THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY MRS. FUNMILAYO BABINGTON-ASHAYE ON THE OCCASION OF HER INVESTITURE AS THE 48TH PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL OF THE CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF NIGERIA

THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY MRS. FUNMILAYO BABINGTON-ASHAYE ON THE OCCASION OF HER INVESTITURE AS THE 48TH PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL OF THE CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF NIGERIA ON JULY, 25TH 2017 AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, PLOT 52, KOFO ABAYOMI STREET, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS.

PROTOCOLS
The outgoing President, Lady Isioma Chukwuma, Past Presidents of the Institute, Captains of the Insurance Industry, and other distinguished guests.
I am humbled and deeply honoured to stand before you today. It is not by my might but the grace of God that I stand before you as the 48th President of the Institute and in particular, the 6th female President. The presence of my professional colleagues, mentors and friends from all walks of life is indeed a mark of honour for me and a show of support which I will forever cherish. When I joined the Governing Council of the Institute in 2006, the thought on my mind was to contribute my quota to its growth and development. It is indeed a great honour to be found worthy and elected the President of the Institute.

MY APPRECIATION
My journey was not without numerous challenges some of which were the usual ones thrown at professionals by the vagaries of the Nigerian economy and others peculiar to female professionals. It has not been an easy journey but it has been rewarding because I have always enjoyed the grace of God.
Today is not a day to recount these challenges that once dotted my path, but to celebrate the victories orchestrated by God who has been wonderful in my life. He has always blessed me with wonderful people who were used to take me up the ladder of life. These people are too numerous to mention, but sincerely, I thank you all for the roles you played in my life. The story of my life cannot be complete without the mention of the two most important men in my life, that is, my late father Mr. Alfred Olubunmi Akinbami and my late husband Prince Abiodun Adebajo Babington-Ashaye.

I cannot thank you enough my dear husband. You were my inspiration, my strength and my pathfinder in the business world. He was my husband and teacher on whose shoulder I leaned in times of anguish. You led me on to conquer when I thought I had been conquered. I am most grateful to you my Prince for the lessons of life and the spirit of an amazon which you helped me imbibe. You prepared me for this day because it was what you wished for me when you became the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN). I thank you and pray that you continue to rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord.

I also wish to acknowledge most respectfully the efforts of my sweet mother Mrs. Esther Olatunde Akinbami who laboured so hard to make me and my siblings a success story. Maami, I appreciate your motherly love and strength of character with which you carried on after the death of our father, Mr. Alfred Olubunmi Akinbami. My dear and loving father, I attest to it that your loving wife, my dear mother has delivered on the promise to bring your dreams for your children to fruition.

MY JOURNEY

My journey into the world of Insurance, unlike most of my colleagues was not by accident. I attended Lagos State College of Science and Technology now known as Lagos State Polytechnic where I emerged as the best graduating Higher National Diploma Student in the Insurance Department in 1987. I completed the Associateship examination of the Chartered Insurance Institute United Kingdom and became a Chartered Insurance Practitioner in 1988.

My career in the Insurance Industry started in 1987 when late Ikidero employed me at Royal Exchange Assurance Plc. I had the wonderful opportunity of working with notable Insurance professionals who guided my path to becoming a well-grounded insurance practitioner. Please permit me to appreciate Alhaji N.O. Adiro in particular for his tutorship. That young lady you taught the rudiments of insurance practice is today the President of the Institute. I thank you for your support which shaped my professional career. I also thank late Mr. Jonah Ikhidero who actually employed me at Royal Exchange Assurance Plc.

I moved to Cornerstone Insurance Plc as a pioneer staff in 1991 on the invitation of Late Tunji Ogunkanmi and rose to the position of Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer. I had a brief stint at Nicon Insurance Plc when I was appointed an interim Managing Director by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Today, I am the promoter and Managing Director of Risk Analyst, an Insurance Broking firm.

I joined the Institute in 1992 when I was elected an Associate and was elevated a Fellow in 2004. I have been a member of the Institute for 25 years and have been actively involved in many of its activities serving on several committees such as Audit and General Purposes Committee, Activities Committee, Strategy Advisory Committee, Education Committee, Chairman Organizing Committee of the Inaugural Insurance Industry Mega Conference, and presently the Chairman, Board of the College of Insurance and Financial Studies.

The efforts of the founding fathers of the Institute cannot go unmentioned. I salute their foresight and courage to establish the Institute in 1959. While some of them are not with us, we are honoured to have a handful of them in our midst today. Thank you for this legacy of professionalism.

I thank the members of the Governing Council for their conviction that I am worthy of being the President of the Institute. While assuring you that I would perform to your expectations, I ask for your support on this call to duty.

