By NGOZI Onyeakusi….



L- R: Commissioner for Insurance Mohammed Kari; Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosu and President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Funmi Babington-Ashaye at the event


As Nigeria just exited its economic recession, the President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Funmi Babington-Ashaye has urged insurance firms to explore strategies that will ensure that their entities remain solvent. This according to her would enable them weather all after effects of the recession, irrespective of the dynamics of the business environment.
Babington-Ashaye made the call at the official opening of the 2017 Insurance Professionals’ Forum in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Here is her address
Your Excellency, Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, FCA, CON
The Alake of Egbaland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo III
The Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari
Past Presidents of CIIN here present,
Past Commissioners of Insurance
Chairman and Members, Organising Committee of the 2017 Insurance Professionals’ Forum,
Distinguished Professional Colleagues
Gentlemen of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am, indeed, very delighted by the unique opportunity to address professional colleagues and captains of our noble Industry on the occasion of the 2017 Insurance Professionals’ Forum taking place here in the beautiful city of Abeokuta, Ogun State. Since my assumption of office as the 48th President of our great Institute on Tuesday, 25th July, 2017, this is my first major meeting with such a large number of Insurance Professionals. I therefore seize this auspicious opportunity to express my profound appreciation to you all for your individual and collective support, kind wishes and prayers which culminated in the huge success of my investiture as 6th Female President. Without doubt, your physical presence, corporate support and representation added not only great colour to the ceremony but also raised the profile of the Institute and our Profession. I remain eternally grateful for your support, invaluable sacrifices and commitment to the cause of the Institute.
2. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, as an Institute, Profession and Industry, we feel greatly honoured this morning to play host to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, my own State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, FCA, CON as our Special Guest of Honour, on the occasion of this year’s Forum of Insurance Professionals. Sir, your physical presence here, in spite of your very busy state schedule, national and international assignments, is a testimony to the premium you place on professionalism in general and Insurance Industry in particular. As the number one citizen of the State with the largest concentration of industries in Nigeria, your interest in Insurance and safety of the citizens could not have been otherwise. Your Excellency, sir, on behalf of all our members and the leadership of this important Industry, I say thank you for your invaluable support and deep interest in the ideals of Insurance.
3. Distinguished colleagues, permit me also to formally welcome to this great occasion the Alake of Egbaland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo III, our Royal Father for this occasion. I seize this opportunity to specially thank, once again, His Royal Majesty for physically gracing my investiture ceremony. I will continue to cherish the royal blessings he showered on me on that day. Our dear father, may your reign continue to bring peace and prosperity to the people of your domain, Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole. Ki Ade pe l’ori, Ki bate pe l’ese, Ki irukere yin ko d’abere.
4. Let me also specially welcome the Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari and through him, appreciate the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for its invaluable support to our Institute. Personally, I am greatly enthused and encouraged by the quality leadership you have brought to bear on the Industry since assumption of office
5. I also want to applaud the commitments of Past and the Present Commissioners of Insurance for their immense support to the Professionals’ Forum from its inception. Your esteemed presence at each successive editions have always been very inspiring. Thank you all for creating time to be here again, this year.
6. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the theme of this year’s Forum of Insurance Professionals, “SOLVENCY, STABILITY AND GROWTH-EXPLORING POSSIBILITIES,” was specially and carefully chosen to draw attention to some of the critical challenges currently facing the Industry so that, as a collective, we can evolve strategic solutions for the benefit of our Industry. When the economy was growing at an impressive rate and prospering, all sectors, including the Insurance Industry, also flourished. Similarly, since the economy has been experiencing serious macroeconomic challenges which currently manifest in sharp drop in productive and economic activities, high unemployment and crime rates, delinquent credit facilities and failure of many businesses, the insurance business is inevitably affected. In fact, the need to meet insurance obligations have actually increased with these challenges.
