Tuesday, 30 September 2014

IGI announces Olowude's passing away

The Board, Management and Staff of Industrial And General Insurance Plc (IGI) hereby announce the passing away of our Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Oluremi Andrew Olowude, OON.
A visionary entrepreneur with remarkable patriotic zeal, Dr. Olowude was a self-driven achiever and business leader, who built a virile conglomerate with interests in insurance, banking, health management services, construction, and telecommunications services. He was a frontline member of Corporate Nigeria and the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA).
IGI Plc, which he founded in 1992, is a leading insurance company in Nigeriaunderwriting all classes of insurance business. IGI is also present in Uganda, Rwanda and The Gambia, with a representative office in London. 
The Board and Management assure all stakeholders that we shall preserve the IGI legacy and vigorously pursue the dream and vision of the departed founder.
Dr. Olowude died on Saturday, 27th September, 2014 in a hospital in the United States, after a brief illness. He was aged 63. Condolence registers have been opened at his private residences, IGI Head Office in Lagos as well as other branches and subsidiaries inside and outside Nigeria.
Burial arrangements will be announced later by the family.
May God comfort the entire Olowude family and grant the soul of our departed leader and mentor perfect repos

Monday, 29 September 2014

NCRIB Commiserates with IGI, NIA over Olowude’s death

The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) has described the death of the Executive Vice Chairman of Industrial and General Insurance Plc (IGI) as a colossal loss to the Nigeria insurance industry and entire nation at large.
A statement by Assistant Manager NCRIB Dele Ayeleso, said the council in a condolence letter to the Chairman of  IGI, General Yakubu Gowon, the President of the NCRIB , Ayodapo Shoderunoted that the council identified with the immediate family members of Late Olowude, management and staff of his company at this moment of grief.
According to the letter, Shoderu said, ‘definitely, the exit of Olowude signals the close of a chapter in the history of the reformation of the insurance industry in Nigeria, considering his pivotal roles in giving the industry a new look through founding of IGI Plc.
Shoderu opined that Olowude’s frankness, resourcefulness and love for insurance industry were legendary and would be sorely missed for a long time to come. ‘’Our council identifies with Directors, Management and Staff of IGI as well as NIA and its members at this moment of grief as we pray the good Lord to grant the deceased’s family members and the entire membership of NIA the fortitude to bear the painful loss he noted.  
Olowude was renowned for his wealth of knowledge about the industry as well as innovativeness, demonstrated in the operations of IGI during its founding; creating a leeway for a more pro- active and aggressive market oriented insurance industry.  

DR. AHMED SALAWUDEEN : Why I Sleep, Breath, Eat Insurance



Interviewed by Funke Olaode

How does your seeming humility impact on your impressive resume?
It is a reflection of my personality. Again, being a Moslem, Islam teaches humility. One needs to be humane. Why do people make noise? Is it to draw unnecessary attention to themselves? I think the most important thing or the purpose of our existence as a being is to touch lives. The Yorubas have an adage that it is an empty drum that makes the loudest noise. That isn’t part of me. And despite one’s achievement, it is God that made it happen.

How would you describe your growing up?
I am from Oyo State. My growing up was wonderful. I grew up in a good Moslem home where we were taught the tenets of Islam. My childhood and education started here in Nigeria before I moved to England where I worked and lived over the years.

What were your parents during your childhood?
My parents were farmers. In fact, my father was an Imam of an area. My growing up revolved around farming and learning the doctrine of Islam. Today, I have a PhD in Insurance from self-effort. For instance, the parents only push you up to secondary school after which you look for a job to support your academic ambitions.  I am an ambitious person who believes education is very important.

Why did you pitch your tent with Insurance?
It is my primary profession. It is something I have devoted my entire career life to. I graduated from the College of Insurance in London having qualified as a Chartered insurance practitioner in 1976. I have not looked back in the last 38 years. I hold a doctorate degree in management specialising in Insurance from the Commonwealth University of Belize. I also hold a certificate of professional studies in strategic leadership from the same university.

