The future of Nigerian insurance industry hinges on young professionals, who are expected to leapfrog the sector that is presently in need of rapid transformation. Country Director, African Association of Young Insurance Professionals (Nigeria Chapter) Oyelere, Oluwaseun Isaac, in this interview with Chuks Udo Okonta, speaks on how he intends to entrenched lasting impacts in the sector.
What is your vision for Young Insurance Professionals Nigeria Chapter?
To build a sustainable association of visionary young insurance professionals which will continuously promote insurance awareness, inspire positive and progressive change, build the capacity and develop future leaders with strong commitment towards the growth and development of the Nigerian and African Insurance Industry.
What would you do to ensure youths like you remain in insurance practice?
With this platform, we are offering all our young insurance professionals an inclusive engagement, objective assurance and continued reassurance about the hugely promising future of insurance in Nigeria through our unique programmes, which include Insurance Awareness, Media Relations, Educational Retreats/Conferences, Professional Development and Support, Leadership and Mentorship, Strategic Partnership, Panel Discussions, In-School Empowerment, Industry Research and Analysis and the YIPs Meet ‘n’ Mix event.
What are your education and awareness plans?
In order to contribute to the ongoing drive towards increased insurance penetration through insurance awareness initiatives and programmes, we will – embark on result-oriented and audience targeted insurance publicity and outreaches, insurance public knowledge improvement and trust advocacy activities, contribute to insurance bulletins and researches, secure strategic alliance with media outlets to air insurance discussions, organize insurance related competitions, engage in social responsibility activities and align with national, African and global events amongst other initiatives.
Many young people don’t seem to buy insurance, how would you change this?
The younger people do not seem to buy insurance either due to poor knowledge of insurance, or lack of knowledge of about the insurance products that meet their needs, or the feeling of no incentives in their purchase of insurance. Therefore, as part of our contribution towards changing this course, we will engage in youth targeted insurance awareness and promote the development of innovative, tailored-made and incentivized insurance products for the younger people.
What are those things you want to change in insurance practice?
The perception of insurance and the insurance profession, professionalism, bridge the knowledge gap, promote innovation, drive for resilience and sustainability.
Where do you want government to get involved in changing the style of insurance practice?
The government should be involved in driving compulsory insurance, entrench insurance in government policies, initiatives and programmes, increase its support for insurance education, deepen collaborations within the insurance industry in the creation of more social insurance schemes, increasingly drive financial inclusion with focus on insurance, continue to provide a more enabling environment that will stimulate insurance demand and the provision of more innovative and technology-driven insurance services.
What are your expectations from NAICOM in growing insurance business?
NAICOM should continue its pursuit of a strong, stable and globally competitive insurance industry. There should be policies that will increase the growth of younger professional leaders. There should be continued review and strengthening of the recently issued guidelines for Sandbox Operations in order to meet the accelerating pace of technological development. There should be consideration of ESG Declarations for the insurance market.
What is your message to young people like you as regards insurance?
I challenge them to show patriotism towards our insurance industry. I encourage them to be a voice of professionalism and positive leadership, therefore, in all actions, behaviours and practice, I enjoin our young insurance practitioners to dethrone unethical and unprofessional practices. The Nigerian Insurance Industry needs our commitment towards its growth and development, therefore, in our respective companies, I encourage us to be relentlessly committed towards the success of our employers (DON’T BE THE WEAK LINK IN THE CHAIN OF PROGRESS). We need to continue to build our capacity by seeking new and advanced skills and knowledge so that local insurance practice can become more globally competitive (DON’T WAIT TO BE TRAINED, TRAIN YOURSELF). We need to learn about and embrace new technologies that will stimulate the industry’s drive for flexible insurance offerings, inclusion and penetration. The industry is need of our passion for the growth insurance awareness. I charge us to be more collaborative, creative, dynamic and prepared to take advantage of future opportunities. Lastly, let us ACT RIGHT always, let us learn from our present leaders and let us be involved in activities that will project our industry to the African Continent and the World at large.