7. Although the nation has, happily, exited from Recession, we must acknowledge the fact that many businesses and individuals are still going through financial and economic crises caused largely by happenings in the local and global business environments, over which they and insurance practitioners have no control. Here lies the need for Insurance companies and practitioners to explore strategies that will ensure that their entities remain solvent and are able to weather the storm, irrespective of the dynamics of the business environment. As an industry that indemnifies investors and risk takers, insurance underwriters must remain stable, strong, resilient and financially solvent enough to meet emerging obligations. How to achieve these goals in a sustainable way is part of the objectives of this year’s Forum.
8. Therefore, as we set out to engage in technical presentations and discussions, it is instructive for me to suggest the following. As businesses, we must improve our product offerings, enhance our customer service delivery efforts in order to sustain and increase their patronage. By delivering value to our clients, we would be able to make profit for our shareholders over the short to long term. Also, we need to minimize our cost of operations and engage in financial engineering as strategies for growing our businesses on a sustainable basis. For instance, the pool of funds which accumulate through premiums should be optimally invested in various instruments within the limits set by our regulatory framework. We must learn to match our capital projects/expenditure with our stream of earned profits to avoid funds mismatch, illiquidity and financial distress. This is the purpose and spirit of Section 24(1) of the Insurance Act 2003 which we are all familiar with. In summary, as we strive to create more wealth for our shareholders, solvency and financial stability should not be compromised by any underwriter in the long term interest of the Industry and Profession.
9. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am certain that these suggestions and many more challenging issues and strategies will be discussed at the various technical sessions so well planned by the organizing committee led by our respected Past President, Mr. Bola Temowo. I am persuaded that the lead speakers and discussants assembled will do justice to the various topics assigned to them for the benefit of participants. While commending the organizing Committee for a job very well done, I urge you all to actively participate and share experiences for the benefit of everyone present.
10. As I conclude, I must state that in pursuit of the theme of my Presidency INSURACE: IMPERATIVE FOR EDUCATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT, we have identified the following key issues that will form the main focus of my tenure as the CIIN President. They Include:
• Regular Advocacy
• Members’ Professional Development
• Continued Efforts on the Institute’s Building Project
• Re-organization of the Institute’s Secretariat, and
• Enhanced Insurance Awareness.
11. The Institute has, in line with the above course of action, set in motion modalities in conjunction with Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State to commence a degree programme in Insurance. Consultations between the Institute and the University are presently ongoing and we are hopeful of reaching a conclusion in the shortest possible time. We are also going to revisit Members’ Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) programme to raise the technical capacity of practitioners to meet the needs of our stakeholders. Through regular advocacy and press releases, we will also draw attention to the important role of Insurance in the security of lives, property and wealth creation. This I believe will help to raise public awareness about Insurance as well as assist to rebuild public confidence and trust in both the profession and industry.
12. As part of the quick wins and the dire need to inform our members of happenings in the Institute, Profession and the Economy, the Council under, my leadership, recently launched the maiden edition of its CIIN Monthly Newsletter. Electronic copies of the August 2017 edition, were emailed on 15th September, 2017 to all financial members of the Institute with up-to-date email addresses. I urge you all to update your contact details so that we can reach you with more progressive information.
13. Without doubt, the creation of Insurance Awareness through enlightenment and education is one of the critical strategies for rekindling the interest of our stakeholders in the Industry’s offerings. I therefore urge all Insurance practitioners to become active ambassadors of the profession in your sphere of influence to make the campaign broader and more inclusive. We need to market the profession through our prompt and value driven responses to the needs of the insured in line with global best practices. We must continue to demonstrate through our responsiveness and compliance to the Profession’s Code of Ethics that Insurance Protects, Insurance Cares and Insurance Comforts. Through this strategy, the goodwill of Insurance will be spread from satisfied customers to their friends and families.
14. Your Excellency, His Royal Highness, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all, once again, to the 2017 Insurance Professionals’ Forum and wish you all very rewarding experience.
15. Thank you for your rapt attention and God bless you all.
President/Chairman of Council
Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria
September 21, 2017.