When did your career kick off?
It was in England. I started my career with the Royal Insurance Group at Chancery Lane in London. I also had a brief stint with British Engine in Manchester and the Royal Marine Insurance Department in Liverpool before setting up my own company; Standard Insurance Consultant Limited. We specialise in Energy Insurance Placement, Aviation and Space, Marine and General Insurance. So, I sleep, breath and eat insurance. In a way, it is my life.

What was your aspiration while growing up?
I grew up under a father who was a Moslem scholar. While growing up, my only ambition was to be somebody in life.

You mean the idea of becoming an Islamic cleric never crossed your mind?
Not really. My siblings and I enjoyed our lives under the tutelage of a cleric father. Today, we are rooted in the word of God and we do His will. As I said, I embraced my religion wholeheartedly but everybody cannot be a scholar.

What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is to make sure you love others as you love yourself. I also believe that you should do good unto people.

What has life taught you?
Life has taught me to love other people. And that is what we need in this country. If there is love, there will be peace and there will be peaceful co-existence. There is a lot of acrimony but with love, we shall overcome.

Are there things you would have done differently?
Nothing really; most of the time I thank God Almighty that I achieved my set goals, from a humble beginning, son of a farmer who got the highest academic qualification one can dream of by dint of hard work and help of God. What else do I want in life?

Telecel launches mobile insurance

Image: By BiztechAfrica
Telecel launches mobile insurance
Telecoms operator Telecel Zimbabwe is partnering with local insurance company, Zimnat Lion, to roll out a mobile insurance product that offers Telecel subscribers Funeral, Hospital and local and international Travel Cover through their Telecel lines. The new service, called Telecare, offers an affordable and convenient package to cover most basic needs.
Telecare insurance will bring safe, secure and affordable mobile insurance the company has said. Head of Marketing, Clever Isaya, said the initiative was unique in the market as Telecare provides 3 different insurance plans under one service.
“Life today is full of uncertainties and Telecare insurance offers financial cover against unforeseen events. Telecare has the potential to change people’s lives greatly as a lot of Zimbabweans do not have insurance due to high costs of most insurance services in the market.” he said.
Customers will be able to make premium payments on a monthly basis from their mobile phones. To join, any Telecel subscriber must dial *808# and they will be able to choose either the Value or Premium plans. These two packages have two options under them, namely Single and Family. The Single policy will only cover an individual who is the policyholder whereas the Family policy will cover the policyholder, a spouse and up to 4 children.
Any customer who subscribes to the service will also automatically get free Funeral cover of up to $250 for any of the registered dependents on the plans.
The partnership between Telecel and Zimnat Lion will also ensure that the cost of insurance is dramatically reduced for the ordinary person in the street. Under the partnership, Telecel will provide the mobile platform for its subscribers to access the service while Zimnat will underwrite and administer the full service. All claims will be settled through Zimnat but subscribers are able to submit their claims at any Telecel office for onward transmission to Zimnat.
After paying as little as $0.45 a month, users benefit from $250.00 Funeral Cover, $5000.00 for local Travel and $20.00 a day via hospital cash-back for up to 30 days. The full range of plans and the associated tariffs are indicated as follows.
Monthly Contribution
Local Travel Cover
International Travel Cover
Daily Hospital Cashback
Single Value
$5 000
Single Premium
$5 000
$50 000
Family Value
$5 000
Family Premium
$5 000
$50 000
“Our affordable tariffs will ensure our customers have access to hassle free insurance all from the convenience of their mobile phone,” added Mr Isaya.
Telecel has been aggressively launching innovative services to improve their product portfolio and overall competitiveness and Telecare, which comes soon after the recent announcement of their Telecash debit gold card, is aimed at giving subscribers increased service options via their mobile phones. There are other plans to increase the range of complimentary insurance services once the first phase has been successfully rolled out.




