Insurance, Papers

KEY NOTE ADDRESS BY MOHAMMED KARI , COMMISSIONER FOR INSURANCE/CHIEF EXECUTIVE , NATIONAL INSURANCE COMMISSION AT CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE INSURANCE 2015 PROFESSIONAL FORUM

CFI 3Kari

It is always an honour to address my professional colleagues. It is my
pleasure to yet again welcome you to this significant Insurance Professional
Forum which also doubles as the first since the advent of the government
of President Muhammed Buhari the thrust of whose administration is
“Change”. For this Government to succeed in achieving the change agenda,
all relevant sectors, organizations, householders and individual must be
prepared to make impactful contributions to the desired outcome. It is
against this background that I will speak to the apt theme “The Nigerian
Business Environment: Implication for Insurance Industry.
The understanding of the assumptions that defines the dynamism of a
business environment could not be unconnected with change in the world,
the attendant change in consumer needs and behavioural theory of firms
and industries. The world is currently going through unavoidable economic
and political uncertainty than has ever been. The situations in the world and
other domestic factors such as insecurity, corruption and unemployment
have created a challenging situation in the Nigerian environments which the
Government is committed to addressing. Importantly, the Nigerian business
environment had been predominantly characterized by change in the
economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal and political environments.
An aerial view of the audience here today gives me the delight that we have
key players in the sector to aid the various discussions towards better
articulation and internalization of the changing environment and how best
the industry could leverage on it to achieve desired growth.
The challenges of huge competence deficit, corruption, low level of
innovation, overdependence on the Oil Sector leaves all asunder to
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phantom the best soluble buyouts and how to harness the opportunities
inherent therein.
In consequence of the effect of uncontrollable changes in the macroeconomic
environments affecting our businesses, organizations and entities
either passively or negatively, we are therefore implored to map-out
adaptive strategies and identify the opportunities inherent in the
“Change”. As far as Innovation is concerned we need to improve the content
and quality of our services. In addition to our quest for innovation, changes
in Companies business model must be exploited. The earlier we realized
that the music has changed and thus the need to adjust our dancing steps,
the better for us all.
Those that knew me before I became Commissioner can bear witness that I
have always harped on the need to embrace professionalism as our Core
Value in the Industry. Almost Fourty years in my career I still have not seen
a reason to change that stance. Insurance Practitioners must begin to reflect
professionalism both in their words and deeds by upholding the tenets,
ethics and principles of the Profession.
As professionals, we are expected to invest in our personal education
beyond what our employers would provide. Furthermore, we are expected
to imbibe the spirit of professionalism in the discharge of our responsibility
to our employers. I can almost hear someone ask what happens when our
employers force as to do an act that is unprofessional. To such I will say, you
should exercise a professional judgement as when the act is found out, both
you and the employer are sanction able.
We have seen unbridled, unsustainable and technically unsound rates being
offered by supposedly insurance professionals more out of the need to
meet a target than to properly underwrite. Professional Brokers takes
business from contraptions called “sub-agents” who by the way are not
registered by anyone. Premiums are loaded, discounted, retained or
returned with impunity. Market indiscipline among practitioners, Boards
and Management conflicts may degenerate to threatening the stability of
some of our Companies. The implication of such practices on the insurance
industry in this new Nigerian business environment is the gradual
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diminution of our professional relevance as a veritable shield for the
financial sector of the economy. We must all have zero tolerance for these
unethical vices. Most of the actions of our professionals today are actually
criminal.
The Institute has a role to play in addressing the identified need of the
industry. It is therefore my expectation that the Institute ensure that the
Code of Ethics is reintroduced and strictly implemented. The Disciplinary
Committee of the Institute most be hungry for work. Please feed it. The
scope of the Institute’s courses and mandatory professional educational
programmes must make the study of the code mandatory and topical issues
for the benefit of its members, especially in the face of new Nigerian
business environment. Continues appropriate courses and programmes
together with those provided by other service providers will enhance
members’ competences.
Whilst the Commission will remain focused on the issues relevant for the
protection of policyholders, I want to state that the Commission is akin to
support the Institute in its drive for high standard of professionalism and
will take definite steps to ensure that this is achieved, sufficiently to grow
and develop our Market. The Commission is also empowered in law to
enforce a Code of Ethics. If the Industry does not, then the Commission has
no option then to criminalise the enforcement.
My professional colleagues, the Industry certainly cannot achieve the
success it craves especially from the deliverables of the Summit and the
Conference recently held, in an atmosphere of distrust, chaos,
unprofessionalism and suspense without unity of purpose.
As I round off my address, I will leave you with questions which I know
would have been answered at the end of this Forum;
• What does change mean to the Insurance Industry in Nigeria?
• How prepared is the industry to the opportunities and returns
offered by the changing Nigerian Business Environment?
• Could the industry continue to conduct its business as usual and
expect a different result?
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• What are the imperatives of Corporate Social Responsibility in the
face of changing environments?
• How best do we enhance the Insurance Value Chain in our quest for
Market Penetration and Insurance density?
Distinguished participants, suffice it to say that the changing Nigerian
business environment offers insurance industry the opportunity to re-adjust
its governance, portfolio management, operational structures and leverage
on regulatory direction of the Commission. It is my expectation that we
learn from our past, be realistic with our present “Change Rhythm” and
project into the future with calculated assumptions, simulations,
forecasting that secures the future of our business.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you a successful deliberations.
Mohammed Kari
Commissioner for Insurance

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