies to manage this kind of challenge such that in the future, one can secure a total commitment of members. Our hopes are very high, one of our justifications, is in our new information and technology platform that is ready. We all appreciate the usefulness of having a modern day information and technology platform. What we have got in place, without being immodest, is robust and efficient in all ramification. These are some of the assurances why our hopes are raise, that challenges facing our body, just like any other institution out there are being strategically attacked.


Monday, 27 May 2013

The President Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Dr. Wole Adetimehin (second left) and executives of CIIN and Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) during a visit to the association’s headquarters in Lagos.

The President Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Dr. Wole Adetimehin (second left) and executives of CIIN and Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) during a visit to the association’s headquarters in Lagos.

PenCom begins enrolment for govt’s employees

Chuks Udo Okonta

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) said it has concluded preparations to conduct an enrolment exercise for employees of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that are Treasury-Funded.

A statement by Its Head, Communication Unit Emeka Onuora, said the enrolment is meant for employees in the service of the Federal Government who are due to retire between January and December, 2014 by virtue of attaining 60 years of age or 35 years in service whichever is earlier or 65 years in service or 70 years of age for employees of tertiary institutions is for the purpose of payment of retirement benefits.

He said the exercise will take place between June 3, and July 11, 2013, adding that this physical enrolment also covers those who have already retired but are yet to be enrolled.

Onuora, noted that employees are requested to attend the enrolment exercise with the originals and copies of letter of appointment, birth certificate/declaration of age, promotion letter and   pay slip indicating grade level and step as at 30th June, 2004.

Other requirements for the enrolment exercise include letter from the MDAs indicating retirement and first appointment dates, grade level and step as at July  2007 as well as the current grade level, authenticated past records of service and current pay slip indicating grade level and step.

“They should also come along with evidence of registration with a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) indicating Personal Identification Number (PIN) and one passport photograph.

“To ensure a successful and hitch-free exercise, the Commission requires the services of at least, one Pension Desk Officer from an MDA so as to assist in identifying potential retirees as well as confirm the authenticity of the documents presented by the employees,” he said.

 He noted that medically unfit employees are exempted from the exercise but the commission advises their Pension Desk Officers to come with their documents and a letter from a suitably qualified physician  or medical board certifying that the affected employees are not physically or mentally capable of carrying out the functions of his/her office.

He said the exercise will take place at 14 centers across the nation, adding that employees are advised to take part in the exercise as only employees who have been enrolled will be issued with the Federal Government Retirement Bond.

African insurers post $66 premium in 2011


Chuks Udo Okonta


 Insurance companies across Africa generated premium income in excess of $66 billion in 2011, President African Insurance Organisation (AIO), Hassan El Sayed, has said.

He disclosed this today Monday, at the ongoing 40th edition of AIO, conference holding in Cairo, Egypt.

He noted that African insurance sector has witnessed recession; therefore, insurers shall focus on micro-insurance so as to increase investment opportunities.

He said the non-life business accounted for $21.7 billion representing 7.1 per cent, while the life aspect of the business contributed $44.6 billion, representing 1.2 per cent of world premium income during the year under consideration.

Egypt’s Prime Minister, Hesham Kandil who declared the conference opened, in his speech entitled:  “The Role of the African Insurance Industry to support the economic development of African Countries”, said, for Africa to achieve better economic growth, there is need for it to solve the problem of infrastructure in the continent.

He noted that infrastructure build before independence by the colonial masters were built majorly to as a means of covering raw goods from the point of production to foreign countries, adding that better infrastructure needed to be put in place by African countries.

Kandil said Egypt was planning to build economic corridors that will link Egypt and the rest of Africa, adding that the corridors will link Egypt to Khartoum, Addis Ababa and South Africa.

He said Egypt had positioned to join other African countries to fight poverty and corruption as it affected the growth of development in Africa.

Chairman Organising Committee and Chairman of the Insurance Federation of Egypt (IFE),  Abudel Raouf Kotb, said African economic boom was set to go from strength to strength with the continent outpacing the global average GDP growth.

He said the main challenge was to ensure that the growth reflects on the average citizen and that the riches of Africa countries have direct effect of alleviating more Africans out of poverty and tracking inequality.

He said: “We have reason to be optimistic but let’s not under estimate the challenges we face, our continent continues to depend on external demands making us susceptible to global economic slowdowns, particularly in China and Eurozone.”

Kotb said Africa faced many domestic risks such as youth unemployment, political upheavals low insurance penetration and severe weather etc.

He noted that the insurance and reinsurance had a pivotal role play to ensure that these risks were properly identified and managed in order to ensure that the sustainable development of our countries.

Friday, 24 May 2013

From left: Partner and Head, Tax Regulatory and People Service, KPMG Advisory Services, Mr. Victor Onyenkpa, Author of 'Diary Of A Misfit,' Miss Angel Okwuosa and the mother of the author, Mrs. Idu Okwuosa at the reading and reviewing of the book titled 'Diary Of A Misfit' in Lagos.

From left: Partner and Head, Tax Regulatory and People Service, KPMG Advisory Services, Mr. Victor Onyenkpa, Author of 'Diary Of A Misfit,' Miss Angel Okwuosa and the mother of the author, Mrs. Idu Okwuosa at the reading and reviewing of the book titled 'Diary Of A Misfit' in Lagos.