Olowude’s death a big blow to the insurance world – Aregbesola mourns

Osun 2014: FG Plans To Cripple My Government Before August 9 Election – Gov. Aregbesola
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has joined well-meaning Nigerians in commiserating with the family of late Remi Olowude, who passed on Sunday morning.
In a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola described the death of Olowude as a big blow to the insurance world, the State of Osun and Nigeria as a whole.
The governor said the late insurance guru was an invaluable asset in the insurance sector.
Aregbesola said Olowude’s death has undoubtedly robbed the nation and insurance sector of another great personality.
“The death of Chief Remi Olowude is a sad one to us in Osun. Here is a man of immense qualities, which he had employed to promote everything ideal in his lifetime.
“Olowude, unarguably, distinguished himself in the insurance and business sector to the extent that his name became a household name across the country.
“Throughout his sojourn on the earthly surface, he distinguished himself as a man of immense wealth, a perfect gentle man and an Omoluabi per excellence, which is what Osun epitomises.
“There is therefore, no gainsaying the fact that Olowude’s exit would create a huge gap in the business and insurance sector in Nigeria.
“I, on behalf of the government and people of Osun offer our heartfelt condolences to the immediate and extended families of deceased as well as the insurance family.
“We pray that the Almighty God repose his gentle soul in paradise,” Aregbesola said.

Banks, insurers, retailers hit by Post Office strike

Direct marketing takes a knock.

Direct marketing relies heavily on the Post Office for deliveries of letters, catalogues and parcels to targeted end-users and it is seriously impacted by the on-going Post Office strike, says Alastair Tempest, Chief Operating Officer of the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa.
This affects especially campaigns by banks, insurance companies and retailers, says Rafiq Sallie, managing director of Tunleys Mail and Print, one of four major bulk mailing houses that print, label and sort such material on behalf of clients and to Post Office specifications.
Sallie says at the moment the Post Office cannot accept all envelopes and packages - which results in delays in sending out the material and in the responses from the target market. That disrupts the marketing campaigns of Tunley’s clients and creates problems with storage space.
Tunleys dispatches more than three million letters per month on behalf of clients. The Post Office has representation at the Tunleys premises to ensure compliance with its specifications and smooth integration of the mailing process.
“At the moment the Post Office has asked us to bring our post as early as possible, before their staff members arrive, because that is when the problems start,” he says. As a result the company delivers as much as it can around 6am, but even so up to 90% of the material cannot be dispatched, Sally says.
“It is a double whammy for us as a mailing house and for our clients. Most clients cancel their campaigns until the problems have been sorted out,” he says. That is an opportunity lost and the revenue cannot be recovered later.
“One of our clients sends out 200 000 envelopes per week. He does weekly campaigns and these are his bread and butter. He has now asked us to split the envelopes he usually sends out from Johannesburg (where postal workers are striking), between KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town where there is no strike action. That means extra cost to transport the mail to those regions.” Sally estimates the cost increase at up to 20% and says that can wipe out the client’s margin.
He says there is no viable alternative to the Post Office. “They have the monopoly. Using couriers would be too expensive.”
He says the end-result is that the Post Office forces clients to stop mailing and convert to electronic communication.
Tempest says many e-commerce companies are also reliant on the Post Office for deliveries of purchased products. This is evident from the following notice on the Kalahari.com website:
“Post Office Strike
We've been informed that there could be some delays on post office deliveries at the moment.”
One client complained on the Post Office facebook page about the delay in the delivery of her prescription medication from a pharmacy.
A source within the Post Office told Moneyweb that many small businesses, including e-commerce enterprises, are complaining bitterly about the effect of the strike on them, including an e-commerce site distributing seed to clients.
Tempest says people move to other carriers, but none have the same reach as the Post Office in rural areas. “One can plug the hole temporarily, but not in the long run.”
He says the Post Office has a very strong brand and has strong support from direct mailers. Strike action however raises doubt about the reliability of its service and damages the brand.
He says in other countries postal services have been able to buck the trend of dwindling mail by moving into the delivery of e-commerce products. “If the South African Post Office is unreliable due to losses and strikes, it won’t be able to do the same.”
The Post Office said on its facebook page on Friday afternoon operations were back to normal at the Durban mail centre. “Witspos mail centre is operating at roughly 40% capacity. Germiston mail centre was also operational, but again not at full capacity. Tshwane Mail is unfortunately not accessible and remains closed. Operations in Cape Town have resumed but again, the mail centre is not yet working at full capacity.”
It also posted a long list of post offices closed in the Johannesburg area for the safety of customers and employees after threats of violence. They are Alrode, Bergvlei, Boipatong, Boitumelo, Booysens, Crown Mines, Delarey, Doornfontein, Dowerglen, Ebonypark, Edenpark, Eldoradopark, Evaton, Florida, Fordsburg, Germiston, Halfway House, Ironside, Johannesburg, Joubert Park, Kaalfontein, Kelvin, Kemptonpark, Khumalo, KwaXuma, Kwenzekile, Kyalami, Mafatsana, Masoheng, Morningside, Moroka, Phomolong, Pimville, Ridgeway, Robertsham, Southdale, Southgate, Tarlton, Tembisa North, Tembisa South, Vorna Valley, Witspos and Zuurfontein.



