In a compelling speech delivered at the Radisson Hotel in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, IPEN President Chuks Udo Okonta emphasized the critical role of consumer satisfaction in reshaping the landscape of the insurance and pension sectors. The event, attended by esteemed industry figures, including the Commissioner for Insurance/CEO of NAICOM, Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas, and the Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Ahmed, focused on the theme ‘Consumer Satisfaction, Key To Insurance and Pension Sectors Growth.’
The Radisson Hotel in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, witnessed a gathering of distinguished guests, industry leaders, and stakeholders on Thursday, 23rd November 2023, for the Insurance & Pension Editors of Nigeria (IPEN) Roundtable. Special guests included Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance/CEO of NAICOM, and Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Ahmed, Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom). The President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr. Babatunde Oguntade, and the Director of the Centre for Pension Rights Advocacy (CPRA), Mr. Takor Ivor, served as the Chairman of the Occasion and Keynote Speaker, respectively.
In his opening remarks, IPEN President Chuks Udo Okonta expressed gratitude to the sponsors, special guests, and attendees, acknowledging the support of those who believed in the concept of developmental journalism. Okonta reflected on the genesis of the IPEN group, conceptualized ten months prior with the aim of advancing developmental journalism in the insurance and pension sectors. Rather than serving as mere watchdogs, IPEN sought to be advocates for these sectors, with a primary focus on consumers and consumers’ groups.
The IPEN team embarked on a journey, conducting visits to various consumers’ groups to document their stories, perceptions, and interactions with insurance and pension products and services. These visits included engagements with the Amalgamation of Computer Village Associations, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), and the Guild of Marine Surveyors, among others.
While acknowledging that some feedback was unfavorable, Okonta noted that several consumers shared positive experiences that highlighted the transformative impact of insurance and pension services on their lives. This feedback was then presented to operators and regulators with the expectation that it would lead to improved service delivery in both sectors.
The IPEN President underscored the importance of the roundtable, themed ‘Consumer Satisfaction, Key To Insurance and Pension Sectors Growth,’ as a platform for critical stakeholders to address consumer pain points. He highlighted the ongoing repositioning of the insurance and pension sectors to enhance service delivery and deepen penetration.
Okonta drew attention to the anticipated milestones of the insurance and pension sectors, with the insurance industry expected to achieve a N1 trillion premium income target in the current 2023 financial year. However, he emphasized that these achievements, though significant, were long overdue and barely scratched the surface of the potentials existing in both sectors.
The speech also delved into the challenges facing the insurance sector, including a peculiar market environment, limited public awareness, and negative perceptions. Okonta emphasized that inadequate service delivery was a major obstacle to widespread acceptance of insurance.
Turning to the pension sector, Okonta highlighted the crucial role of service delivery in the success and sustainability of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), given its retail nature. He stressed that achieving service excellence in the sector required a collective effort from all stakeholders to ensure enhanced service delivery.
Experts from the insurance and pension sectors, along with relevant stakeholders and consumer groups, were invited to deliberate extensively on the theme. The event also featured the Insurfeel initiative of Inspenonline, offering participants a chance to win free insurance coverage through a ‘Tasting Before Buying’ strategy, inspired by ‘The Suya Seller Strategy.’
Okonta expressed gratitude to the sponsors, including the National Pension Commission (PenCom), the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), and various insurance companies. He urged participants to pay undivided attention to the discussions, with the hope that the conference would contribute to solving the challenges faced by insurance and pension consumers.
In closing, Okonta commended the IPEN unique family, acknowledging the significant contributions of key figures, including the Vice President, Ms. Ngozi Onyeakusi, the Secretary General, Zaka Khalid, the Director of Event, Mrs. Omobola Tolu-Kusimo, the Treasurer, Mrs. Bisi Bamishe, and the Honorable Adviser, Mr. Prince Cookey. Despite personal challenges, the IPEN team stood tall to ensure the success of the event, demonstrating a shared commitment to the cause of developmental journalism in the insurance and pension sectors. Okonta concluded by thanking all attendees for dedicating their time to the event.