L-R: Wife of the new President of AIO,,Dr. (Mrs) Tonia Smart,  standing by her husband Mr Tope Smart being decorated by Winner of the AIO hall of fame, Mr Elhassani Muhammed and Chancellor of Swearing in and representative of the outgoing AIO President and Group Managing Director/CEO, Africa Re, Dr Corneille Karekezi at the closing gala dinner of the 2021 AIO Conference and General Assembly in Lagos


By Ngozi Onyeakusi—African Insurance Organisation (AIO has changed baton of leadership as Mr Tope Smart  assumed the 47th President of the body.

Smart, who was handed baton of office on Wednesday at the gala dinner marking the end of the 47th Conference and General Assembly of the AIO in Lagos,, unveiled a five-point agenda  aimed at revamping African Insurance market.

Presenting his acceptance speech, Smart said his one- year in office will focus on five key areas namely: increased awareness; adoption of digitalization; collaboration with other markets; collaboration with government and regulators and building customers trust.
According to him  insurance industry in Africa has underperformed compared to other sectors such as banking, telecommunication, and promised Smart who regretted the low performance of the African insurance market, he noted that aside from South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Egypt, Malawi, Zambia and Ghana, no other African country has been able to grow penetration to one per cent and called on all AIO members to work hard to ensure the reversal of the trend.
He said for the African insurance market to take its rightful place, the issues of awareness, digital adoption, collaboration with other markets; collaboration with government and regulators and building customers trust are critical to the growth of the market and must be taken seriously by all players.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive Officer of National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas, commended the outgoing President of the AIO, Mrs. Delphine Traore for his contributions towards the growth of the African insurance market.
While reminding the new President of AIO on the tasks ahead of him and his team, NAICOM boss expressed confidence in Mr. Smart’s ability to make positive contributions to the growth of the African insurance market.
“I am confident that you are equal to the task and with you as the President of AIO, there is no doubt that Nigeria will reap the benefit of AIO in line with its strategic agenda,“ Thomas said.
He charged the new AIO President to collaborate with governments of various member countries to persuade them to play their roles well especially in the promotion of healthy competition and industry-friendly regulations and policies.
While promising government support for the new AIO president, Thomas equally urged him to leave no stone unturned by ensuring that great achievements are recorded when his tenure is over.
The event was also used to give recognition awards to some insurance professionals in Africa who contributed in one way or the other to the growth of the African Insurance market. This year’s AIO prestigious Hall of Famemof Sudan.
Next year’s AIO Conference and General Assembly will hold in Kenya.