Reinsurers seek new areas of coverage in response to soft market

MONTE CARLO, Monaco — In response to predictions of a prolonged period of soft rates and a growing trend of cedents retaining more risk, reinsurers are seeking new areas of coverage in which they can grow.
Despite the soft market, many clients are adopting a long-term approach to buying reinsurance, and often are centralizing buying and using fewer reinsurers rather than opportunistically buying cheaper coverage, said Nick Frankland, Chicago-based CEO of Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C.'s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.
This means brokers need to “find ways to use capital creatively,” Mr. Frankland said.
“Ultimately, the goal has to be to grow the pie” of reinsurance business, said Eric Anderson, Chicago-based CEO of Aon Benfield Group Ltd., the reinsurance brokerage arm of Aon P.L.C.
“We have the opportunity to help reinsurers to help our primary clients” by devising new products, he said during the Rendez-vous de Septembre gathering earlier this month in Monte Carlo.
Many risks such as flood have almost evaporated from the commercial marketplace and been assumed by governments over the past 20 years, Mr. Andersen said.
Brokers are working with the market to narrow the gap between uninsured and insured losses, said Patrick Hartigan, team leader for treaty reinsurance at Beazley P.L.C. in London.
The industry is, and should be, attempting to close the gap between economic and uninsured losses, said Jamie H. Veghte, CEO of reinsurance operations at XL Group P.L.C.
“Eight years ago, the largest insurance companies retained about 85% of their risks and ceded the remainder” to the reinsurance market, said David Flandro, global head of strategic advisory at JLT Re, the reinsurance arm of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C., in New York. “Now, that retention level is in the 90s.”
Increased cedent retentions mean “the cake is a bit smaller,” said Torsten Jeworrek, CEO of reinsurance at Munich Reinsurance Co.
But there are areas into which Munich Re is seeking to grow, including U.S. primary specialty risk business and coverage for cyber, energy, supply chain, nonphysical damage business interruption, weather and reputational risks, he said.
Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. also will likely expand its primary book, said Albert A. Benchimol, CEO and president of the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer.
Net of reinsurance, about 52% of Axis's premiums are derived from primary business and that is likely to grow as reinsurance prices weaken, Mr. Benchimol said.
“The reinsurance market was very attractive from 2008 to 2013, so we were able to grow that book. Today, we are likely to see the insurance book grow more,” he said.
“Are we desperate reinsurers — like "Desperate Housewives' — the talk of the town? We are not desperate,” said Denis Kessler, CEO of Paris-based Scor S.E.
Victor Peignet, CEO for Scor's global property/casualty unit, said there are areas of risk that barely are covered now by the reinsurance market, such as cyber liability and environmental liability outside the United States.
While reinsurers are interested in covering such risks, close collaboration is needed with primary markets to develop appropriate products, he said.
Cyber coverage also is an area of opportunity for reinsurers, said Ulrich Wallin, CEO of Hannover Re S.E.
He said Hannover Re likely will set up a dedicated unit for cyber risk.
Initially, Mr. Wallin said, the opportunity is in the United States, because that is where the majority of stand-alone cyber insurance is bought.
There still are areas where reinsurers can find profitable business opportunities, said Brian Duperreault, CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd. in Bermuda.
He said the company, which is in discussions about a possible entry into the Lloyd's of London market by linking with managing agency Sportscover Underwriting Ltd., among other expansion goals, will pursue business where technological resources offer an advantage.
“There's a lot of business where technology can make a difference,” Mr. Duperreault said. “It would probably be more on the frequency side than the severity side, so in the beginning, we'll probably be looking more at frequency risks. But we won't rule out severity.”