MY PROJECT
The theme of my tenure as the 48th President of the Institute is Insurance: Imperative for Education and Enlightenment.
The choice of this theme was informed by the need to confront lack of general awareness which is the greatest challenge facing our profession and the Industry. People lack knowledge about Insurance and its importance in all human endeavours including business undertakings. This manifests in poor patronage of insurance products by the public and the unwillingness to choose Insurance as a course of study by the youths. As an Institute, we must continue to take deliberate steps to address these issues with a view to repositioning the profession in the psyche of the people. We must build on the past efforts of our predecessors and the awareness drive of other stakeholders in the industry.

Accordingly my tenure will make Insurance awareness and enlightenment a common issue to be driven by all stakeholders in their various domains. The only way to educate the Nigeria public is through enlightenment which is best achieved when every practitioner is made an ambassador of the Industry. I have in preparation for my tenure engaged some of my professional colleagues to transform my thoughts into achievable programmes. I thank my investiture Committee chaired by Mrs. Seyi Ifaturoti, a past president of the Institute for their selfless service. The potential of this approach will be achieved during my tenure through the following programmes which will be the main thrust of my presidency.

1. REGULAR ADVOCACY
2. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
3. ENHANCED INSURANCE AWARENESS
4. CONTINUED EFFORTS ON INSTITUTE’S BUILDINGS
5. REORGANISATION OF THE SECRETARIAT

The details of these five point agenda will be too voluminous and time consuming to be presented here. However permit me to present a summary of our action plan to attain the desired objectives.

1. REGULAR ADVOCACY
Regular Advocacy and press releases on the role of insurance in the security of lives, property and wealth creation. We intend to drive public awareness of insurance and help to rebuild the public confidence and trust through the activities of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria.

2. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
▪ Formulation of competency framework for all professionals
▪ Modification of the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) programmes to create more opportunities for all practitioners to attain regular attendance.
▪ Publication of an Insurance E-Newsletter on regular basis to disseminate information on emerging development in the Industry as a strategy for renewing the technical and professional knowledge of our members.
▪ International collaborations with similar professional bodies would be rejuvenated in order to offer the Institute and its members the opportunities to interface on global standards.
▪ The College of Insurance and Financial Management would be challenged to organise more relevant programmes in collaboration with other stakeholders in the industry, to provide qualitative education and training for persons engaged in the practice of insurance, provide consultancy services and undertake research.

3. ENHANCED INSURANCE AWARENESS
▪ Distribution of Insurance Textbooks to Secondary Schools, Tertiary Institutions, States and National Libraries.
▪ Engagement of Secondary School Students, undergraduates and new graduates through career fairs.
▪ Provision of the required assistance for the accreditation of at least two Insurance Departments in tertiary institutions to promote the study of Insurance.

These would be achieved with the support of all Stakeholders, particularly National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Insurance Companies and Individual Members. Companies would be approached to adopt schools across the nation to which books would be distributed. It is believed that much would be achieved with the participation of Insurance Companies and individuals.

4. CONTINUED EFFORTS ON INSTITUTE’S BUILDINGS
Concerted efforts were made by the last three Past Presidents to resuscitate the development of the Institute’s building on Victoria Island. Their effort represents our determination to complete the project. My knowledge of their endeavours makes it imperative for me to applaud them and give the firm assurance that I will continue from where they stopped. I am as committed as you are to the completion of the project. The decision of the Governing Council to adopt the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model to fund the project would be vigorously pursued. We shall continue with the renewed enthusiasm that started with the tenure of Mr. F.K. Lawal, through the presidency of Mr. Bola Temowo and sustained by the immediate Past President, Lady Isioma Chukwuma, to ensure considerable progress on the project.
Related to this is the renovation of the National Secretariat at Ebute-Metta, in Lagos Mainland. It is almost impossible to turnaround the area, but I promise to conclude the total renovation of the building started by my predecessor in addition to this, I will upgrade the facilities to enhance services delivery.
5. REORGANISATION OF THE SECRETARIAT

The 2015 KPMG Report on the strategic action plan to reposition the Institute for relevance would be further implemented. The lofty ideas to grow the Institute and improve the relevance of the Insurance industry would be best achieved when the Institute’s workforce is well equipped and motivated.

My presidency would mould the Institute’s workforce to deliver on the key initiative of my action plan.

MY PLEDGE
The honour done to me today is a call to duty to contribute my quota to the growth of the Institute and the Industry. The task of leading the Institute is a collective responsibility for me and all stakeholders in the Insurance Industry.

I have sworn before all of you in the name of the Almighty God to keep aglow the torch which was lit in 1959 to promote insurance professionalism. I am not unmindful of the enormous task I have ahead of me but with your support, I declare my preparedness to resolutely drive the Institute on the part of development. So help me God and God bless you.

……………………………
Mrs. Funmilayo Babington-Ashaye FCII,FIIN
48th President/Chairman of Council
July, 2017

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