Irresistible opportunity in Nigeria

Sarah Rundell
The single biggest problem for us is high inflation and how to mitigate it." Demola Sogunle

The offices of Nigeria’s biggest pension fund manager sit at the end of a quiet side street on Victoria Island, Lagos’s bustling financial capital. Inside Stanbic IBTC’s aptly named Wealth House, indicative of Nigeria’s growing savings culture, a throng of customers jostle to query staff on pension matters. Four flights up, 48-year-old chief executive Demola Sogunle is just back from a whistle-stop tour to southern Nigeria, where he is cajoling state governments to introduce a new defined contribution pension scheme for their public sector employees.

It’s easy to see why Nigeria’s pension sector could become one of the fastest growing in the world. In 2004 root-and-branch reform modeled on the pension systems of Mexico and Chile introduced a compulsory defined contribution scheme for all public and private sector employees. Twenty-odd pension fund administrators (PFAs) where set up to manage the windfall as employees began to save 15 per cent of their monthly salaries, including employer contributions. Nigeria’s defined contribution assets have steadily grown to $20 billion, but are still only a fraction of what the working population saves. As more people come on board, forecasts predict total pension assets will grow by 30 per cent a year, making Nigeria’s savings pot worth $75 billion by 2020.

Like other PFAs, investment strategy at Stanbic IBTC, managed in house by a team of 14, is deliberately cautious to preserve capital and keep Nigerians, with a reputation for eagle-eyed scrutiny of their pension assets, saving. "Every contributor has their own personal account and we find they check the value of their pension fund on a daily basis. They don’t mind making money but they’ll ring you if you lose any," says Sogunle. Strategy is also guided by strict rules in a country where pension funds can’t invest outside Nigeria without presidential approval.

Mitigating inflation
As it is, Stanbic IBTC has one of the largest equity exposures among its peers with 16 per cent of its $6 billion assets under management invested in listed Nigerian equities. Other than this, it has a 65-per-cent allocation to government bonds and a 10-per-cent allocation to money markets with the balance in corporate bonds. The pension manager saw annual returns of 15 per cent last year but Nigeria’s raging inflation left an adjusted return of just 2 per cent. "The single biggest problem for us is high inflation and how to mitigate it," says Sogunle. Still "uncomfortable with derivatives," regulators prohibit any kind of hedging, although he expects plain vanilla instruments will begin to emerge as Nigeria’s regulator, the National Pensions Commission (PenCom), increasingly sees the market "from the saver’s perspective."

The battle with inflation is one of the reasons Sogunle is enthused by new opportunities emerging in Nigerian infrastructure, outlined in reforms in 2010. The government wants pension funds to help finance roads, ports and power plants and is now pushing an asset class that could be key to getting around the inflation hitch. Matching long-term liabilities (60 per cent of IBTC’s contributors are below the age of 40) with long-term assets without the punitive inflation hit from Nigeria’s federal government bonds, yielding 16 per cent and effectively wiping out long-term gains, is Sogunle’s biggest bugbear. He is looking at Macquarie’s Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund, which has a sub-fund customised for Nigeria PFAs. There is still no local infrastructure fund or infrastructure bond for investors to buy into and, under the new rules, infrastructure investment is limited to 20 per cent of a manager’s assets.

National boundaries
Stanbic IBTC is also exploring other alternative asset classes including private equity, asset-backed securities and real-estate investment trusts. It plans a 5-per-cent allocation to private equity and is exploring opportunities with funds run by African Capital Alliance and Aureos Capital. "They both have sub-funds that are compliant with what Nigerian pension funds can do," he says. Rules guiding private equity investment stipulate that managers must invest in funds that have at least 75 per cent of their assets in Nigeria. It leaves a 25-per-cent window of exposure to assets outside Nigeria in what could be pension funds’ first chance to tap foreign markets.

Far from being frustrated by the limited investment universe, Sogunle says it’s right that Nigeria’s pension funds invest at home for now. "Every part of the Nigerian economy needs massive investment. We get good returns and our liabilities are all in naira anyway." He also believes local investors are best positioned to benefit once Nigeria’s equity market "takes off" – at the moment many of the biggest corporate names in Nigeria aren’t listed on the exchange. He does acknowledge the buffeting of foreign flows hitting the portfolio however, like when Nigeria was included in JP Morgan’s benchmark emerging market debt index last year. "We see these flows and we have to anticipate their impact." It is why Stanbic IBTC run a mainly passive strategy but swing into active mode during periods of volatility.

Untapped opportunity
Defined contribution take-up in Nigeria is still fraught with challenges. Under the constitution, the 36 states that make up Nigeria’s federation are now responsible for introducing the new scheme. The government reformed the system in 2004 but only six states have signed up although 10 "are in the process" of doing so. Nor does the new pension scheme tap Nigeria’s vast informal work force. Regulator PenCom estimates that 60 per cent of Nigeria’s 80 million-strong working population is actually in the informal sector; it is planning how best to draw these potential savers into the scheme through attaching benefits to paying into schemes and using technology such as mobile phones.

But for Sogunle all this just represents opportunity. Pointing out that since reform in Mexico 15 years ago, 65 per cent of that population now save and pension assets have swollen to $140 billion, he believes Nigeria with its population of 162 million has only just begun. "The savings culture is there – look at our banking deposits – what we’ve achieved so far is just a drop in the ocean."