ABANTU Holds Forum On Gender Equality In The National Health Insurance Scheme

ABANTU for Development, a West Africa sub-regional gender and policy advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation, has organised a forum on “Promoting Gender Equality and Social Responsiveness in the National Health Insurance Scheme”.

The forum provided a platform for female head porters (kayayei) and senior citizens to engage with the media to share their concerns on the NHIS and for policy makers to address them with the hope of promoting quality health care.
It formed part of the project, dubbed ‘Enhancing Gender and Social Responsiveness of the National Health Insurance Scheme: The case of Female Head Porters and Female Senior Citizens.’
The two-year project,  which is being implemented with support from  STAR-Ghana (Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana), a pooled funding mechanism for Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) and Parliament, aimed to  examine the extent of responsiveness of the NHIS in addressing the health needs of low-income, often-excluded and marginalised groups such as female head porters and the aged.
The project is expected to improve the Gender Responsiveness and Social inclusiveness (GESI) of the NHIS through research and policy advocacy.
It is expected to be an evidence-based policy advocacy initiative which combines research with policy advocacy and to facilitate enhanced advocacy on strengthening commitment and accountability of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in particular at national and district levels for the promotion of equity and inclusiveness in the health sector.
In a presentation, Ms Afua Gyapomaa, Project Co-ordinator, disclosed that a study conducted under the project showed that 52.3% of female head porters and 90.3% of senior citizens were registered under the NHIS. 

According to the findings of the study, Ms Gyapomaa said, the very nature of Kayayei work and their places of residence exposed them to health problems such as body pains and  infectious, and life style diseases.

The findings, she said, also indicated that discriminatory treatment was being meted out to female head porters as they were not treated as equal citizens—a situation which defeats the idea of promoting health as a right for all citizens is far from being realised.

She said the findings also showed that respondents were unhappy that they still paid for uncovered drugs and medical tests. 

According to the findings, Ms Gyapomaa said, there were no explicit provisions for women and men under the NHIS Act to ensure equity in a key policy area such as NHIS.  

ABANTU has, therefore, recommended the intensification of public education on the NHIS to erase all perceptions and the retraining for service providers on their professional standards.

ABANTU has also called on NHIS to capture and analyse sex disaggregated data to enable it respond to the specific needs of different groups of women and men, while gender-specific considerations should be developed and incorporated into the NHIS.
It also urged Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to play a more effective role in providing constructive critique of the scheme.

Furthermore, ABATU said, the NHIS policy that premiums be paid based on one’s income, should be fully implemented.

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)

Zimre eyes NIgeria's $1.5bn insurance market

ZIMRE Holdings Limited (ZHL) is seeking partners and has set its eyes on Nigeria’s $1,5 billion insurance sector, an executive said last week.
ZHL chief executive officer Albert Nduna said the investment holding company would look for partners in entering the Nigerian insurance market.
“We are not believers of 100% [shareholding]. We want to go to Nigeria and have identified people who have $100 million. They want somebody who runs. We bring a bit of capital and management. We say we are there, use us,” he said.
Nigeria has a minimum capital requirement threshold of $20 million for insurers.
Africa’s biggest economy has growth potential, but investors need to be deep pocketed to gain a foothold in the insurance sector.
According to statistics, the Nigerian insurance industry grew by 15% last year. Yet it has a penetration ratio of 0,5%. This, according to Nduna presents opportunities.
Nigeria has 42 non-life insurers, 585 insurance brokers and two reinsurers.
ZHL has operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Uganda. Nduna said the group was looking for opportunities on the continent.
Nduna said the group was optimistic that the disposal of non-core assets would be concluded soon to raise money to recapitalise the group’s operations.
In addition, a capital raising exercise was also underway to give operations more underwriting capacity.
Nduna said in the insurance sector size matters.
“You can’t be a small player. You find that people you are giving cover are bigger than you,” he said adding that local players should consolidate to build stronger institutions.
“Our wish is consolidation. Out of nine there should be not more than five or four reinsurers.”
Nduna said those that want to partner with ZHL operations should come as size matters and gives more capacity to clients.
In the half-year ended June 30 2014, ZHL slipped to an after tax loss of $0,11 million from $2,39 million in the same period last year.
ZHL said its share of the loss on agro industrial associate operations of $1,01 million had a negative impact on the overall performance of the group.
Nduna said the figures in the three months from June were not looking good, but the group was looking for a rebound in investment income.
“On the operational side, the premiums are not increasing as we would have liked. It’s guarded optimism that we have so that we succeed on investment income. We wouldn’t want a loss at the end of the year. We want a profit,” Nduna said.

