By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo
SOME insurance professionals have continued to destroy the image of the industry, a challenge that has made the business to remain low, the Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Sunday Olorundare Thomas, has said.
The commissioner stated this during the investiture of Mr. Muftau Oyegunle as the 50th President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) at Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos State.
He said the institute has a major role to play in reshaping the ethical behaviour of members.
He maintained that the CIIN remains the most unifying body that binds them and as such, the position of president of the institute is one of the most revered in insurance.
He said: “As the custodian of our values and entrencher of ethical behaviour in the practice, a herculean task certainly awaits the president of the institute at any particular time not to mention such a challenging time as we are experiencing.
Now more than ever before the institute must embrace technology as one of its key drivers for development. The institute should be prepared to digitalise its processes, procedures and systems to make its operations seamless and real time…
Let us be aware that the advent of the prevailing COVID-19 has presented a new challenge to the insurance sector. Thus, a paradigm shift from the usual way of practice has become inevitable.
“What this means in essence is that insurance practitioners must learn to inculcate the new world order brought about by the COVID-19 experience.
This has become an imperative rather than an option. Suffice it to say that critical times require critical measures.
The challenges before the institute during and post-COVID-19 are enormous; how you do your marketing for new members, how you run your seminars, where and how you conduct your examinations for prospective members will be affected by the prevailing circumstance.
“I, therefore, urge the new leadership to take these challenges into serious consideration in developing new curriculum for the institute.
As a professional institute, your communication and engagement with your stakeholders cannot be encumbered by disruption to physical interactions.
I want to challenge the new leadership of the institute to make this a priority in its agenda. Of course, training and deliberate exposure of members of the institute to new technology would also go a long way in reshaping their perspectives.”
The CIIN chief, in his acceptance speech, said the theme of his tenure is, “Reinforcing professionalism and ethics in the new order,’’noting that the choice of the theme is borne out of the need to establish a rolling plan, which would guarantee that even in the face of global uncertainties, the institute will continue to meet the needs of members.
“It is against this background that we are going to explore the potential of this approach by focusing on a six-point agenda being Digital Transformation of the institute; Reinforcement of the Relevance of Professionalism; Re-energising the institute’s Administrative Structure; insurance Awareness and Youth Mentorship Initiatives; Infrastructural Development; and Advocacy and Collaboration with various associations in the private sector.
“I am aware of the challenges this office places on me, especially when the world is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are not unaware of the drastic disruptions of the socioeconomic order in the world. However, I am driven by our traditional collective efforts, which is built on our strong resolve to see that the vision of our founding fathers shall not be in vain.
Although we are at the mercy of COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot surrender to it. As an institute, we shall continue in our stride to achieve desired results. However, we must adapt our strategies and change our ways of doing things.
“I have come at a time we need to change our strategies to the new normal. Our reactions to these disruptions will determine our position today and in the future.
These disruptions are here and it has come with new challenges that call for the reinforcement of our professional calling. Current development in the world calls for our collaborative efforts to reinforce professionalism.
The economy in general and the insurance industry is not immune from the vagaries of the social and economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.
The resultant harsh business environment has become a threat which we must collectively confront for survival.
“The theme of my presidency is, therefore, borne out of the conviction that we can achieve greater successes for our industry and profession if we reinforce professionalism and ethics in reaction to the new order.
However, I deem it proper to highlight our plan in the area of digital transformation. Efforts have been made by past presidents to transform operations at the institute.
The fallout of the pandemic has made it imperative to build on past efforts to remain relevant. The programme will be pursued to create new operation process and work culture at the secretariat. This will be with a view to create a new customer experience.
This programme will be pursued to lay the required base for the continued relevance of the secretariat in the new order. This is what we need to do to change our customers experiences, operational processes and business model.