SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN COUNCIL OF REGISTERED INSURANCE BROKERS, MR. KAYODE OKUNOREN, FIIN, FCIB AT THE FEBRUARY 2016 EDITION OF NCRIB MEMBERS’ EVENING HELD ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016 IN LAGOS.
• Top Management team of Universal Insurance Plc,
• Members, Environmental Health OfficersAssociation of Nigeria,
• Distinguished members of the NCRIB Governing Board,
• Our guests here present,
• Gentlemen of the Press,
• Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am most glad and honoured to address this gathering today. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the first edition of NCRIB Member’s Evening in 2016 which incidentally, is the first to be held and addressed by me since my emergence as the President of our noble Council. Permit me to reiterate my appreciation for your overwhelming support during my investiture at the Federal Palace Hotel, last year. I must confess that your presence and participation was a clear indication that we are together in the bid to make our Council a better one. I shall remain resolute to consolidate on achievements of my predecessors and further take the Council to higher heights by the special grace of God. In doing this, I do greatly covet your continuous maximum support and understanding.
Let me appreciate the Management team of Universal Insurance Plc led by its Managing Director/CEO, Mr.Benedict Ujoatuonu for accepting to host this event. The choice of Universal Insurance Plc.as a host of this epochal event was apt and strategic. It is noteworthy that Universal Insurance Plc. has a rich heritage of professional practice in Nigeria and we belief that this heritage is being sustained, not minding the change in the present ownership structure of the company. It is the belief of Management that the desire of Universal to forge collaborative relationship with Brokers through the NCRIB platform will be achieved. Customarily, at the appropriate time in the course of this event, we shall have the opportunity to ask questions from Mr. Ujoatuonu and interact with themanagement team of the company on any issue that is germane to the company’s growth and survival.
Similarly, I must share some thoughts of appreciation for the esteemed presence of the State President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria, Sanitarian Samuel Akingbehin and his team at this Event. In spite of the shortness of notice, they still deemed it appropriate to honour our invitation. I am sure that your presence here will definitely enrich the knowledge of our members on the rampaging Lassa fever scourge and other sundry environmental health issues. You will agree with me that issues relating to health can never be exhausted since health they say is wealth!
STATE OF NATIONAL ECONOMY
This event provides me an auspicious occasion to join the Council’s voice to the economic challenges being faced by our country at the moment. It is most disheartening that the value of the naira has continued to take a downward plunge against the dollar, pound sterling and other currencies, to the detriment of the nation’s economy. The resultant effect of this is negative on the nation’s economic revival efforts. Aside from the possibility of stagnating industrial development and favourable trade, the situation is already causing increasing inflationary rate that is affecting the common man in the street. The mono economy has left the country helpless, considering also the continuous downward slide in the price of crude oil in the international market, upstaging the budgetary anticipations of government. Definitely, the insurance industry is not insulated from these grievous indices of economic recession. It is a tough time we must all admit.
However, I must commend the initiatives and drives of the present administration in combating the nation’s economic challenges headlong. As a critical stakeholder in the nation’s economy, it is our take that the present situation serves as a good avenue for government to begin to pay more emphasis to diversification of the nation’s economic mainstay from oil, as we have had till now. There must be a re-tuning of the minds of Nigerians from rabid consumption of foreign goods and services at the expense of those produced locally. Also, the penchant for luxuries has to be curtailed so as to preserve the nation’s available meager foreign monetary reserve for the essentials, rather than fritter them on irrelevances. It is definitely a period that calls for sacrifice on the part of all Nigerians, including the leadership, if the present crusade would achieve long lasting positive results. I whole heartedly align myself with the timeless wisdom that “to be successful as an individual or a nation, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, and then resolve to pay the price!”
I am sure that many of you would be hitching to hear from us on efforts made on the recently lapsed Certificates of some of our members by the National Insurance Commission late last year. It is an unfortunate incident. We have made concerted efforts to ensure that we get the understanding of the Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, on the development and happily, that has crystallized in the called for re-application by the companies concerned. Whilst still making efforts to continually enlist the understanding of NAICOM on issues relating to our members, I am happy to note that the Commission has acceded to our request for a joint committee to review the list of requirements expected from Brokers for rendering returns to the Commission on a yearly basis. It is believed that the joint adhoc committee will pave the way for better and early compliance of our members. It is, however, expedient of me to state, without any contradiction, that it is unprofessional for any practicing Broker to wait till its certificate is lapsed before filing necessary documents with the authorities. The Governing Board has considered the retention of the Help Desk earlier established as a standing body to assist members in addressing areas that portend challenges for our members with regards to compliance with regulatory institutions.
JOINT TECHNICAL COMMITTEE OF NIA/NCRIB
I am happy to report that the Joint Technical Committee between the NIA and the NCRIB to work out some market agreements between the two bodies have concluded their sittings. The report of the Committee, which, among other things, considered commission rates for Brokers are to be ratified by the Governing Boards of the NIA and NCRIB and go through the approval of the National Insurance Commission(NAICOM) before it could fully come on stream. Whilst appreciating the spirit of collaboration that characterized the initiative, it is my hope that the two bodies would continue to forge common fronts in achieving the goal of taking the insurance market to greater heights by enhancing high market standards of professional service and the promotion of industry’s harmony.
INSURANCE CONSOLIDATION BILL
You will recall that sometime ago, the Secretariat made draft copies of the proposed bill to all members for their input; we are most delighted that the Adhoc Committee on the review has been doing a fantastic job. Our hope is that the Council would do everything to ensure the existence and entrenchment of the sound professional ethics that informed the establishment and charter of the Council. We shall also ensure that Brokers are adequately protected to practice their profession as in other progressive climes.
I am most delighted to inform you that following events would be coming up soon and I will use this medium to implore members to attend in good numbers;
• 43rd African Insurance Organisation (AIO)Conference from May 8-11, 2016 in Morocco
• The BIBA Conference coming up in Manchester, UK between May 11 & 12, 2016
• The Chief Executives’ Officers Retreat of the NCRIB coming up in Zenababs Half Moon Resort, Osun State from June 1-3, 2016.
• Kindly block your diaries accordingly.
Let me once again appreciate Universal Insurance Plc for hosting this delightful Evening and note that with this gesture the company has etched its name amongst the most Brokers’– Friendly companies operating today in the Nigerian market.
I thank you all for coming, as wish you a rewarding event.
President/Chairman Governing Board