Lidwala Insurance CEO Phiwayinkhosi quits

QUITS: Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza.

his resignation comes amid allegations that, he together with four others, defrauded the Swaziland Local Government Authority (SWALGA) a sum of E21 000

LIDWALA Insurance Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza has resigned.
His resignation follows charges of fraud which the CEO is currently faced with, alleged a source close to the matter.
He is said to have resigned last Friday amid the allegations of fraud the company wanted him to explain.
According to the source, the CEO was compelled to resign after the company had asked him to come clean on the allegations where it was said that he, together with four other councillors defrauded the Swaziland Local Government Authority (SWALGA) a sum of E21 605.30. This was money meant to purchase Royal Gifts (Tetfulo) by town councilors early this year.
Ginindza and the four councillors at that time formed the SWALGA presidential committee, which has since been replaced. 
The source alleged that Lidwala Insurance had given Ginindza an ultimatum to either come clean or face the consequences. 
Ginindza is said to have decided to do the honourable thing and resigned. Even though the source mentioned that the resignation had only been submitted, the company had not yet communicated anything to Ginindza.
When he was sought for comment yesterday, Ginindza could not be reached on his mobile phone as it rang unanswered. He is currently out on a E10 800 bail together with his co-accused.
The other four suspects are Mzobandzi Dlamini (35) of Siteki Town Council, Ayanda Sigudla (27) of Manzini City Council, Sithembile Mazibuko (42) of Mankayane Township and Dumsani Sibandze (48) of Nhlangano Town Council.
Ginindza joined Lidwala Insurance about three years ago after spending some time as SIPA CEO, a position he quit under a cloud of controversy.

n Lidwala Insurance Company is a locally owned short term insurance company.
n The Company opened its doors to the trading public in 2009, after acquiring its operating licence from the Registrar of Insurance & Pension Funds. 
n As the name implies, Lidwala Insurance Company comes at the back of strong capital and technical background with a philosophy deeply rooted in offering custom made Alternative Risk Transfer Solutions (ART) for the various insuring public. 

n Phiwayinkhosi Ginindza has gained an extensive management experience in various government departments and involved in the management and cooperated with a number of national, sub-regional and international institutions.
n He joined Government under the Ministry of Finance - Budget and Economic Affairs Department in 1996 and was later seconded to the Prime Minister's Office late 2001. 
n He was further seconded to the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2004 to represent the one of the Southern African Constituencies (namely, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia) at the Executive Board of the ADB. 
n He later joined the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority as Chief Executive Officer in 2007. 
n He was now the Chief Executive Officer for the Lidwala Insurance Company, an institution responsible for providing asset and human security to the insuring clients and risk management services, in the Kingdom of Swaziland.
n He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science with majors in Economics and Statistics and a Masters of Arts Degree in Economics majoring in Development Finance. He has attended short term training in a number of courses in various fields. 

