Finance Minister Urges Insurance Sector Operators to Leverage on FG Support to Boost Sector Image

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Zainab-AhmedThe Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has urged insurance sector operators to leverage on the current support of the sector by the federal government to boost the image of the sector by impressing in the heart of the general public and businesses the value of insurance as a financial instrument for protection and sustainability.

The Finance Minister, also wants the leadership of all arms of the insurance sector to see the on going support of government to the insurance industry as a challenge to boost the image of the sector and move positively closer with a view to increase its visibility through efficient service delivery.

Amned, who spoke as a Guest of honour at the investiture of Oluwarotimi Edu as the 21st President and Chairman, Governing Council of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), held in Lagos charged the insurers to sustain and improve upon the harmonious working relationship between the NCRIB and other stakeholders in insurance industry.

“This will in turn improve the fragile image and perception of the sector by the populace. The incoming President and Chairman in Council of the NCRIB, Mr Rotimi Edu, your deep knowledge about the industry, versatility and pedigree and recently a graduate of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) which earned you membership of the Institute (mni) certificate gives me the confidence that the council under your leadership will be a formidable partner to your regulator the National Insurance Commission and the government in the implementation of its various policies and initiatives, “she said.

She said the federal government was not unaware of the challenges confronting businesses including the insurance sector adding that the government is doing so much through various initiatives and policy rearrangements to ensure stability in the system.

“The world has moved many places ahead of Africa in so many fronts in insurance practice and governance. The insurance sector is a knowledge-based industry which must take issue of training of its members seriously in order to update itself with current realities across the globe.
According to the Finance Minister, by training and retraining the sector can adequately equip practitioners with modern techniques and practice from the traditional ways of doing business to more robust, all-inclusive and diversified channels of reaching our huge potential client, “she added.

She charged insurance brokers especially members of the NCRIB to be open to initiatives including the adoption of relevant technologies aimed at making the insurance market robust and all-inclusive especially at a time that the Commission’s cardinal objective was centered on deepening penetration and developing the market.

“It is worthy to say that extreme times like this require extreme measures to reach out to the nooks and crannies of the country.
Partnerships and collaborations must be sustained with other stakeholders we perceive as progress partners in consumption, supply or distribution of insurance products in the country. The market is indeed in a dare need of serious partnership, collaboration and synergy if truly the industry wants to make the required impact, “she stated.
According to her, the efforts being made so far by the commission required the industry players to actively get involved.

She observed that there was huge market for insurance in every state of the federation but that lack of or inadequate presence of insurers and intermediaries may have hindered uptake of insurance in those places.
She said, “I want to challenge the intermediaries that there is huge untapped market in the retail business and I urge your members to learn new ways to reach out and explore this area of huge potential for inclusiveness.”

She assured the brokers of the commitment and support of the present administration to the development of the insurance industry and make it a veritable instrument for national growth and development.
She however said there was need for the contribution of the insurance sector to the nation’s GDP to become significant for recognition.

She noted that her effort no doubt assisted in mobilising the insurance industry’s support to the federal government in its fight against the Covid 19 pandemic

“I must also say that your tenure is a remarkable one that has given the industry some level of stability and successes. The insurance industry’s swift response to the settlement of claims that arose from the #Endsars crisis which I am told is over N9 billion cannot go without mention on occasion like this. The insurance industry has done well but can do more, “Ahmed stated.

In his acceptance speech, the new NCRIB president, Rotimi Edu, promised to focus on improving professionalism and welfare of the NCRIB members during his two-year tenure.

He said having engaged in wide range consultations amongst members of the council and some seasoned and well-meaning professionals; he had come up with ‘Broker Centrism’ as the focus of his tenure as president.
“This focus connotes that the insurance brokers’ welfare, progress and development, irrespective of their location and sizes, would be the vortex of all decisions and actions that would be taken throughout my tenure,” he said

According to him, the council under his leadership will also focus on financial solvency, strategic government and institutional relations, mentoring, corporate visibility susteinance and secretariat development.
He stated that the council’s executives would open channels of training needs for members within and outside the country and reinforce ties with existing institutions.

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