The eagerly anticipated 11th annual Banks and Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards organised by Business Day held at the high-end Lagos Continental Hotel has recognised Standard Insurance Consultants Limited (SICL) as Insurance Broker of the Year and its founder, Professor Ahmed Salawudeen for Lifetime Achievement Award in Insurance
The BAFI Awards are the industry standard for business excellence and client service in financial services in Nigeria. BusinessDay, the organisers, has won praise for running the most rigorous, prestigious and transparent awards programme in the industry.
As has been the tradition, the glamourous awards ceremony attracted top executives from the financial services sector. They were joined by high-profile guests such as senior executives from leading companies in the real sector of the economy and advisors in professional services.
Dressed to the nines, they were seated in the cavernous Grand African Ballroom to find who had retained top spots on the league tables. They were also there to applaud those who had climbed up a few rungs to claim accolades in highly competitive segments.
One company that stood out was Standard Insurance Consultants Limited (SICL).
The company dusted its competition to win the coveted Insurance Broker of the Year Award. It recognizes a broker that has demonstrated sustained business expansion, successful implementation of transformative business strategies, and notable improvements in client service as well as retention over the coverage period.
Judges applied quantitative and qualitative criteria in picking the winner.
Some of the metrics used were year-on-year growth in clients and new policies written, overall approach to business development and lead generation, quality of relationship management and client service, innovation in product offerings, staff development and retention over the last 12 months, brand visibility, financial results, business expansion, use of digital platforms, good standing with the insurance regulator, National Insurance Commission, and active participation in Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) events and initiatives.
The award represents a hat trick for SICL, which won it in 2021, and 2022. This feat has never been achieved by any other company in any of the insurance categories since the first edition of the awards held in 2013.
In naming SICL as the Insurance Broker of the Year, the Judges Committee noted that the company “has sustained a client retention rate of over 95 per cent, while clawing greater market share in a highly competitive market and sagging economy. Its investments in technology and aggressive pursuit of large corporates are enabling it to capture both retail and institutional client layers.”
Icing was added on the cake by a Lifetime Achievement Award in Insurance conferred on its founder, Professor Ahmed bin Salawudeen.
Read also: Polaris Bank bags top awards at BAFI 2023
Salawudeen is an industry veteran widely acknowledged as the Dean of Insurance Brokers in Nigeria.
He is carrying forward the torch of excellence lit decades ago by pioneers such as Talabi Adebayo “TA” Braithwaite, Femi Johnson, J.A. Thomas, John Akinwunmi George and Sonny Iwedike Odogwu, who wrote their names in gold.
According to BusinessDay, “a Lifetime Achievement Award is conferred on an individual who has made outstanding contributions to a sector’s progress, impact and upliftment of professional standards.”
This year marked the first time that BusinessDay conferred a Lifetime Achievement award on a personality in the Insurance industry.
Accompanied by his wife, Aisha Salawudeen, both bedecked in a specially woven aso-oke fabric made in Iseyin, his natal town in Oyo state, Salawudeen delivered an emotion-laden thank-you speech at the event.
“This is a big honour that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It gladdens my heart to know that my modest contributions to the insurance industry caught the attention of BusinessDay. It shows that the values of integrity, and hard work still resonate in Nigeria. This award will spur me on to do more in service to clients and the profession insha Allah.”
During a career that spans more than four decades, Salawudeen has impacted the insurance industry positively. His reputation and influence are recognised by peers and competitors alike.
In recent years, Standard Group Holdings where he sits at the helm, has ventured into new business areas including real estate and reinsurance broking, through its subsidiaries, Signature Global Real Estate (SGRE) and SICL Reinsurance Brokers Limited respectively.
Since the company was founded 43-years ago, SICL has grown to become one of the country’s largest and most-respected insurance brokers. The firm employs several professionals working out of offices in Lagos, Abuja, and Ibadan.
Three years ago, its board of directors greenlit an international expansion program.
To date, SICL has received regulatory approvals in the applicable jurisdictions for the opening of offices in Angola, Gambia, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates.
SICL is a functional member of National Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) and is fully licensed by National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to transact all classes of insurance business including but not limited to Oil & Gas, Aviation and Space, Construction/Operational, Agriculture, Life and Pension, Marine, including but not limited to Protection & Indemnity (P&I), Special Risks, as well as Reinsurance Programme generally.
The broker is duly licensed by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC), Nigerian Petroleum Exchange (NIPEX) and National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).
SICL has strong relationships with reputable Technical Partners with leading positions at Lloyd’s of London including AJ Gallagher, Willis, NDI Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers Ltd., London Marine Insurance Services, and Howden Insurance Brokers Ltd.