Nigeria: Insurers Honour Irukwu

THE Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA, the umbrella organization for all insurance companies in Nigeria last week rolled out the drums to celebrate its founding father and founding chairman of the African Development Insurance Company (ADIC), now known as NSIA Insurance, Prof. Joe Irukwu who recently marked his 80th birthday.
The birthday dinner which was held at Villa Medici in Victoria Island was attended by leading personalities in the industry, including CEOs of insurance companies, CEOs of banks, members of the academia, as well as friends of Prof. Irukwu.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association, Mr. Godwin Wiggle described Prof. Irukwu as a leader, teacher, mentor and role model for all practitioners in not only the Nigerian insurance industry, but in the entire continent. He lauded his colossal impact in the industry, pointing out that without his contribution, the NIA may not have been. According to him, the foundation he laid has been instrumental to the association's progress.
"Prof. Irukwu is an enigmatic leader and trailblazer who scored many firsts in his distinguished career in insurance. His contributions in ensuring a sound, viable, respected and noble profession is unmatched. His contributions at the NIA Governing Council are so inspiring and instructive that members look up to him for guidance, especially when faced with difficult decisions," he said.
Wiggle also extolled Irukwu's literary contributions to the industry. "His scholarly works transcends our borders and have become a light unto the path of many insurers, not only in Nigeria but in the entire continent of Africa," he stated, describing him as the emporium of insurance history and knowledge.
In his own tribute, immediate past Chairman of the NIA, Mr. Wole Oshin described Irukwu as an inspiration to all in the insurance industry in the continent. According to him, his welcoming personality attracted both the young and old who sought him for his advice on various issues. He thanked Irukwu for the way and manner in which he resolved many thorny Council issues, adding that his combined knowledge for the workings of government, the academia and the insurance industry remain unmatched.
Speaking in the same vein, General Theophilus Danjuma (Rtd) who chaired the event, described Irukwu as a great Nigerian who has served the country well, not only in insurance, but also in its political development.
In his response, Prof. Irukwu thanked the NIA for the honour.
Prof. Joseph Ogbonnaya Irukwu (SAN) is a lawyer, educationist, chartered insurer, awards-winning author of over 20 books, and holds several professional and academic Fellowships. He is Nigeria's first Professor of Insurance and Insurance Law and a leading African authority on corporate governance, insurance and risk management.
Popularly known across the continent as 'Africa's Mr. Insurance,' he is the past President of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA), Founding President of the Professional Reinsurers' Association, past President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, past Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association, pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Students' Loans Board (now Education Bank) and pioneer Managing Director of Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation. He was also the President of the Nigerian Insurance Law Association, and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Review of Insurance Laws in Nigeria. He holds the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) and Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
In 1990 at the International Insurance Conference in Paris, he became the first African to receive the John S. Bickley Gold Medal for Excellence, the highest individual award in insurance and risk management. He is the founding chairman of the African Development Insurance Company (ADIC), now known as NSIA Insurance and the Cargo Defense Fund of the Nigerian Shippers Council. He is also the former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Nigeria: Ushering Community Based Health Insurance Scheme in Akwa Ibom

