By Bassey Udo
To deliver value to customers and the community, insurance brokers must continuously live and work purposefully towards a vision, and constantly learn about themselves, the Commissioner of Insurance, National lnsurance Commission (NAICOM), Oluwadare Sunday, tells Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB).
The Commissioner gave the advice at the 2022 annual retreat for NCRIB Chief Executive Officers of the insurance broking firms in the country.
The theme of the retreat was, “Business Strategy for Sustainability – Personal Mastery and Self Leadership”.
He said the retreat was always an opportunity to interact and engage on issues concerning the insurance sector and the brokerage arm in particular.
Describing it as timely, Sunday said it was being held at a period the country was grappling with the challenges in the sector, economy, nation and the globe were facing.
As heads of the Insurance sector, Sunday urged them to understand the need to continuously live and work purposefully towards a vision, in alignment with the values and constant learning about themselves and the reality of their existence.
He expressed the belief that personal mastery and self-leadership both require self-awareness, self-management and self-learning.
“How can we be true to ourselves if we don’t know who we are, what our values are, and what our vision is?
“In agreement with your theme for this retreat, it is apparent that no business entity will be able to survive unless it takes into consideration the community in which it operates, delivers consistent value to customers, maintains the highest standards of governance and ethics, and mitigating its overall impact on the environment,” he said.
As CEOs of the insurance broking profession, the NAICOM boss urged them to continually explore ways with other stakeholders to facilitate economic prosperity; ensure environmental sustainability, and social development.
He enjoined them to drive long term sustainable growth in the Nigerian insurance industry for the overall lasting benefits of the society, pertinent to the national and institutional growth.
The insurance industry as a business, he noted, was not outside of the same pressures as businesses in other industries or sectors.
However, he said the impact of unsustainable trends could create significant pressures on the industry’s profitability in the short and long run.
These include inadequate brokerage services to policyholders; poor claims handling services; price based competition, among players.
On the adverse effect of technology adverse, the Commissioner emphasized the need to explore inclusiveness via insurtech, adding that lack of innovative products to meet customer’s needs, and concentration of operations in few locations.
He said focus has always been on big ticket businesses, like oil and gas, aviation, etc, thus the need for diversification, while also identifying poor risk governance.as well as poor distribution channels and skills as facrors ro be considered seriously.
“As CEOs, you need to be mindful of the need to entrench a sound “Business Strategy for Sustainability” as many insurance businesse claims, but without a realistic and effective sustainable business strategy. Suffice it to say that such businesses are unlikely to deliver the gains that more sustainable performance could bring through the determination of their activities, behaviour, products, services.
He said a detailed understanding of the environmental and social context in which they operate was very important.
“For the Nigerian insurance industry, the way forward is a move towards changing the narrative and embracing:Transparency. Engagement of all stakeholders. Better Innovative Products New sources of Revenue. Improved Claims service.Use of technology for inclusive insurance.
Diversification of business base.
Improved Governance, “he said.
The imperative for a sound personal mastery and self-leadership, he said, cannot be over-emphasized, as companies globally are under pressure from multiple stakeholders to adopt sustainable business practices in which the insurance broking arm is not an exception.
“It is imperative to reiterate that the road to implementing and improving a business strategy for sustainability will differ for various business entities, but with ingenuity, perseverance and cooperation, they can achieve the desired result.
“As an arm of the insurance sector, your collective resolve to ensure business sustainability and collective growth and development with other arms of the industry will determine how far we can all go in achieving industry wide stability.
He assured that NAICOM was committed to continuously development and growth of the Nigerian insurance sector thus, always prepared to collaborate with all stakeholders in promoting and entrenching good business strategies for sustainability of the Nigerian Insurance Industry.
Some of the initiatives of the Commission include teaching out to the states; reaching out to agencies of government; enhancing rechnology infrastructure; bringing the Nigerian insurance industry into the mainstream of continental and global relevance.