Where do you want insurance practitioners to focus more to boost insurance business?
To boost insurance business, insurance practitioners should be focused on strategic and innovative Insurance Awareness and Trust Advocacy, Career Development for the upcoming and existing insurance professionals, Creating Opportunities for growth, expansion and development, Leadership for the Better Tomorrow, Mentoring, Capacity Building for global competitiveness, Networking that transcend the insurance industry and our local insurance market, Promoting Industry Resilience, Sustainable Insurance and Leveraging Technologies.
Most young people in insurance agency network don’t seem to see future in the practice, what should be done to reverse the trend?
With the global drive for financial inclusion and the increased focus of personal insurances for the growth of insurance penetration in Africa, which is increasingly supported by rapid advancement in enabling technologies, it is evident that the retail insurance market is fast becoming highly veritable and possess an avalanche of opportunities. Interestingly, one of the major drivers of the retail market is the Insurance Agency structure.
However, the practice of insurance agency in Nigeria seems to be hampered by ineffective policies and poor agency structures, poor products, poor incentives or remunerations, poor knowledge of insurance products by agents which sometimes lead to over-promising or misrepresentation of product offerings, increased lack of integrity, unethical practices and unprofessional conducts of agents, low investment in insurance knowledge acquisition by the agency, ineffective agent recruitment process, low focus by Agency operators on people leadership for agents, and little or no career growth options for the agents by operators amongst other factors. These challenges have often culminated in pacy death of Agency Operations in some insurance companies, thus affecting the penetration of insurance.
In order to reverse this trend, the Nigerian insurance industry, especially the Retail/Agency Operators, must strategically and innovatively take the challenges mentioned above by designing stronger agency structures that are driven by highly effective and flexible policies, adopt an open and trusted recruitment process; incentivizing agency operations with highly motivating reward systems, establishing open and reliable career growth plans and options that would agents to move into better terms of employment or even full employment options based on set qualification and promotion process; inspiring leadership among agents; relentlessly focusing on training and retraining of agents (supported by strong training programmes); designing insurance products that are innovative, saleable, consumer-centric and competitive in order to motivate sales and boost the performance of the agents.
Oyelere, Oluwaseun Isaac
African Association of Young Insurance Professionals (Nigeria Chapter)
Oyelere Oluwaseun is the winner of the “Maiden AIO-YIPs Africa NextGen Insurance Award 2022” – an Excellence Award in recognition of his excellent contributions to the development of Insurance on Africa.
He is a Manager and the Team Lead, Financial Institutions & Direct Corporate SBU at Linkage Assurance Plc. He is the Current Chairman – Accident Offices Committee of the Nigerian Insurers Association and a member of the Advisory Committee on Fire and Accident Insurances of the Association. For the Chartered Insurance Institution of Nigeria, he currently serves as a Member of the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Committee of Council and the Steering Sub-Committee of the Finance and General-Purpose Committee.
He is highly skilled in General Insurance Underwriting, Technical Analysis & Strategies, Business Process Development & Management; Business Analysis, Business Support & Relationship Development; Project & Innovation Management; Quality Assurance & Control, Team Development & Management and Enabling Management Efficiency with enviable leadership, top-flight consensus-building and problem-solving skills.
He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, a Graduate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, a Member of the Nigerian Actuarial Society, and a Student Member of the Certified Actuarial Analyst (Global).
He holds a Master of Business Administration (Finance) from the University of Lagos, Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Osun State, a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Insurance from the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos and a National Diploma (ND) in Insurance from The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State. He earned a Credit Qualification from the Young Insurance Professional program (YIPP) sponsored by Africa Re in partnership with the London School of Insurance.
He is excellence personified and epitomizes professionalism. He is passionate about the development and sustainability of insurance practice in Nigeria and Africa.
He possesses acclaimed zest for sustainable development and inclusiveness.
He expresses unflinching support for academic and professional excellence. Testaments to these unique identities are the notable awards that he earned.