Who Was in Uyo — Recently, the Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was in joyous mood as they witnessed the launching of the Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) programme, the first CBHI to be launched in the Akwa Ibom State.
The primary health care facility at Ikoh Ide village in Ukana West Ward II, where the launching took place wore a new look. Dance groups dominated by women including masquerades were on ground. Visitors and indigents were treated to the peak by the dance groups.
The NHIS headquarters had earlier requested the Akwa Ibom state government to identify three local government areas in the state for support in the introduction of the pilot scheme following which Essien Udim was selected.
Speaking at the event, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Okpabio said: "At the beginning of our administration, we declared free health care for our children under the age of five years, pregnant women and elderly.
"Today, as we launch this CBSHI in our state, we have thrown open the door to make health care accessible to every person in our society. This scheme, we believe will relieve people of financial burdens in the process of seeking medical care, thus eliminating a major challenge which deprives people from accessing medical care.
"It should be noted that the out of pocket payment at the point care has over the years restrained access to medical care. The implementation of this CBSHI will help to resolve this challenge.
"My administration has in the last seven and a half years invested enormously in the health sector in order to increase accessibility to qualitative medical care and qualitative health care delivery."
He continued that: "I invite all of us to share our hope and faith that this event will further our days in the health sector and remain a mile stone in our uncommon transformation of the health care in our state.
"This faith and hope is anchored on our solitude that we are obliged by a social contract which exist between the government and the governed to ensure no person dies before his or her time and that we provide the best Cosmo health facility, conditions and specialists to meet the health care needs of our people.
"It is upon such a venture that we are gathered today for this community based social health insurance scheme. We believe that our antecedents will provide eloquent testimonies to our unrelenting commitment to ensure that our people get qualitative health care services."
Represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emem Bassey, the governor recalled that the progress towards the pilot programme of the CBHI began in 2011 with a number of structures and frameworks and that collaboration and technical assistance have been provided since inception by the Management Science for Health (MSH) which remains the key technical partner support to the state on CBHI and brings demonstrable experience and expertise from implementing CBHI across Africa, South America, South East Asia.
He said specific interventions have taken place to facilitate the successful take off. One of such is a learning tour facilitated and financed by MSH PLAN health was conducted to existing CBHI programmes in Lagos; presentations on the Kwara programmes were also made available for knowledge sharing.
Launching the scheme, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu noted that the programme was a collaborative effort of the Akwa Ibom State Government, the MSH and the National Health Insurance Scheme, stressing that, "we decided to walk along this platform to actually showcase the benefits of health insurance at the rural level."
Represented by the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Femi Thomas, the Minister said: "This scheme has been given a Presidential mandate of universal health coverage by 2015, that was in 2005, but I am sure it is clear to everybody that we are far from there. The coverage as it is today is still around single digit percentage; which is not something that we want to celebrate.
"So, there is this renewed mandate by Mr President that the scheme should actually cover at least 30 percent of the population by the end of 2015. And, then, this renewed effort to mobilize all Nigerians in their different locations and sectors to key into one health insurance programme or the other, so that we can achieve Mr President's mandate.
"In order to achieve this mandate, we have designed many programmes to cater for various socio-economic groups in the country. We have similarly developed operational guidelines spelling out the mechanism, accreditation procedures and requirements and quality assurance processes among others.
"Within nine year of official flag-off, the NHIS has covered the proportion of the population that still stands at a digit percentage as I mentioned earlier. This is largely made up of 98 percent of federal government employees.
"Similarly, over 1.6 million pregnant women and children under-five are being covered under the NHIS MDGs/Maternal and Child project in 14 states of the federation presently. Additional states are being engaged for this programme.
"The tertiary health insurance programme which has the potential to cover three million lives is also being repackaged. As at today, we have been able to cover 900,000 of this three million population. This spreads across 113 institutions in the country. The voluntary contribution programme of the scheme, along with various health plans of the organized private sector have been providing cover for those in the sector with their respective families.
"The other programme at the verge of being rolled out include cover for public primary schools in the country. This is a programme that will start as soon as the students resume school in first time of 2014/2015 session. The target population is about 24 million lives; and we know that Akwa Ibom will play its own role to ensure effective coverage for pupils in public primary school in the state."
He also announced that "our Mobile Health Insurance programme is on course and that the pilot work of the programme started in Lagos State. This is the first of its kind in the world.
"There are other programmes that are being developed right now; we have programme for the corps members. We have also been developing programme for political appointees, families of Nigerians in the diaspora, prisons inmates, indigent and retirees.
" Nigeria has very large informal sector and, therefore, it is clear to us that we can't achieve Mr President's mandate without delving into the informal sector. Therefore, the community-based health insurance remains a veritable tool for ensuring wider coverage, improved ownership, renewed culture of health insurance in Nigeria.
"The scheme is willing and ready to invest money and other resources to develop community-based health insurance all over the country.
"We have gone round the geo-political zones of Nigeria and we have done a full analysis of the factors that will facilitate sustainable health insurance in Nigeria. At this juncture, we are going to urge all state governments in Nigeria to embrace health insurance as the way forward; limit intervention programmes that are not sustainable and invest in health insurance which remains the only tool that is tested and acceptable worldwide in health care financing.
"The approach adopted by NHIS in the implementation of community-based health insurance took cognizance of community ownership, social solidarity inherent in the Nigerian people and cultures and the various socio-economic groupings in the country.
"The NHIS will subsidize the community-based health insurance programme for pregnant women and children under-five for the duration of the pilot.
"The scheme is working assiduously to cover the vulnerable group in the society. These are those who do not have the financial capability to contribute to the prepayment plans of the scheme. The creation of vulnerable group fund will certainly be the solution to providing cover for those groups; and that we have done."