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In the words of Kenneth D. Mclroy in his stimulating book The Pragmatic Leader “The key to moving yourself off starters block is to decide to take action to continually improve yourself, establish new goals in life and continue to act on them , never flagging in your zeal to reach the goals you have set”
There is no better way to describe the undiminishing vision of the astute insurance professional, Eddie Agberia Efekoha, than in these wisdom nuggets.
Eddie who exemplifies the saying that one’s decisions determine his destiny, rose from a humble beginning to occupy a conspicuous seat amongst top notch men, not only in Nigeria, but at the international space. With his election as the next President of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA), Efekoha’s vision of adding more value to insurance practice beyond the coast of Nigeria is a reality.
His assumption of office would also be another enviable icing on his over 40 years professional experience and diligent service to the Nigerian insurance market which he bestrides till date like a colossus.
The iconic insurance professional who hails from Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria, had occupied the enviable dual apex positions of Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN).
As one of the leading lights, Eddie’s undeniable contributions to the industry’s growth, both in professional, human, and structural developments cannot be underestimated.
Most noteworthy was the fact that the coming into the insurance industry of Eddie was providential. He had nurtured the ambition of becoming a teacher, which naturally prodded him to seek admission at the Nana College, Warri, for his Teachers Grade II Certificate, after which he taught briefly in a primary school. Seeing better prospects in the horizon, he left his first love- teaching- to join the Warri Refinery & Petro-Chemical Company, which offered a better prospect at the time. As a promising young man, Eddie realised early the need to improve his status by acquiring more education, so concurrently with his work schedule he studied on a part-time basis for GCE Advanced Level which he passed brilliantly.
In his quest for more knowledge, Eddie secured admission to the prestigious University of Lagos and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with a Second Class Upper Division in 1985 and later obtained a master’s degree in Business Administration from the same university in 1995.
Fired by the desire to extend his professional career, Eddie sat for the prestigious Chartered Insurance Institute of London (CII) by examination in 1987, qualifying as an Associate, and in quick succession obtained the Fellowship of the same Institute in 1991. He was consequently elected Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria in 1995. In 2018, he was admitted Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria.
Eddie’s insurance career spans well over three decades, starting from his compulsory National Youth Corps scheme with now defunct Everyman Insurance Brokers Ltd, Ilorin, in 1985 under the astute Reverend Elisha Fabiyi. He reminisced with fondness how Fabiyi acquitted himself to him both as a father and professional mentor throughout his stay with the company. Thereafter, he worked at different times for two leading brokerage outfits in Nigeria, namely: first Hogg Robinson Nigeria and Glanvill Enthoven & Co (Nig) in 1988 as an Assistant Manager. His versatility, hard work and extraordinary capacity earned him a meteoric rise on the career ladder. In 1997 he was appointed to the Board as Executive Director (Technical operations). He left Glanvills in 1997 with some professional colleagues to found Fountain Insurance Brokers Ltd as its Managing Director/CEO where his experience gained over the years came handy. In less than 5 years the company catapulted to one of the top 10 industry leaders.
In 2003, the relentless Eddie championed another turnaround stride as he and a few others acquired the then Metropolitan Trust Insurance Company Ltd which was transitioned to Consolidated Risk Insurers Plc (CRI) with Eddie becoming its Vice Chairman/CEO. The regulatory induced recapitalisation of insurance companies in 2007 led CRI to merge with two other companies and morphed to become Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc. The Company under Eddie’s leadership as the MD/CEO, buoyed on creative leadership, foresight and superb board room strategy grew its revenue northwards and diversified its operation by offering other financial services, translating it to one of the best insurance brands in Nigeria’s financial ecosystem today.
A superb social connector who has earned unassailable respect and reverence from colleagues and juniors in the industry, Eddie’s bondless zeal for knowledge is legendary as well as makes him a proud product of the Chief Executive Programme at the prestigious Lagos Business School and most recently the Owner/President Management Program of the Harvard Business school, Boston, USA.
Eddie’s instinct as a teacher came handy during his tenure as Chairman of the then nascent College of Insurance & Financial Management and President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, during which he assisted in preparing students for both the CII London and Nigerian professional examinations for several years.
At the continental level, Eddie served as a member, one-time chair of the African Insurance Organization Book Review Committee and he is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the African Insurance Organization (AIO).
Married with three wonderful children and a grandson, Eddie is a soccer fan and an avid golfer. In a few weeks from now, precisely May 7-9, 2023 , when he would be formally installed at the WAICA Conference holding in Lagos, the insurance industry titan would be bringing to bear on the 50 year old Association his huge personable traits, professional experience and sagacity to join other worthy team members to ”reposition Insurance Industry in West Africa for Global Competiveness” which is in perfect alignment with the theme of the epochal insurance regional conference.
Tope Adaramola is the Executive Secretary of
The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers