WELCOME SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIAN COUNCIL OF REGISTERED INSURANCE BROKERS, MR KAYODE OKUNOREN, FCIB, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 2016 NATIONAL INSURANCE BROKERS CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION, HOLDING AT THE TRANSCORP HILTON, ABUJA
• The Special Guest of Honour and Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON
• The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun
• The Commissioner for Insurance, Alh. Mohammed Kari
• Lead Paper Presenter and former Minister of State for Finance, Dr RemiBabalola
• Distinguished Discussants
• Heads of Government Institutions here present
• Distinguished delegates
• Ladies and Gentlemen
• Gentlemen of the Media
I am most delighted to welcome all delegates to the 2016 National Insurance Conference & Exhibition of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers holding here at the Transcorp Hilton in the Federal Capital Territory. This Conference which has earned a slight change in its nomenclature, due to some exigencies of the time, has come to stay as one of the most notable gathering of Insurance Professionals, particularly Insurance Brokers on a yearly basis. It is worthy of note that decisions or opinions canvassed at this platform in the past have constituted significant input into decision making process of government and my hope is that this year’s event would not be an exception.
I hereby appreciate the attendance of notable dignitaries who have been invited to grace this event.
The choice of The Future Today as the theme of this year’s conference could not be more apt, in view of the on-going socio economic challenges facing our country, necessitating a reflection on the past, with a view to projecting into the future. Although the theme is broad and profound, it is my hope that the lead paper presenter would draw a significant link between the experiences and state of the insurance industry today, with a view to projecting into the future.
Suffice it to state that the insurance industry as we speak has not been able to play its required roles as driver of national economy, due to multifarious reasons that I would not be inclined to rehash here. The Today of the industry is dotted by challenges which must be surmounted, so that the future does not repeat the present. This calls for great attention and diligent contributions from all delegates to allow us collectively chart the desired course forward. It is then we can further underscore the adage that “the future actually belongs to those who see tomorrow today”. I am most delighted that we have, to do justice to the paper, one of the most versatile financial guru, Board Room icon and former Minister of State for Finance, Dr Remi Babalola. Definitely, Dr Babalola would bring his enormous knowledge and expertise to bear on the discourse.
Similarly, the second session will feature “Insurance Industry and Ethical rebirth” which would be led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association and one of the finest crops of insurance practice, Mr Eddie Efekoha.There is no better time than now to log the industry into the new thinking of the present administration on socio-economic and ethical rebirth than now.
As critical players and stakeholders in the Nigerian society, the insurance industry has a role to play in ensuring that the Nigerian Project works again. Let me,therefore, applaud His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR for initiating the Change Begins with Me project as a way of re-orientating Nigerians. Definitely, there is no way Nigeria would become better if such laudable efforts are not made to retool the mindsets of Nigerians. The consideration of this theme on the part of our Council underscores the place which strategic professional bodies could play in the success of the reorientation project.
I would not end my speech without sparing a few words for the newly released Code of Corporate Governance by the Financial Reporting Council. Although we are all aware of the need for strong corporate governance rules in ensuring sanity in business, the application of the rules with regards to the position of CEOs of Insurance Broking firms who have more than 8 staff in their companies would do the economy no good.
We like to reiterate here that Insurance Broking firms are professional institutions like the law firm, or the accounting firms, where services are personalised or based on the expertise of a few professionals within the organisation.
We have instances where there are just two to three core insurance professionals in some broking firms, but with more than 15 support or non-technical staff. Asking the Managing Director or and the Executive Director to leave such companies on the attainment of 10 years in office will create a big vacuum as well as threaten the continual existence of such firms. Moreover, we must come to terms with the fact that the insurance industry is still quite fragile and challenged by insufficient manpower.
It is the hope of our Council that the FRC would continue to be open to more constructive dialogue that would further make the rules more amenable to change or moderation, in view of the peculiarity of the Nigerian economy.
Once again, I thank you all for listening as I wish you a delightful Conference.
KAYODE OKUNOREN, FCIB
President/Chairman, Governing Board